Donald Trump: I better give you some tic tacs, just in case this guy kisses her. Not for yourself, sir.
Speaker 1: Have a little hug for her, Donald? Just got off the bus.
Donald Trump: Absolutely.
Speaker 2: God bless the United States of Anxiety.
Kai Wright: I'm Kai Wright and this is the United States of Anxiety podcast from The Nation magazine and WNYC studios. This week we have to pause and deal with the disturbing places the Trump campaign has taken us. Let me just be clear. We're reporting some very ugly, but very real stuff in this episode and it may not be appropriate for all audiences. After this past week, I'm having trouble with the premise of our podcast. I think we should tease that out a bit more. What exactly is it we're doing here? At its most basic we're trying to understand why so many millions of people have been so deeply enthusiastic about Donald Trump, a man who's promising to break up the old order, but with few specifics about what the new order will look like.
Whatever you think of Donald Trump's message, it's not like it came out of thin air. Whatever he's tapped into, it has been with us and it will be with us until we confront it. We've been meeting some of his supporters and trying to understand their life experience. At this point I'm out of patience with them, even our own warmhearted Patty Dwyer. This guy has now bragged about routinely sexually assaulting women. WNYC's Arun Venugopal is here with me and Arun you've been spending time with Patty. How can she possibly stand behind that demeaning language?
Arun Venugopal: The first thing I heard from her was a text message. This is a couple of days after the video dropped, and she writes to me, she says, "It will be what it will be. We have peace of mind knowing we did all we could."
Kai Wright: Goodness, it sounds like a terminal illness or really like she's giving a concession speech.
Arun Venugopal: That's what I thought, but then I called her up. Hi Patty, it's Arun here.
Patty Dwyer: Hi Arun there. How are you?
Arun Venugopal: I'm all right. How are you? Eventually I asked her, "Did you see it?" Did you watch it?
Patty Dwyer: Yes, I heard it.
Arun Venugopal: What did you make of it?
Patty Dwyer: I was like, "Damn."
Arun Venugopal: She found the tape unseemly, but then.
Patty Dwyer: We know nobody's perfect. Here we are, a year after all this, this is what they pull out now. This is what they pull out now.
Arun Venugopal: They meaning the Clinton campaign. She thinks this is rank hypocrisy, given how liberals reacted to the Clinton sex scandals.
Patty Dwyer: I didn't say I condone that, but listen, we say that now all of a sudden this is the hypocrisy of the left to the right. We went through this for years in the '90s and I had little children coming to visit my sons that were maybe eight, nine, 10 years old. They were hearing from the parents, "It was only sex. It was only sex." Now we have this one little clip, two minutes of Donald Trump saying there and they go ape you-know-what.
Arun Venugopal: For Patty, it's not just the Clintons who are to blame. It is the entire "establishment."
Patty Dwyer: I always knew 90% of the media were in Clinton's pocket. Now of course, with the WikiLeaks and doing a lot of research on all that, it's quite obvious.
Arun Venugopal: By research, Patty means going on Facebook, going on the internet. Media figures, whether it's Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, these are the people she trusts. The rest, the mainstream media if you will, can't be trusted.
Patty Dwyer: There's no denying it, but we won't see that in the media. We'll see very little of it in the media. I don't know. The American people, we the people, meaning all of us, deserve to be brought to the truth and we won't be. We will not be brought to truth.
Arun Venugopal: Which means even the Billy Bush tape, it's just one big setup.
Kai Wright: Come on. How can she make excuses for this? It sounds to me, honestly, like the irrational hatred for the Clintons will justify just about anything that Donald Trump says or does.
Arun Venugopal: Honestly, that's part of it. You can't separate Patty's support for Trump from the fact that she really, really resents the Clintons and has for a very long time. I noticed just how much that matters to her. One night, this past summer, she had me over for dinner during the Republican convention. This was in July, the night that Donald Trump spoke. We had wings and quesadillas and a nice salad.
