family separation

I write this on the Fourth of July afternoon, 2018. My favorite holiday. The USA is 242 years old. Looking back, it’s been a strange and awful year. Most recently:

  • On July 4, a handful of Republican senators were in Russia — not what I would call patriotic. Perhaps they’re there soliciting some campaign contributions?
  • Watching TV, I see that half the country thinks President Donald Trump is a racist, but I have to wonder why that number is so low?
  • The press is all aghast that Trump could appoint a new Supreme Court Justice who will eliminate abortions and LGBT rights.
  • And then there’s Scott Pruitt, exposed as a low-rent grifter, perhaps the most genuine symbol to our nation of an Oklahoman politician. He (finally) resigned on July 5. Where was the Oklahoma press when he was the state’s AG?

Previous affronts trivial compared to border crisis

All of that’s trivial compared to what Trump has done to immigrant families on our southern border. Families seeking asylum are being broken up, their children sent to concentration camps and locked in cages. Babies and toddlers are being sent to foster homes and scattered across the country. In my lifetime, I can’t think of anything so horrible committed by our government within the U.S. (I suppose one could go back to WWII and the Japanese interment, but at least those families were kept together.)

As most things with Trump, this policy was concealed in lies and excuses. First, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement that the government was implementing a “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigrants. Then, Trump admitted it was awful but also that it was the “Democrats’ fault” — the government had no choice but was just enforcing the law.

What we’ve learned actually is that Trump was trying to get around the Flores settlement – a law for the past 21 years – by playing shell games with asylum centers (ports of entry) and then declaring immigrants who entered the U.S. unlawfully (a misdemeanor crime) as criminals and breaking up those families. These are poor people, with perhaps no more than the clothes that they are wearing, who journeyed thousands of miles to escape violence and abuse.

Lies and smears as border deadline looms

And Trump followed with more lies and smears: equating those people to gang members; complaining that those people weren’t entitled to due process; keeping secret the records of who they are, where they are now and how to get in touch with them; not even allowing photos of their detention. Families unable to know how to reunite. Some deported and their children still missing. Our government is kidnapping children to force their parents to give up their asylum claims.

Finally, courts have stepped in and declared a stop to Trump’s illegal actions. U.S. 9th District Judge Dana Sabraw has given the government until July 26 to reunite all the families and afford them their rights. As of July 2, a Health and Human Services spokesperson could only tell Time Magazine how many minors (11,800) remained in their care — not how many had been reunited with their families.

Could Trump ignore the courts, just as his “hero” President Andrew Jackson did when he forcibly removed the eastern tribes during the Trail of Tears?

Clearly, the man is a monster

That remains to be seen. What seems clear, however, is that Trump is a sadistic monster who would rather lie even if the truth would serve him. He’s cheated investors and employees alike. He revels in images of violence. He’s broken almost all of the Ten Commandments. He claimed he’s done nothing for which to ask for forgiveness. This man is not amoral, he’s immoral. He’s not a mere nihilist, he’s anti-Christian.

On the Fourth, we went out and saw fireworks. Sang patriotic songs. Had burgers and hot dogs. Meanwhile, we knew innocent children escaping violence and tyranny didn’t see those fireworks because they were locked in confinement in their own “Box of Tears,” if you will, not knowing when or if they would ever see their parents and siblings.