The Barbarians Inside Our Gates Or, How The Hell To Sleep At Night

Will I see you tonight? Join Odd Salon at The Public Works for stories of mischief and mayhem, stunts, shenanigans, and practical jokes played on an unsuspecting populace. I’ll be waxing poetic(ish) on Actual Fake News. There are still a few reserved seats available, but grab ‘em quickly! And can we talk about this fucking fabulous graphic by the amazing Imogen Spear?


And really, there's no good segue from that image to today's topic...

Friends, so many of you yesterday shared the Slate link on how to help the separated families at the border. Of course I’m not surprised that you have overflowing wells of empathy and want to fight for good, but I’m also relieved to know that others are feeling a similar anguish. Because how can you not, when ProPublica shares the devastating (warning: truly, actually, existentially devastating) audio from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, with children crying for their parents while an agent cracks jokes?

But some do not feeling that anguish. For most of us, preventing he separation of children as young as infants from their parents should be a moment for national unification - and, for some, it is - it seems that certain members of the Trump tribe didn’t get our memo, and are doubling down on national television.

Folks, I long for the days (if they ever actually existed, sigh) where conservatives and liberals both agreed that keeping children with their parents was a noble and good goal, but disagreed on the best way to do it.

But now, we have hateful ghouls like Stephen Miller dictating terrible and racist policy, which is then viciously defended on the airwaves and in the interwebs. Policies wherein the end goal of destruction isn’t even hidden: as Jonathan Blitzer points out: The Government Has No Plan for Reuniting the Immigrant Families It Is Tearing Apart. And how in all hell are we supposed to get into a “both sides” argument when the other side has no good faith leg to stand on, and is seemingly OK with all of this? It baffles and terrifies me.

Because those most-ardent supporters of this worldview, the Trumpkin boosters who want to make America great for themselves, or at least not great for anyone else, do. not. care. about. others. In this zero-sum game they inhabit, to entertain empathy and compassion means losing, and seemingly only the suffering of others can preserve their own success. As the fantastic Alexandra Petri writes in a semi-satire piece in the Washington Post, “The trick is forgetting they are children. If you remember that they are children, you will not be able to go on with any of this.”

This national illness is metastasizing. As Paul Krugman wrote yesterday in his piece Fall of the American Empire - which I find relies too much on rosy historical views of American historical activities, but anyways - “So all the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.” (ht Seth.)

And as friend of the Missive Brendan pointed out on Facebook yesterday, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

So let’s get out there and make it better faster, which involves turfing any spineless politician that won’t stand up to the barbarians inside the gate. We must ensure and empower a moral check on the administration’s power. I asked a very politically astute friend the best way one can volunteer time in anticipation of the midterms in November, and he recommended checking out Flippable, and finding a local house race to throw your energy behind. Californians, this means you as well.

And I know that I have Republican readers (hi my darlings, thanks for sticking around) who may not be comfortable supporting an org dedicated to getting Dems in office across the country. Look, I get it, but since you’re still reading me in the mornings, I assume we have less to argue on than you think. So go back to that Slate list and find a humanitarian organization who is fighting to help these families. Or donate to the ACLU. Or send strongly-worded letters to your Republican representatives and senators and demand why they aren’t fighting this madness.

Because if there are no consequences of that audio, and that imagery, and these policies, well then we’re all well and truly fucked.