Saturday, June 09, 2018

State Terror in Trump’s America

America - morally bankrupt. 
The international world order is not the only thing that Donald Trump, a/k/a Trumpenführer, is destroying.  He and his foul regime are destroying America's decency and basic morality.  True, America has some ugly history - e.g., slavery, the genocide of Native Americans, the Japanese internment camps during WWII - but one would have hoped that as a nation we would have moved past such inhumanity.  Not so under the Trump/Pence regime and its evangelical Christian base which is showing itself to be no better than the majority of German Christians who supported Hitler's rise to power.  When a nation has as official policy the mistreatment of children, some as young as infants and toddlers, national moral bankruptcy is complete. Yet this is what is happening along America's southern border where children are being forceably ripped from their parents and being warehoused like animals.  Even U.S. Senators have been barred from seeing the inside of these detention centers which certainly suggests that Trump/Pence/Sessions do not want images of the horrors being disseminated. Frighteningly, Trump's base sees nothing wrong with this.  They see brown skin and, thus, the victims of the policy are not deemed even human.  Disgusting!! Andrew Sullivan has a column that laments this violation of human rights and basic decency.  Here are excerpts:

Keep a list, they tell you. Notice the little landmarks that tell you that authoritarianism is making headway.
It’s worth making a note, then, when a president goes out of his way to declare he has an “absolute right” to pardon himself, and anyone else, if he so wants, for any reason, including protecting himself and others from possible charges of conspiracy against the United States.
And it’s also worth taking a note when a near-universal norm of human decency is thrown out of the window, with a sudden change in procedure. I’m talking about the idea of a government that reserves the right to separate children from their parents forcibly — and not for interests of rescuing the child from abuse. I’m talking about the 658 children taken from their parents at the border in the two weeks since a new policy was introduced, with the aim of prosecuting everyone who enters the U.S. illegally immediately. In May alone, hundreds of children were subjected to this trauma, now counted alongside 11,000 children in government shelters across the U.S. Most are kept in huge detention centers, without their mothers or fathers, and outsiders are barred from entering. Hewitt is not a softy, he’s a hard-line Republican, reliably partisan, often ludicrously so. But even Hewitt was aghast at the sheer cruelty of this and the banality of [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’s response to it. [T]he children are separated from their parents in order to send a message to future illegal immigrants. Come here, and we’ll take your kids away. This was not a panicked measure, taken quickly, to avert a crisis. It was months under due consideration, with plenty in the Trump administration balking at the inhumanity of it all. These children are being traumatized to send a message. They are being used as a form of deterrence for others.
When the government threatens to tear families apart in this way, it is inflicting what can only be called state terror. Masha Gessen notes how this tactic is deployed by Putin against the children of demonstrators, as a form of intimidation, and is straight out of the totalitarian playbook: “Putin and the system he has created have consistently, if not necessarily with conscious intent, restored key mechanisms of Soviet control. The spectacle of children being arrested sends a stronger message than any amount of police violence against adults could do.”
As for the facilities in which these kids are held, Sessions told Hewitt he has never been to one. Senator Merkley of Oregon tried to gain access recently to one in Brownsville, Texas. He was not allowed in, and the windows in the massive building holding the children are darkened. Why, one wonders? Senator Menendez was also barred from inspecting another holding center.
The Trump administration argues that if they are going to immediately detain all illegal immigrants, and they can’t house children in adult jails, they have no choice. Really? It seems perfectly possible to find a way to ensure that at least mothers and children are detained together, to ensure that some decency is possible in an otherwise callous process. If the resources are not there, right now, then it should be a matter of extreme urgency for the Congress to find them. Being detained in a foreign country, separated from family, unable to understand the language being spoken to them, is what can only be called profound trauma. . . . This is simply something the United States should never do.
I’m fine with tough enforcement, open to E-verify, lower future immigration levels, and even Trump’s fricking wall. But there are some core humane lines no civilized country should cross, some red lines, such as torture, or mistreatment of prisoners, or the wrenching of children from loving parents by agents of the state. This isn’t a completely isolated instance either. The ICE arrests that are happening every day just as mothers and fathers drop their kids off at school are particularly horrifying. They violate official policy, which is supposed to restrict arrests at “sensitive locations,” but the loopholes in this provision are legion. Children see their mom or dad suddenly subjected to force, shoved out of cars, handcuffed and then simply spirited away. No child should ever be subjected to this, period. The sheer trauma it will generate can last a lifetime. Yes, these are noncitizens. Yes, many have broken the law. But they are also children. Every day we numb ourselves to these core violations of decency, America dies a little. When challenged on this, of course, Trump simply lied and insisted that the Democrats came up with this “horrible law.” He has nothing to do with what his own ICE is doing, he tells us. Nothing.  The thing about this despicable man is that he doesn’t even have the courage of his own cruelty.

I am ashamed to be an American.  No doubt when we travel to Europe in September, the husband and I will have to repeatedly explain that we oppose such inhumanity and that we worked hard to stop Trump's election.  

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