The worst part of the Trump presidency might be that the wholesale incarceration of innocent people — including over two thousand children — including nursing babies and developmentally disabled preteens — and subjecting them to trauma that will haunt them and maybe even shorten their entire lives – while putting those children at risk for abuse, including sexual abuse — all with no plan on how to reunite them with their families (phew!) — may NOT be the worst thing that they did. In fact, it may somehow turn out to be the best thing they’ve ever done. Here’s how:
Pushing the false equivalency
Peter Fonda, the star of 1969’s Easy Rider, was widely denounced after tweeting that Barron Trump, the president’s 12 year old autistic son, should be kidnapped and subjected to unspeakable acts. This was, according to conservatives, an even worse offense than Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a feckless cunt. I don’t know Fonda personally, but I can confidently guess that he had no intention of personally donning a mask and sneaking into the White House to sell Barron into sexual slavery. He wanted to make the point that no one, whether the child of a president or the most desperate and down-trodden, should have to endure that kind of trauma, and maybe if Trump had the imagination to think how he would feel if it happened to his son, he’d act a little different. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.) Instead, conservatives are somehow able to make the risible comparison between name calling and Nazi-level atrocities.
Getting away with passing the buck
President Truman had a plaque on his desk that read, “The Buck Stops Here.” In case you need a quick refresher, passing the buck comes from a poker term meaning you skip your turn to deal and let someone else do the hard work for you. Truman knew you can’t pass the buck when you’re the president. Trump has successfully managed to blame the Democrats, even though they are not the majority party and have indeed put forth bills to hastily fix this situation. He has managed to act feckless in the face of a law that completely binds him, at least until it didn’t. It was his team, it was his promise, it is 100 percent his fault. Not 50, not 99, but 100 percent.
A PR win for their most rabid base
While most of Trump’s allies in the media and Trump himself have tried to shift blame, there is a dishearteningly large and vocal section of Trump supporters who take sadistic glee in the torture of small children. These are the deplorables. These are the people that Hillary Clinton recognized where so far beyond redemption that they weren’t worth her time. When confronted with the enormity of their crimes, and asked if they have any shred of human decency, their answer is a resounding, “womp womp.”
Normalizing concentration camps
Even the term “baby jails,” a term meant as a dysphemism, does not capture the enormity of putting children as young as “still a baby” in cages. They are camps, they are crowded, you are not allowed to leave, there is no due process, there is no oversight. The only differences between immigration detention centers and Nazi concentration camps is which politically undesirable group is in them and that they aren’t wearing striped pajamas. Which brings us to…
Making the abuse of children a partisan issue
The Obama administration spent about five minutes considering separating families that they caught illegally crossing the border. That policy never left that room, because it was heartless and inhumane. Obviously, that was never a problem for conservatives. A disturbingly large portion of Americans think they somehow deserve that treatment because they didn’t come into this country at a specific point on an invisible line between countries. Trump refers to people avoiding certain death by fleeing a country with nothing more than they can carry on their back as “invaders” and “infestation.” A basic standard of decency and compassion is too much to ask for from the Republican party in 2018.
An excuse to fire Jeff Sessions.
Take one look at Jeff Sessions and you’ll realize that candidate Trump sold you out when he became President. In one of the most visible disappoints, Sessions promised to reverse a hands-off policy Obama set about state-legalization of cannabis. But Trump also fucked himself over because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. Trump hates his own man, and he’d love to reverse that mistake. If Trump gets to shift as much blame to Sessions as he can and then fire him, Trump gets a huge personal victory.
Hitler had a propaganda technique he called “The Big Lie.” Basically a lie was so blatant and so huge that it would hack the listener’s brain into backwards-rationalizing it. If a lie is so deeply rooted in untruth, and so twisted and layered that you can’t even unpack it to debunk it, it is the perfect lie. You can see a victim of the Big Lie in this clip from 2008 when an old lady said, “He [Barack Obama]” is an Arab. That one sentence has so many layers of untruths bound by intolerance you can’t debunk it in 27 seconds. So give the Devil his due, Trump has created the perfect lie.Who is to Blame for our Cruel Immigration Policy?
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Calling Bullshit (on my own side)
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Never be the first to stop clapping