Donald Trump: We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
Patty Dwyer: Oh my God. It seems like I've been waiting for this since the '80s. When the political correctness started, when Bill Clinton was, what is the definition of this is? When as soon as I heard that, I hear it as if I heard it yesterday. That was the beginning of political correctness and I'm really emotional about this. To hear someone actually say things we've been saying for decades and not feeling we were heard. You know what I mean? Nobody to speak up for us. It's pretty amazing.
Kai Wright: As you can hear, this disgust for the Clintons is very deep and it goes back a long, long way. Notably, the same people who have been nursing and stoking that outrage for years, they are now running Trump's campaign. You won't find traditional political operatives there. There he is instead led by the Vanguard of the right wing media. They have created an emotional narrative for people that is far more powerful than any set of facts, which brings us to WNYC's Matt Katz, who has been obsessively following conservative media. Matt says everything about Trump's response to that Billy Bush video is textbook. A perfect marriage of Breitbart and its talk radio predecessors.
Speaker 3: We want to welcome you to Washington University in St. Louis for the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sponsored by the commission on president.
Matt Katz This is second debate between Trump and Clinton really crystallized the power of conservative media, including talk radio and how it had essentially taken over this dominant wing of the Republican party.
Donald Trump: Whether we like it or not, and we can be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem.
Matt Katz: The topics brought up by Trump to attack Clinton may have seemed unfamiliar to many Americans, but they were taken directly from the airwaves of conservative talk radio, Fox News, and especially Breitbart.com. Clinton is the most despised Democrat ever in conservative media. They've gone after her, highlighting her scandals and alleged crimes for a quarter century. Now that she's close to finally being president, this is the final moment to stop her, and to their delight here was an actual Republican nominee who embodies their views finally taking the fight to Clinton herself.
Donald Trump: You can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.
Matt Katz: It was a glorious moment, really, for conservative media, evidenced by how the former head of Breitbart, Steve Bannon, who is now CEO of the Trump campaign, stood at a pre debate Trump event smirking ear to ear. Trump introduced women who had allegedly been abused by Bill Clinton. Those women are well-known on the conservative airwaves.
Speaker 4: Juanita Broaddrick in one of those.
Speaker 5: Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick.
Donald Trump: Paula Jones.
Matt Katz: Their names are household names among those who listen to conservative talk radio, as were the random people that Trump mentioned during the debate. He'd mentioned these people without full explanation, though, of who they were or are, or what they had done wrong. He brought up names like Sidney Blumenthal.
Donald Trump: The only one she talked to was Sidney Blumenthal, who's her friend and not a good guy.
Matt Katz: Conservative Media is preoccupied by Blumenthal's alleged complicity in various Clinton crimes.
Speaker 6: Sidney Blumenthal, one of the slimy hatchet man for Hillary.
Speaker 7: This creep Sidney Blumenthal.
Speaker 8: Whispering in her ear all the things that she should be doing.
Matt Katz: Trump brought up George Soros and John Gruber. These names, they were like a conglomeration of pieces of Breitbart headlines, confounding to much of America because he just mentioned them as shorthand criticism.
Speaker 8: Many people believe it was Soros, the money changer in the temple, who caused the '08 collapse, who was now warning that it's '08 all over again.
Matt Katz: Even if there was some legitimacy to criticisms that Trump wants it to level against these people and their connections to Clinton, he failed to explain them on the debate stage because in the media bubble where he and his team live, everyone knows who Sidney Blumenthal is and why he's bad and how in the world he's connected to Benghazi, which is by the way, a scandal that also doesn't live beyond conservative outlets, but elsewhere in America, people don't really get it. The base, though, loved it. They loved Trump's performance and what he talked about, even if everyone else may have been confused.
As the debate began, Breitbart ran a Trump ad on its website that really fit the moment, it fit how Trump had decided to ride this underdog conservative media campaign right to election day with none of the typical efforts to bring in new voters who don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, for example. The ad on Breitbart said, "It's us against the world."
