The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Politics of Personal Immunity

    Last night, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and entourage were booted from the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia by a co-owner who just couldn’t bring himself to serve a servant of the Trump Administration and boy was she mad about it and boy are the usual suspects, members of the namby-pamby D.C. press commentariat concerned about civility, too.  This on the heels of Trump adviser Stephen Miller and Department of Homeland Security Head Kirstjen Nielsen being heckled by fellow diners while separately trying to dine out on high end Mexican food. It’s almost hard to go out in public if you support kidnapping the children of desperate asylum seekers.

    Except that it’s not.  Though majorities object to what is going on at the border, a significant portion of the country, and a more significant portion of our political leadership actually supports treating all border crossers as criminal and prosecuting every case as a deterrent for others.  If it means children are separated from their parents and maybe fostered thousands of miles away in an alien culture, so be it.  Heck, their only proposed solution, so far, is to lock the children in cages with their parents. They simply do not see this as a problem.

    Just like, when a Colorado baker refused to make a cake for a gay wedding, Republican rank and file and leadership did not see that as a problem.  When they and theirs get kicked and heckled out of restaurants, it’s a problem.  When other people are denied services, it’s freedom of speech.

    The first thing I felt when I heard the cries of children at the border released by Pro Publica was the revolting notion that a government that would do this to children would do anything to anybody and I thought of my own child being taken away from me. But it seems a good number of people did not leap to any sort of empathy and thought, rather, “Well, this would never happen to me and mine.” They may well be right about that. They probably are. But you make cold policy that way.

    It was the same with Black Lives Matter.  Were police massacring, abusing and harassing young white men in middle class and upper class neighborhoods, things would have changed in a hurry.  If New York’s police had exercised stop and frisk authority on white clubgoers likely holding ecstasy and cocaine in their pockets and purses, things would have stopped.  Instead, the policy ground on for ages while the people with the political clout to do anything about it shrugged that it wasn’t their problem. Heck, some saw it not only as not happening to them but as happening to others for their benefit.

    I think it’s a dangerous game we’re playing. The government, at all levels, will happily follow orders separating families, penning people into cages, using lethal force, whatever. Once the orders are given, the system simply carries them out. There’s not even introspection, much less resistance.  The public’s willingness to tolerate and even celebrate such things, so long as some out group is the main target, explains a good deal about why this isn’t being stopped.



    Dehumanizing undocumented immigrants may be one of Mr. Trump’s signature outrages, but it is hardly his only one. There is also his politicization of law enforcement, his attempts to undermine public faith in the democratic process, his attacks on the press, his family’s suspect business dealings and his habitual lying.....It takes work for America to hold on to its values. Individuals must push back when those values are threatened — especially when that threat comes from the commander in chief.

    (from recent NYT editorial)

    The Republican Party has for decades been poisoning our politics with lies, obstruction, hate, fear ......with the full support of right wing media empires, raking in billions on the long con.  Trump hijacked what is now a xenophobic, racist, leadership cult of lies and hate,  some of the most lethal poison our democracy has ever suffered. That brave people like this restaurant owner stand up to these liars and pillagers of our nation's values and institutions gives hope.

    Would add, at least the restaurant owner didn't encourage staff to beat up the woman and offer to cover the resulting legal bills. Like our President did, at his campaign rallies.

    Don’t forget the American Airline flight attendants who confronted those transporting children when they were told they were a soccer team!  They then refused to work those flights.  I am hoping that we will see more and more people standing up to these atrocities.  

    I am not sure why you say the public doesn’t care.  I see more people reacting to this than most of the messes that trump created.  Pruit?  Ho hum.  Betsy Devos? Nary a word.  HUD?  Too bad the poor have to pay more, drink contaminated water, and compete with rats at their abodes.

    I think this is big.

    Hadn't heard the "soccer team ploy". Looked it up, NYT:

    ....He wrote that a co-worker had been told by immigration agents that children on one flight were part of a soccer team, but that the agents later admitted to the co-worker that “they were, indeed children who were being relocated to assigned camps.”

    Mr. Palmquist, who has worked in the airline industry for 29 years, said that he would refuse, in the future, to work on any flight “with children who’ve been separated from their families.”

    “Since working the two flights, the images of those helpless children have burned into my psyche. The little children whose faces were full of fear, confusion, sadness and exhaustion left me somewhat traumatized as it occurred to me a few weeks later that I might as well have been a collaborator in their transport.”

    Same article, the "airlines hate the troops, want you unprotected, and only Trump can fix the devastating crisis ploy":

    A press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Tyler Q. Houlton, said it was unfortunate that airlines “no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of D.H.S. to protect the traveling public, combat human trafficking, and to swiftly reunite unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with their families.”

    “Despite being provided facts on this issue, these airlines clearly do not understand our immigration laws and the longstanding devastating loopholes that have caused the crisis at our southern border,” Mr. Houlton said.

    Only following orders...

    Tyler Q. Houlton, said it was unfortunate that airlines “no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of D.H.S. to protect the traveling public, combat human trafficking, and to swiftly reunite unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with their families.”

    The face of that scumbag.


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