We’ve Reached A Critical Point In American History Now That the World Knows Our Shame
BLUE SUNDAY: We, the People, Have Cededed The Global Moral High Ground with Donald Trump’s Policy of Child Separation at the Southern Border.
Some dates instantaneously enter the collective American memory as they make their mark on history. July 4, 1776; December 7, 1941; November 22, 1963; and September 11, 2001 are prime examples. We hear them and we immediately know the reference. Society continues to remember and honor these days each year.
Other dates attain their significance through the lens of history, when we look back to pinpoint the origin of a movement, a turning point in a war, or the humble beginnings of a crisis. July 19, 1948 probably doesn’t ring a bell to most people, but it was the beginning of the long crusade to bring the right to vote to American women. Who would have thought on June 17, 1972 that a clumsy burglary attempt at the Watergate Hotel would force the President of the United States to resign from office 26 months later?
The latter category may one day include June 5, 2018, as that was the day that the United States was accused of committing human rights violations against children by the International Community. As a result of Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” immigration policy — which separated more than 650 children from their families in the first two weeks of May alone — the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a sharply worded missive towards the US, calling on them to “immediately halt this practice of separating families“:
The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.
The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritized over the effective care and protection of migrant children.
The UN Council’s reprimand came just days after Senator Jeff Merkley was denied entry into a former Walmart building in Brownsville, Texas which is now serving as a detention center for immigrant children. A sitting member of the United States Senate was denied access to a federal facility. Let that sink in. What possibly could the government be hiding? It’s safe to say that Merkley spoke for many of us when he spoke during a Facebook Live video outside of the center, saying: “I think it’s unacceptable that a member of Congress is not being admitted to see what’s happening to children whose families are applying for asylum.”
Any benefit of the doubt about the treatment of these innocent children was forfeited the minute Merkley was prohibited from touring the building.
‘Families were rarely prosecuted under previous administrations’
Before Merkley’s attempt to witness the treatment of the detained and separated children, the American Civil Liberties Union used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information related to the abuse and mistreatment of these kids while in custody. The report was roughly 30,000 pages:
The report accompanies approximately 30,000 pages of documentation obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act that describe abusive treatment of children in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection https://t.co/LXBh2RXtcu pic.twitter.com/Y5UP6In3KV
— ACLU of Nevada (@ACLUNV) May 28, 2018
As he’s prone to do, Trump blatantly lied about the root cause of this heinous policy, attributing it to (who else?) the Democrats in a tweet two days after Merkley’s report went viral:
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
And as his statements are prone to be, this one was deemed completely false by Politifact (and anyone else who has access to the internet):
There is no such law. The Homeland Security Department’s longstanding policy is to separate children from their custodians when they are referred for criminal prosecution. Trump’s administration has decided to prosecute all illegal crossings. Families were rarely prosecuted under previous administrations.
We rate this statement False.
Every day that we don’t publicly discuss the egregious practice of ripping innocent children from their parents is a day that we are not living up to our responsibilities as American citizens.
We know that immigrant children are being taken from their parents at the Southern Border. We know that the federal government is trying to conceal the conditions inside the detention facilities. We know that there have been reports of mistreatment and abuse. We’re aware that this is happening because of, and at the sole discretion of the Trump Administration.
And above all else, we now know that the international community is watching us, judging us, and imploring us to hold ourselves to a higher standard. A standard that just three years ago — when Trump was merely a celebrity flirting with a presidential run — would not have been something the UN would have to concern itself with.
The knowledge of this information begs the obvious question: what can the American people do about this?
Above all else, it’s vital to make sure the rest of the world knows these atrocities do not represent the will of the American people. Never before in history has a candidate won the presidency while losing the popular vote of the citizens by the margins that Trump did in 2016. He has never come close to attaining the support of the majority of Americans. This can’t be overstated.
Anyone who’s even remotely followed the workings of the McConnell/Ryan Congress knows there is a less than zero chance that our legislators will reign Trump in. They’ve continually tried to discredit an investigation into how a hostile foreign state attacked our election process. Do you really think they have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to defend the children of people the president has deplorably labeled “animals“?
The first step we can take to show the world that Trump does not speak for us is to change the complexion of Congress. Lucky for us, we have the opportunity to do that in less than 150 days.
Furthermore, we can use the same exact tools that Trump did on his rise to the presidency: social media. We’re in a dynamic age where the masses can set an agenda by simply discussing the issues. Thanks to algorithms on facebook, twitter and google, we have the ability to make something “trending” by searching for it, speaking about it, sharing it and liking it. We need to use this to our advantage.
We can dictate the news cycle. Every day that we don’t publicly discuss the egregious practice of ripping innocent children from their parents who are, for the most part, seeking asylum is a day that we are not living up to our responsibilities as American citizens.