Kai Wright: Matt, one of the things I think a lot of us are trying to understand in this election and probably before that is how is it possible that this group of people who support Donald Trump, they sound like they're doing relatively well financially, they are white people. How do they end up feeling like they are the people who are being aggrieved right now in American society? It's almost like they're in some alternative universe and I cannot wrap my head around it.
Matt Katz: Let's for a moment go into their cars driving home from work and listen to Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio king. I want to play a clip from the first year of the Obama presidency. Rush Limbaugh is doing a show and he turns on a parody song to the tune of Puff, the Magic Dragon.
Barack the magic negro lives in DC
The LA Times, they called him that
'Cause he's not authentic like me
Kai Wright: Wow, I cannot imagine how anybody could listen to that and think anything other than, "Wow, that's pretty racist." In fact, it caused enormous controversy at the time.
Matt Katz: That's not what the millions of conservative talk radio show listeners heard, nor therefore what a large swath of America heard. What they heard was Limbaugh blasting the mainstream media. The reason is that this parody song was created after the LA times published a column that argued that whites liked Obama because he was non-threatening. What Rush would talk about for the weeks that this controversy raged was how the mainstream media was making this huge deal out of this little song that he had commissioned.
Kai Wright: Suddenly, it doesn't become a debate with Barack Obama, it doesn't become a debate with Black people, it doesn't become a debate with those of us who are Black and felt deeply offended by it. It becomes a debate with the media instead, this is the escape hatch from it being racist.
Matt Katz: It's about how the mainstream media, which is also a stand in for the establishment, dismisses them, ignores them, and doesn't get them, and also only listens to them out of context.
Kai Wright: This is the foundation really upon which Donald Trump's campaign has been built, is that these ideas that I hear you describing, we're hearing this over and over and over again when people say, "You're not listening to what Donald actually has to say here."
Matt Katz: That's right. When you hear him rail against political correctness, which for many Americans, they thought that term had died many years ago. They didn't know that was still a thing. For conservatives who listen to talk radio, that is still very much a thing. It embodies so much of their beef with the way they perceive the direction that this country is going in. Trump may be facing off against Hillary Clinton, who has, by the way, provided fodder for talk radio for a quarter century. At the same time, he's seen as taking the fight for the first time in a real way to the so-called mainstream media establishment.
Kai Wright: What are the grievances with the mainstream media? We've said that their views are taken out of context so often, what else?
Matt Katz: Part of the beef with the mainstream media is we decide the words that can be used to call Black people, for example. "Now we don't call them Black people, now we call them African-Americans." These things are seen as a creeping march toward fascism, toward thought control. There's a conservative talk radio host in Philadelphia, Rich Scioli, and he and I often talk about this divide. He says that the mainstream media ignores the voices of Black conservatives, for example, because we don't want to legitimize the fact that there could be Blacks who have other ideas that aren't just reflexively liberal.
Rich Scioli: There is a real industry of people who go to journalism school to become journalists, and then pursue this career of reporting the news. I believe that most of them do it for ideological reasons, and that's not a bad thing, don't misunderstand me. I think a lot of them go into journalism because they want to be Woodward and Bernstein, they want to uncover the truth, they want to be a check on the government, but because they go into it with that perspective, they are naturally bringing a bias with them.
Matt Katz: That bias he's describing as sort of a bias to side with the underdog, which you could say is a legitimate criticism, or maybe just an illegitimate analysis of journalism. The other bias though, he says is toward controversy. that's probably undisputed, but he says it really harms conservatives. He noted, and a recent interview he did with Ivanka Trump where they got a little bit into the details of her father's childcare proposal. That interview did not really make much of a ripple in the mainstream media. However, that same week, one of his colleagues, conservative talker Chris Stigall, on the same station of Philadelphia, interviewed Ivanka's brother, Donald Trump. That caused a huge to-do in the mainstream media because Donald Trump Jr. seemed to make a holocaust reference.
Donald Trump Jr.: The media has built her up, they've let her slide on every indiscrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game, trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the thing. If Republicans were doing that, they'd be warming up the gas chamber right now.
