Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trump Supporters and the Lost Art of Shunning

Trump family separation enforcer Kirstjen Nielsen run out of a restaurant.
As a follow up to the last post, former Republican Jennifer Rubin has a column in the Washington Post that also looks at Sarah Sanders being shown the door and other episodes where amoral Trump officials/supporters have received the treatment that applaud in being dished out to others.  Perhaps  I cannot fully escape my Catholic background, but I believe that complicity in evil must have negative consequences for the wrongdoer. Sanders and so many of today's hate-filled Republicans believe there are no consequences for their involvement with reprehensible policies and the intentional infliction of harm on others. As for convincing them of the error of their ways/beliefs, I view them as beyond convincing through normal means. Hence, shunning is all to appropriate. Perhaps becoming persona non grata with the vast majority of the citizenry might make a few of them rethink their positions.  Here are column highlights:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — whose lies are piling up at a furious rate and whose defense of the child-separation policy prompted a reporter to exclaim, “Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent” — was reportedly asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia on Friday because she works for President Trump. . . . . She then couldn’t help lying again: “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.” Anyone who has seen her sneer, insult and condescend to the press knows that’s not the case.
This episode follows one on Tuesday in which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled at a Mexican restaurant, a culinary choice as jarring as Melania Trump’s jacket given the administration’s deliberate cruelty exhibited toward Hispanic children and their families. The loud protesters who gathered prompted her to leave. In addition, anti-immigrant zealot Stephen Miller, who pushed as hard as anyone for snatching kids from their parents, was dining in a different Mexican restaurant last Sunday when, according to the New York Post,  a protester called out, “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?” Unsurprisingly, the restaurant confrontations became a source of debate on cable television.
On CNN, Ana Navarro tartly observed, “You make choices in life. And there is a cost to being an accomplice to this cruel, deceitful administration.” So, are these reactions to Trump aides reassuring and appropriate acts of social ostracism that communicate to the cogs in a barbaric bureaucracy that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions? Alternatively, should we view these as a sign of our descent into incivility . . . . ?
It depends on how you view the child-separation policy . . . . If, however, you think the child-separation policy is in a different class — a human rights crime, an inhumane policy for which the public was primed by efforts to dehumanize a group of people (“animals,” “infest,” etc.) — then it is both natural and appropriate for decent human beings to shame and shun the practitioners of such a policy.
This exception to the rule of polite social action should be used sparingly (if for no other reason than we will never get through a restaurant meal without someone hollering at someone else).
I get it. The notion of shunning or excluding or heckling can devolve into philosophical hair-splitting as to whether someone has engaged in normal public service or whether they’ve strayed outside the bounds of decent behavior. Each to his own method of expressing disdain and fury, I suppose.
Nevertheless, it is not altogether a bad thing to show those who think they’re exempt from personal responsibility that their actions bring scorn, exclusion and rejection. If you don’t want to provoke wrath, don’t continue to work for someone whose cruel and inhumane treatment of others rivals the internment of U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II.
As a piece in The Daily Beast reports, more efforts to shame and shun Trump regime officials are likely to occur going forward:
One night after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen conducted a press conference defending the forcible separation of immigrant childrenfrom their families, a member of Washington, D.C.’s Democratic Socialists of America chapter received a text from a friend.
“A member got a text saying ‘Kirstjen Nielsen is eating nachos like ten feet from me,’” Allison Hrabar, a spokesperson for the Metro DC DSA told The Daily Beast.
Less than 30 minutes later, about a dozen members of DSA were inside MXDC Cocina Mexicana, shouting at Nielsen while she tried to eat her Mexican dinner.
“How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States?” a DSA member called to Nielsen in a video the group released of the confrontation.
“While these children are not free, this administration can’t be allowed to enjoy a nice night out,” said Jesse Rabinowitz, a DSA member who attended the demonstration. “To me, the most powerful part was when we were able to use a speaker to play the audio of children being separated from their parents. What scared me the most was the lack of empathy or feeling that the secretary had. She just seemed cold.”
“Oppressed people have never been given their rights by asking politely,” Hrabar said. “Kirstjen Nielsen is not going to be convinced by us politely saying ‘could you maybe not separate children from their families? Could you maybe stop detaining and deporting migrants who have done nothing wrong?’”
On the way out, we got a lot of high fives from patrons and restaurant staff. I think the response in the restaurant was actually really heartening.”
The impromptu action was the latest in a series of anti-ICE demonstrations by leftist organizations in recent weeks.
Since Sunday, Portland, Oregon activists including members of the Portland DSA, the Direct Action Alliance, and the National Lawyers Guild have been set up camp outside a local ICE prison. The coalition blockaded the roads leading to the facility, preventing anyone from driving in or out. On Tuesday, after a standoff with protesters, every ICE employee except for one security guard left the building, Raw Story reported. The guard, told demonstrators that the facility was closing and that “it’s unknown when it will open.”
Hrabar said the DC DSA has been staging demonstrations outside the homes of prominent ICE and Trump administration officials for the past three months.

Kudos to the DSA.

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