I could, I suppose, fall back on my many years of coaching, present myself as some pseudo-expert, and give my profound opinion of moral victories. But you already know what a moral victory is.
It’s a loss.
Amid the knee-jerk responses to Trump’s June 20 executive order rescinding his earlier executive order, let’s not believe for a second that basic American principles rose to the top. That will never happen unless we push them there. “Allowing” families to be imprisoned together forever does not suggest compassion, empathy, charity, or courage. (Trump feigns indignity when people don’t sing the anthem, yet his own cravenness never inspires anyone’s belief that this country remains the home of the brave.) Yes, we can take heart in the “unseparating” of children from their parents, as long as we realize that the action merely redirects the rancor and pettiness of wretches like Trump, Sessions, and Miller.
So don’t pop any champagne, or think that the humanitarian crisis engendered by this triumvirate of turpitude is anywhere near over. Celebrate quietly—a minute or two to gloat—then back on the attack. Keep pounding away and asking the right questions:
- Was the original plan to separate families forever?
- What specific plan is in order to reunite separated families?
- What is the plan for dealing with the legality of permanently imprisoning of immigrants…or anybody…without due process?
And when you’re asking those questions, no matter whom they’re directed to, be sure the word plan is included in each question, because there is none. There never is with Trump. No plan for North Korea, for Puerto Rico, for the Paris Agreement, the Muslim Ban, paying for the wall, providing health care, stewarding the environment. Aside from his new plan to create a Space Force to fight off alien invaders (I thought that’s why we had Sigourney Weaver and Will Smith), with Trump it’s thoughtless bluster followed by chaos.
This time it didn’t work, and that fact is heartening. But we’ve traded one chaotic situation for another. It’s typical Trumpian whack-a-mole, though it was gratifying to pound that mole for a moment or two yesterday. Don’t throw away the mallet.
I don’t have to tell you after one year, 151 days, 22 hours, and 25 minutes of this presidency, it’s all going to get much, much worse, and the press is going to have to redouble its already redoubled efforts if we’re ever going to learn the outcome of this, i.e., how many families have been permanently shattered—how many parents and children will never find each other—how many violations of personal integrity have been and will be committed.
Last night in Minnesota, Trump was at it again, repeating his original mantra about Mexico not sending us their best. Maybe in 2015 we could be offended by his implied racism, but now one year, 151 days, 22 hours, and 25 minutes later, I’m not sure we deserve any country’s best.
On the world stage, and maybe in our own consciences, we may have to earn back that right. And to do so, well if I might reference another movie, we’re gonna need a bigger mallet.