Matt Katz: There you have him again trashing the mainstream media for supposedly being in the bag for the Democrat, but also making what to others might seem like a very insensitive and possibly anti-semitic remark talking about the media, which is often criticized by anti-semitic Trump supporters as being dominated by Jews. This did get a good deal of coverage from the mainstream media for a couple of days, and that really bothered Rich Scioli.
Rich Scioli: That became the story for two days of the cycle, and who can you blame for that but the mainstream media for focusing on a comment like that? Then blowing it up in such a degree and ignoring a very substantive interview with his sister, who's talking about actual policy.
Kai Wright: What does Scioli say to the fact that, for many people, it is also a substantive problem in a substantive story if someone is making Holocaust references towards anybody?
Matt Katz: I can't speak for him directly on that, but I will tell you that these talk show hosts are provocateurs, obviously. They really despise mainstream media's role as the guardians of political correctness, and they think that jokes are turned into controversies in order to provide political cover for Democrats. Limbaugh calls us, by the way, drive-bys, as in drive0by shooters, because we don't listen to conservatives within context, we just hear a parody song like Barack the Magic Negro, or some offhanded comment about a gas chamber, which for the record Donald Trump Jr. said, was referring to the use of a guest chambers in America for capital punishment purposes, not to exterminate millions of people.
Kai Wright: Not for nothing, the drive-by shooting reference is troubling to me as well. This is the thing is, they stack up a lot of this. Some of us were like, "Where there's smoke there's fire." There are a great many of these controversies to be had.
Matt Katz: There are many instances, and I have a bunch here of Rush Limbaugh talking about race in ways that frankly make me feel uncomfortable. Here's him disparaging the slaughter, for example, of Native Americans,
Rush Limbaugh: The Holocaust? 90 million Indians, only 4 million left. They all have casinos, what's to complain about?
Matt Katz: He once made a slavery joke while musing about the possibility of former New York Governor David Patterson, who is Black, appointing someone to replace Congressman Eric Masa.
Rush Limbaugh: David Patterson will become the Masa, who gets to appoint whoever gets to take Masa's place. For the first time in his life, Patterson is going to be a Masa. Interesting.
Kai Wright: I don't even know what to do with that. I don't even know how to respond to that. This is the kind of thing, it's piles up and piles up, and for those of us who are on the receiving end of these jokes, it starts to feel like they've got, frankly, an obsession with race.
Matt Katz: See, they say that the other side is obsessed with race. They say that with a Black President and a Black Attorney General and a Latina on the Supreme court, racism doesn't exist the way liberals and Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter, and the mainstream media wants us to believe. They see speeches about Black people getting shot by cops or policies of affirmative action and education as just a craven way to get Black people to vote democratic.
Rush Limbaugh: The days of them not having any power are over and they are angry. They want to use their power as a means of retribution. That's what Obama's about, gang. He's angry. He's going to cut this country down to size. He's going to make it pay for all those multicultural mistakes that it has made.
Kai Wright: What I hear in that is, ironically, an identity politic. He has created this world in which where you can go and you can develop a racial identity that is shared, that feels aggrieved. All the things that he's blaming people of color and liberals for, they are doing in this space.
Matt Katz: His listeners see a rapidly changing America. Maybe they worked at a plant that moved to Mexico, for example, and that one perhaps isolated incident can be put into larger context and given greater meaning when Limbaugh explains that there are larger forces going on that are trying to change the America that his listeners grew up in.
Kai Wright: Which again brings us back to actual events that occur and people in this identity politic and in this land have a whole different set of facts and understanding about the things that actually happened, that other people in the country have.
Matt Katz: That's right. Often those facts are incorrect and often they are conspiracy theories. Last year, this is one example that didn't get much attention and it's not incredibly outrageous, but I think it serves to illustrate something. Last year, Limbaugh chided Michelle Obama, he calls her Muchelle Obama, I'm not sure why, for a speech she gave at the opening of the new Whitney Museum in New York City.
