“A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.”
– James Baldwin
Alright, this can’t wait for Friday; let’s talk about the Trump administration policy of separating children from families at the border and why the administration’s attempt to flip or shift the narrative is bullshit. The good news at the moment is that for once, it seems as if the administration’s attempt to steamroll facts isn’t working, but given their unbelievable success at doing this in the past doesn’t fill me with wild hope.
Let’s review: this is not new, it has been a long time coming, the AG announced this new policy in May, the ACLU has been filing cases against this for a hot minute now, asylum is being treated as an illegality–it isn’t. Over the last three days, every single one of the following explanations, denials, or justifications has been used:
- It doesn’t exist (although, plot twist, 24 hours later it did exist and was not something for which to apologize)
- It does exist but Democrats invented it (nope)
- It’s what Jesus would do (pretty sure not and the Bible is immaterial, or should be to policy decisions)
- It’s up to congress to fix (false, since the administration put it in place in the first instance, and is a long way from the, “I alone can fix it,” rhetoric of the campaign trail)
Let’s be clear. The administration has taken children away from the parents for a crime ranked as a misdemeanor (on the same level as petty theft or public intoxication), and made their release and reunification (a flimsy prospect since it doesn’t appear that there are robust enough systems for this already) conditional upon certain legislation. The administration has taken hostages.
Remember, provocation is a feature, not a bug, of this White House. They manufactured this crisis by creating the policy in the first place and are now claiming their hands are tied. They are positioning themselves as the victims when they are the hostage takers. This should not hold water with anyone, I’m incredulous that it is in some quarters. And while I hope the president backs down, I’m not counting on it because if you think the president and key people in the White House want this “problem” (meaning the furor and coverage) to go away, you have not been paying attention. They live for this.
Also remember, this nativism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and militant enthno-nationalistic grievance is literally the horse Mr. Trump and all his people rode in on. While I hope shame and outrage will be enough to turn the tide, it does not at all surprise me to read that some of his administration are planning more crackdowns–judging that this is the issue that will fire up their base more than touting their tax victory. This has always been part of the stated plan. But I forget, were we supposed to take him literally or seriously, again?
Yes, I abhor the policy. But almost as disgusting to me is how the administration gets away with it all. They can defend a pro-Israel policy and defend Nazis rallying in our streets. The president can go on TV and state publicly that he fired the director of the FBI to try and make an investigation go away and experience zero consequences. He can promise healthcare “for everybody,” dismantle the current healthcare system, and be praised by the people who voted for him on his original promise and who will pay the highest price. His DHS Secretary can go from denying a policy’s existence to defending it in less than 24 hours without batting an eye. Where are the consequences of this kind of double speak? How long until it is checked? The damage it does to our credibility, our position of moral leadership, and our underlying moral fiber is frightening.
Finally, I don’t care what your politics are, I need people to understand that one way or another, there is no future in which this does not come back and bite all Americans in the ass. Whether it enables new scorched earth warfare between the parties that will end in casualties, or whether antagonists over the world feel empowered to use the same tactics against us someday, THIS. WILL. COST. US. Anyone willing to trade in lives will someday have to pay the same price themselves. All of human history is a testament to this awful fact.
This time, the call is coming from inside the house.