We need to learn the lesson of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico: if we stop paying attention to it, the larger media stops covering it. And before we know it, it’s disappeared from public consciousness until the next blistering bombshell of a report.
This unspeakable practice is being done in our name — even for those of us who spend a majority of our time openly fighting the administration. While not always hospitable, America has always been the land of the immigrant. The very fabric of our soul is now at stake. History doesn’t often tell the tale of the German people who stood up against fascism eighty years ago, and it won’t tell our story either if we don’t write it.
Now That You Mention It…
•So President Trump wants to allow Russia back into the G-7. Because of course he does. Russia was a longtime member of the group of industrialized nations – it was at the time known as the G8. They were expelled in 2014 as a result of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. And yes, they are still occupying the region. Furthermore, everyone outside of the West Wing is fully aware of the fact that Russia interfered in the last American election cycle. The other six nations are right to enforce this modest attempt to hold the country accountable. Yet for Donald “NO COLLUSION” Trump, Russia doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong.
It may not matter, however, as it appears more like that the group will become the G6 before it reverts back to the G8.
•More Winning For Working Class Americans! The administration now plans to argue before federal courts that the Affordable Care Act should no longer require insurers to cover Americans who have pre-existing conditions. Yep. If the Trump team has its way in the courts they’ve been slowly packing, you’ll be able to lose your healthcare coverage for conditions such as cancer, diabetes, autism, arthritis and many others — possibly even pregnancy.
I guess this is the “beautiful” health care plan we’ve all been waiting for.
•Less than a year after disinviting the NBA Champions from a White House celebration, Trump did the same to the Super Bowl champs. And neither the Philadelphia Eagles or the City of Brotherly Love itself seem too upset about it. But let’s not miss the bigger point.
But in the same week that he told the Eagles to stay home, he was quick to congratulate the NHL’s Washington Capitals for winning the Stanley Cup. And I’ll venture to bet (which I can do now in New Jersey…LEGALLY!) that the Capitals are invited to the Trump White House for a celebration of their
whiteness achievement. They are, after all, captained by the greatest Russian-born player in NHL history – Alex Ovechkin – and the president was quick to shower the Moscovite with praise as well:
Congratulations to the Washington Capitals on their GREAT play and winning the Stanley Cup Championship. Alex Ovechkin, the team captain, was spectacular – a true Superstar! D.C. is popping, in many ways. What a time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2018
•The unspeakable rumor is, thankfully, untrue. “The Office” is not leaving Netflix. Whew. I’m six seasons into my fourth time binging all the way through. And if I’m being honest with myself, will probably start my fifth one within the next twelve months. Yes, I realize that I basically pay $11 per month to watch the gang at Dunder Mifflin. No, I don’t care.
•I was saddened to learn of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. I knew next to nothing about her, but having been married for almost sixteen years I knew she was a key figure in the world of fashion and accessories. My wife knows the name of athletes like Albert Pujols, Russell Wilson, and Jordan Speith while I know names like Kate Spade, Michel Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. It’s only natural.
And I was devasted to learn of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide just days later. I’ve been an admirer of Bourdain for most of this century. His irreverence blended with an insatiable quest for knowledge, unique food, workers rights and fine libations made his programs like “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown” the easy answer to the question “What do you wanna watch?”
Suicide rates are up 30% since the turn of the century. In an age when we know more than we ever have about mental illnesses, and when the stigma of such conditions is weakening every year, this is such a sad phenomenon.
If you ever, even for a second, hypothesize about taking your own life, or even feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know if you’ll ever recover, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255
I have been there. And believe me when I tell you, it DOES get better.
What Won Twitter This Week?
I know what I’m playing on my next vacation…
If we played a drinking game called “Imagine if Obama’s admin…” we’d all have alcohol poisoning now. #Maddow
— Chibi Lexenstar (@ChibiLex) June 6, 2018
If this were any more ironic, Alanis Morissette would have to write a song about it:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) June 5, 2018
Gotta hand it to whoever created this meme:
— James Reader (@JamesReader_RP) June 4, 2018
Pardon me, but this guy really has no idea how this process works at all, does he…
— Tre Ward (@TreWardWLKY) June 8, 2018
Songs Of Freedom
Building the ultimate #Resistance playlist, one week at a time. I’m always up for discovering new protest songs, if you have a recommendation, I’d love to hear it!
As I was saying earlier, the world needs to hear us loud and hear us clear when it comes to the treatment of immigrant children. We need to fight with inspiration, and if you can’t be inspired by early 1980’s glam rock, you probably can’t be inspired by anything!
Our playlist so far…
Till next Sunday, my friends!