Rush Limbaugh: She said museums and concert halls just don't welcome non-white visitors, especially children, the way they welcome white people
Matt Katz: A little bit more from this, Limbaugh said the first lady was acting as an aggrieved victim.
Rush Limbaugh: Everything has to be about race with these people. We were supposed to be post-racial with the election of Obama, supposed to have put all that behind us. His election was supposed to mean something. It was supposed to signify that we had overcome and gotten past the original sin of slavery. Instead, as I knew it would be the case, it's gotten worse by design.
Matt Katz: He went on to say that maybe Black people don't go to museums because it's not in their cultural upbringing because maybe they think it's too white. The problem here is that I looked up what Michelle Obama said.
Michelle Obama: There are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, "Well, that's not a place for me."
Matt Katz: She made no broad statement about white people. She never mentioned race. Instead, she talked about poor kids not having access to museums.
Kai Wright: Limbaugh heard race. Even though she never said it.
Matt Katz: Then he grossly misquoted her. It's one of many conspiracy theories, allegations that float around on talk radio and that really seeps into the consciousness of many Americans. That includes the slander that the President is a Kenyan Muslim, to the allegation that I've heard so often through the years that the government, the federal government, gives free cell phones to poor people. When you defame the media as being filled with liberal liars, which is what talk radio has done very successfully, anything you say to replace their assertions flies as fact.
Certainly, through the years, the media has gotten it wrong. Certainly, you can make an argument that there are too many left-leaning people in the media. I've seen surveys that show that most reporters are liberal and you can assert that, but the blanket defamation of all mainstream media, whatever that might be, as being bogus creates a space where this stuff can grow. A lot of the conspiracy, a lot of it deals with race. This goes further. Limbaugh said a couple of years ago that he wouldn't be surprised if Obama instigated race riots.
Rush Limbaugh: That's part of the program here, and next up there are going to be race riots. I guarantee, and the race riots are part of the plan that this regime has. That's next.
Matt Katz: Glenn Beck, another conservative talk radio powerhouse, he has suggested something similar.
Glenn Beck: I told you how over a year ago that the only thing this President would have left in the end was race. That's all he would have and they would do everything they could to start race riots because it's what the weather underground said they wanted.
Kai Wright: When you start to hear some of that, you get an understanding of, well maybe not an understanding, but you can see the path that people have walked along to get them to see Black Lives Matter protests as violent, deliberate riots that the liberals and Obama, in particular, have encouraged.
Matt Katz: That's right, but talk radio isn't alone in this anymore. 20 years ago, a political operative named Roger Ailes founded Fox News and turned it into not only the most-watched cable news station in the country but also the biggest microphone in conservative America. Fox became the driving force behind Republican foreign and domestic policy. Like talk radio, it wraps itself in traditional American values and like talk radio, it doesn't always propagate in facts. Ailes gave businessman Donald Trump, for several years, a weekly slot on the show Fox & Friends, the morning show where Trump talked up his concern of a phenomenon that we now know as birtherism.
Donald Trump: He could have been born outside of this country. Why can't he produce a birth certificate? By the way, there's one story that his family doesn't even know what hospital he was born in.
Rodger Ailes: I've heard that as well. Donald, before you go, what about the mainstream media accounts of this dust-up over the last week where they're trying to paint you as the mayor of crazy town for bringing this up?
Donald Trump: Every time I talk about the birthers, I start off by saying, and it's very interesting, I was a great student at the best college in the country. I want to let people know I'm a smart guy.
Kai Wright: Rodger Ailes is gone from Fox News now, and in fact has joined the Trump campaign. In many ways, his campaign is just an outlet for conservative media.
Matt Katz: Absolutely, and then you think about what Trump's top issue is and what he has centered his campaign on, and that's immigration. The rhetoric is so similar to the heated rhetoric we've heard on conservative talk radio through the years regarding immigration. Here's talk radio personality Michael Savage, who argued that tanks should be on the border and that immigrants bring in epidemics like bedbugs.
