Vacation time is over. I’m back early because all hell broke loose while I’ve been sleeping. This must be what the kids mean when they say “stay woke.” While I was slumbering in recreation mode our government has fallen back into draconian separation mode. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions mandated or sanctioned (depending on who you ask) the forced separation of parents from their children. It has only done that twice: during slavery and during World War II. This is the “Code Red” governing crisis that Thomas Freidman of the New York Times warned us about in his column a few months back and now it is here. So for people of good conscience with a platform it is all hands on deck.
Let me encourage my progressive and liberal pundits, journalists, activists and politicians to choose your words and phrases very carefully at this critical time. I know you mean well but to those of you who have insisted passionately that “America is better than this” or “this is not what America is about” or “this is NOT who we are as Americans” I offer you the simple and poignant insights of legendary football coach Bill Parcells: You are what your record says you are.
I understand the sentiment that you are expressing and I agree wholeheartedly. But that sentiment is a reflection of the aspirations that some of us hold for America and not the reality that many other Americans really do want. And let’s not con ourselves: the Americans that really do want to separate families coming to this country seeking asylum voted for Donald Trump and they won. More of them turned out to vote in our “swing states” than those of us who turned out to vote for Hillary Clinton. They won, we lost and I’ll be goddamned if elections don’t have HUGE consequences. Sometimes those consequences sting so badly that they torment the soul and the psyche of conscientious citizens.
The Russian collusion scandal and investigation has caused too many of us to forget the fact that that sixty-three million votes were cast for Donald Trump- that is two million more votes than Mitt Romney won and four million more votes than John McCain won when they lost to Barack Obama. That is a HUGE swath of the country and the fact that Hillary got almost three million more simply doesn’t matter in our system and it probably never will. Considering who and what Donald Trump is, he shouldn’t have been able to come close to winning- even the Electoral College- no matter what propaganda foreign actors pumped into our political debate. We are still a nation in denial if we actually believe that any significant percentage of that sixty-three million voters is going to turn away from Trump in 2020 over this atrocity when they had every reason to expect him to perform like this when they voted for him the first time in 2016.
Trump ran on that Reagan re-run campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” and now we have an even clearer picture of what that means to his supporters: flagrant, formal and frequent marginalization of non-white people. In the 19th century, African-American slave families were torn away from each other and many never saw their loved ones again. In the 20th century, Japanese-American families were torn from their homes and hearded into camps like cattle. And now Central American and South American families seeking asylum are being separated and detained in glorified prison camps. To the Trump voter this aggressive expression of hostility to non-white people is exactly what the MAGA movement promised. And they love it. This is exactly what they wanted. Even if some part of them hates the images and recordings of crying children being taken away by our government, they absolutely love the liberal outrage that comes with them.
The unflappable, unshakable, incomparable and unstoppable Rachel Maddow of MSNBC began to cry on her show last night when the Associated Press broke the story of the “Tender Age” camps that had been set up for the hundreds of babies and infants that had been taken away from their mothers by ICE Agents.
And Rush Limbaugh was laughing about it on his show twelve hours later. That ugliness is not just where we are, folks, that is WHO we are as Americans right now. Rush Limbaugh’s audience and their ilk are in charge and are making the policies that define our country. And being in denial about it today will not help us be better tomorrow. We need to acknowledge the horrible state that we are in and work our asses off to get out of it. Denial is NOT the way out. VOTING is. The 47% of voters who sat out in 2012 own a piece of this human tragedy and have to redeem themselves in 2020. It pains us to watch our beloved country go backwards instead of forward and we can only reverse course at the ballot box. So every Tweet, every posting, every conversation, debate and discourse from now on has to revolve around driving turn out in the 2018 mid-terms and the 2020 general. And we need to stay that course until we drive every last reprobate Republican, cowardly co-conspirator and spineless sycophant out of our government. They got what they wanted last time but our time is coming- and their days are numbered.