I have not been shy about my distaste for the President’s moral failings, the complicit incompetence of the RNC in facilitating his election, or that I disagree with a majority of his policy proposals and messaging. Liberal friends express support for my stance and beg me to either join them or work harder to reform my party from within. They ask what they can do to help “fix” the GOP. After the week we’ve just had my response is simple: get your own house in order.
A perfect example is the furor of the past two weeks regarding child-detention centers. Let me be clear: the separation of children from their families and the subsequent mishandling of these children’s future is unacceptable. Let me be as equally clear on this point: child detention facilities are NOT comparable to German concentration camps. Full stop. You demean your own argument and diminish the suffering of Holocaust victims by making that association. Images of crying children asking where their mothers are is heart wrenching enough. There is no need to accuse the government of mass-murder.
As an aside, the constant internet and talk-show punditry that accuses all Republicans (including President Bush, Sen. McCain, and Speaker Ryan) of being “literally Nazis” has inured many of us to the sobriquet. Therefore, when actual fascist bigots run for office (looking at you, Paul Nehlen), we’re a little less willing to heed the warning cries. Stop the hyperbole. Asking for border enforcement is not fascist. Neither, by the way, is decrying government over-reach in schools and churches, or supporting gun rights. My colleague, Nick Kammer, has an excellent piece about this here.
Returning to the current cause-de-jour, it is absolutely correct that the Flores decision regarding children not being allowed to be detained more than 20 days with their parents is what led to this mess. It is also correct that the practice of detaining children separate from their parents began under the Obama administration. Those are not “Faux News” soundbite explainers. They are verifiable facts. Yes, the Trump administration decided to actually enforce the law requiring detainment of all persons illegally entering the United States. That’s what a President is supposed to do—enforce the law. For once, President Trump was following his Constitutionally mandated responsibility. For everyone from the Resistance who tears at his hair or rends her shirt over Trump’s suborning of governmental norms, please take note: border enforcement and obeying the Flores decision are exactly what you’ve been asking for.
Speaking of laws and the Constitution, two different bills were introduced in the House of Representatives and one in the US Senate to eliminate the need for these detention centers and to change the law which started this mess. None of those bills received Democrat support. In fact, Sen. Schumer (D-NY) went so far as to say that the President alone could fix this. Constituents of the Senator will kindly send him copies of the US Constitution highlighting Article I.
The point, of course, is that Democratic leaders in the Senate and House do not want this issue solved. It is a convenient tool for bludgeoning Republican opponents during the up-coming mid-term elections. Rather than pass bills increasing the number of judges and court personnel who can more promptly adjudicate these cases, Democrats would rather families linger in detention centers. At least they’re together now, right?
If the true aim of the Democratic party, and their party in general, is to allow for fully open borders with no checks at all, I would appreciate their honesty in just saying so. While being constantly harangued for the dishonesty of a President and leaders from my party, I’d like to stop rolling my eyes at the hypocrisy of the left.
Finally, a plea for the media: I will continue to fight for the rights of a free press, but can you please not make it so easy for the President and his followers to cry “Fake News”? The Time Magazine cover featuring a child who actually wasn’t separated from her mother, and the spate of articles detailing horrific abuse of child detainees—that occurred before Trump was even the nominee—are perfect examples. A majority of Americans agree that children should not be taken from their parents. No decent American wants to think about any child being abused. Reporters and pundits need to be better about stating facts, including timelines, when reporting on these issues. Trust me, the outrage will still be there, there’s no need to exaggerate, or out-right fabricate, the individual horrors.
I generally don’t hold with Executive Orders in the place of legislation. However, given the immediacy of this problem, and the Democrats unwillingness to fix it correctly, I will applaud the President’s recent EO. Perhaps the Democrats will learn a lesson from this and apply it to the next issue. I remain doubtful, though. Why let a good crisis go to waste?