Michael Savage: How is it that for decades, there were no bedbugs to speak of in New York City or anywhere else in America? Where did this epidemic suddenly come from? Is it a result of massive, massive waves of immigration from the third world?
Kai Wright: I guess again, the facts aren't really at issue here. It's much more about being inside a certain kind of aggrieved identity group. That's really what's happening here, is that they're building a narrative where you're part of this group, you've been left out and you need to be concerned about that moving forward.
Matt Katz: There was a moment this summer I was listening to Rush and he really crystallized what this is all about in very similar words to the ones you just used.
Rush Limbaugh: No matter where you turn, you can't escape this fact. If you are a conservative Republican, straight and white, you are yesterday. You are so yesterday, you are so irrelevant. You are so unnecessary.
Matt Katz: The country is being taken from them and we need to make America great again.
Kai Wright: All of this, the alternative reality in which white conservatives are an endangered species, the belief that Democrats are inciting race wars, the notion that immigrants are violent, diseased invaders, and even this week, Trump's continued insistence that five Black boys who were long ago exonerated for a wrongful conviction of rape in Central Park are in fact, still guilty. All of it adds up and some say it has consequences that go way, way past words and jokes. That's after the break.
Kai Wright: Back to Long Island. Long before Donald Trump adopted an amplified rhetoric like the stuff we heard before the break, it was very much a part of the political discourse on Long Island. As we've said, the Long Island suburbs have been enmeshed in immigration culture wars for some time. For a lot of people, it came to a head just before midnight on November 8th, 2008. The Nation's Julianne Hing has the story.
Julianne Hing: November 8th, 2008 was a major moment for immigration politics on Long Island. To understand that day, we need to back up even more to 2001. George W. Bush was president and Long Island was just starting to feel the shifts of its changing racial makeup.
Speaker 9: This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you can get a bunch of superstars of this caliber together all in one place.
Julianne Hing: One of those superstars the announcer was talking about was Glenn Spencer. He appeared in front of a citizens group called Stage and Quality of Life who were concerned about a large influx of Latino immigrants in Suffolk County. Spencer's a leader in the anti-immigration movement and a frequent guest on conservative talk radio and Fox News.
Glenn Spencer: There's a videotape, we showed it on our website americanpatrol.com and americanborderpatrol.com, of the Mexican army herding 100 people up to our border for a border crossing.
Julianne Hing: Here's a taste of his rhetoric on Fox in 2003.
Spencer: Now, let's understand something. Here, we're fighting, possibly a war, halfway around the world against Iraq. Iraq is not a direct threat to us, but a recent poll showed that the vast majority of Mexicans believe the Southwest belongs to them.
Julianne Hing: Now, as we've reported, by and large, Blacks and whites did not live next to each other on Long Island. The towns were purposely racially segregated as the suburbs were developed, but new Latino immigrants found housing where they could. Pat Young is an immigration attorney with CARECEN, the Central American Refugee Center.
Pat Young: They moved into neighborhoods where they were the first non-white people because they didn't know the rules.
Julianne Hing: To save on rent, immigrants room together. In the early 2000s, complaints about homes overstuffed with immigrants melded in with anger about day laborers who waited for work outside Home Depots and 7-Elevens. Every morning, contractors would pick up men to take them to tend Long Islander's lawns and gardens, or to fix their homes. The pushback made its way into the political mainstream. Steve Levy, Suffolk County's popular County Executive from 2004 to 2011, took up the mantle to fight against undocumented immigrants. In Levy's mind, immigration is all about respecting the law. When we talked this summer, he insisted he welcomes authorized immigration.
Steve Levy: The only thing we point out is that we want people to wait on line and play by the rules.
Julianne Hing: An aside, for more on the idea that immigrants should wait in line, check out episode three of this podcast. As County Executive, Levy backed apartment raids to investigate suspected housing code violations. He wanted to turn local police into immigration agents. Before he assumed office, he opposed a hiring center for day laborers, which would get them indoors and off of sidewalks. There was certainly a feeling that immigrants just didn't belong.
Joselo Lucero: This is Bay Avenue. This is the house my brother used to live in on the second floor.
Julianne Hing: At the time, Joselo Lucero was aware of the local politics. He lived in Patchogue and he knew that Latinos were often violently harassed. People would throw bottles at them from their cars or drive up onto a sidewalk where day laborers were standing to try to run them over. Mainly, Joselo knew about this because his big brother, Marcelo, who lived two doors away, hounded him to be watchful.
Joselo Lucero: "You know, you got to stay out of trouble. I don't want you to be in the street. You know how it is." He was always concerned.
Julianne Hing Joselo wasn't afraid. Marcela was the first in the family to set out for the US from Ecuador and Joselo followed a few years after. The brothers led quiet lives. They worked full-time jobs, played volleyball at night with friends, went to church. Marcelo was always careful about his appearance and he tried to get Joselo to care too.
Joselo Lucero: He used to work in a dry cleaner, so he knows all the material, the clothes, and things like that. He touched like, "This is bad. This is not cotton. This is not this." I'm saying, "Who cares?" He was totally different. He was classy guy. He likes wear his clothes neat and ironed.
Julianne Hing: Between Marcelo's work at the dry cleaners and his own job as a welder, Joselo felt like they were a class apart from the day laborers everyone made so much of a fuss about. Then one Saturday morning, a woman in a police uniform knocked on his door.
Joselo Lucero: Said, "You related with Marcelo?" I say, "Yes," and say, "I'm sorry to tell you but your brother was killed last night."
Julianne Hing: It was November 8th, 2008. Marcelo had been walking with a friend named Angel Loja when they rounded a corner behind the Patchogue Long Island railroad station. According to Loja's testimony in court, teenagers, seven of them, set upon the two Ecuadorian men with the intent of robbing them.
Joselo Lucero: They started using racial slurs, racial words against them like, "You beaners, you come to steal our money from my country." They think they have the right to say whatever they want and then my brother told him, "I'm not going to give you any money."
Julianne Hing: Angel and Marcelo we're outnumbered.
Joselo Lucero: One of them punched his friend and the other one punched my brother.
Julianne Hing: Angel tried to call 911 but his cell phone died and he ran to get help. Marcelo was by himself now.
Joselo Lucero: My brother take his belt and started swinging around him. Everybody's started to go around him and he was defending with his belt. The time he was swinging he hit one of the guys and he gets more angry where it was before because he don't get what he wants. He walked behind him like a coward and he stabbed him twice.
Julianne Hing: Marcelo died later that night, he was 37. Today, Joselo is the outreach coordinator for the Hagedorn Foundation. They're a private family philanthropic group that supports immigration services. He says he never set out to lead a political or public life.
Joselo Lucero: I'm a regular guy like everybody else.
Julianne Hing: Now, he's more or less a professional public speaker. Here he is speaking last month at WNYC's launch of the United States of Anxiety at Adelphi University.
Joselo Lucero: Media and politicians have a lot of power. When you have kids, they listen to the radio or watching the TV, and every politician blames immigrants to come to this country and sell drugs or stealing the jobs, there's no relation with that. What happens is the kids and people being absorbed in negativity about immigrants. Sometimes they want to take to their own hands. In the case of my brother, that happened.
Kai Wright: Rush Limbaugh says, "If you're white and conservative, you're yesterday." Well, next week we look at the white identity crisis up close.
Joseph Capriglione: The United States of Anxiety is produced by WNYC Studios and The Nation magazine. Reporting this week by Arun Venugopal, Julianne Hing, and Matt Katz and produced by myself, Joseph Capriglione. It's recorded and mixed by Bill Moss and Casey Means. Our theme music is by Nathan Halpern. Special thanks to our digital team Lee Hill and Alex Collin. Karen Frillmann is our editor and executive producer along with Kai Wright.
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