It is time we accepted that the President of the United States is a demonstrated pathological narcissist and liar with no regard for consequence. According to Eric Boehlert, Trump is devoid of empathy and lacks either a soul or a heart. He is filled with a deep emptiness driven by sociopathic paranoia, grandiosity and cruelty. This man embodies the definition of a sociopath.
His actions are irrational serving only to advance his own self-image and the loyalty of those whose respect he needs for his own self-aggrandizement: supporting murderous dictators in North Korea and Russia; sacrificing our national security and allies as expendable; freeing white supremacists to create “ethnic purity”; stealing prosperity and futures from the poor and middle class to provide wealth to corporations and the already wealthy; stripping 11% of Americans of their health care; depriving minorities of their voting rights; repealing the rules protecting consumers and the environment; using the moral atrocity- shredding families by tearing children from their parents- as a deterrent to immigration; holding DACA registrants hostage to funding the wall.
And his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is cut from the same cloth, committed to white supremacy and enriching the wealthy. Defending his zero-tolerance policy, Sessions claimed the act of taking children from their parents is “not unusual or unjustified” and acknowledges using that particular cruelty to impede the browning of America. He has announced he will no longer defend state court challenges to the ACA, potentially leaving health coverage for millions uncertain. He has supported denying the vote to minorities and using extreme gerrymandering to create a permanent right-wing majority. The phrase “Law enforcement” is code for freeing police to use violence as a primary tool without fear of DOJ response. He promotes mass incarceration of people of color using mandatory sentences that recreate racial disparity. And now he has clearly demonstrated he accepts abuse of children and women as justified if they are Latino, and he is willing to use that abuse as a tool to discourage immigration.
Currently there are about 11,000 immigrant children in shelters, 30% of them taken from parents who came legally to the US seeking asylum. Stories abound of children literally ripped from their parents’ arms, even from the breast, screaming, terrified, leaving parents horrified and heartbroken. According to the Washington Post, the Border Patrol agent said to the mother whose child was taken away while breastfeeding: “You will never see your children again. Families don’t exist here. You won’t have a family anymore!”
The cruelty is clear, but what is less outwardly evident is the trauma of forced separation and the potential for long-term PTSD. Even children too young to have cognitive memories have emotional and cellular memory that lasts a lifetime.
Incarceration facilities are in crisis, overflowing because of the Trump/Sessions’ policy, and to be sure, the crisis is manufactured by that policy. The Trump administration has now chosen a location — Tornillo, Texas — where “HHS will erect a ‘tent city,’ full of large tents whose walls touch the ground, estimated to hold approximately 450 beds for children.” There will be no AC and the temperatures will be in the high 90’s in the summer and the 30’s at night in the winter. The first ‘city’ will house 450 children.
According to Trump and Sessions, this unfortunate circumstance is a result of Democratic Immigration Law. That is yet another self-serving lie. The dramatic increase of children who are alone and in need of care at the border is the product of a new Trump administration policy that on May 7 began criminally prosecuting all adult migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security separates any children traveling with those adults before prosecution.
Sessions defended taking children away from their parents by quoting the Bible: Romans 13, “Obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for His purposes.” The same justification was applied to excuse the Japanese internment in 1942; to excuse forcing Native American children to leave their families for “Indian Schools” where eradicating the Native American culture was the stated goal; to enforce the rules of slavery in America; to excuse Nazi genocide of Jews and European minorities; to explain white south African apartheid; to explain the Dredd-Scott decision.
The President’s party has made no effort to reign in the abuses of its leader. Appallingly, even those in our national leadership who stand up to say, “This is wrong” don’t seem able to meet the challenge of developing a thoughtful immigration policy that is consistent with who we are as a nation. Reverend Dr. Barber, Bishop Michel Curry and Frank Schaeffer acknowledged this morning that we are trapped in a moral crisis of our own making that we can end if only we can find the moral courage to do so.
Charles Edel writes in the Washington Post, “…courage requires more than words, it requires action. And it requires taking action with the full knowledge that there will probably be consequences, both personal and national. True courage, according to [John F.] Kennedy, meant a willingness to live with those consequences — even if they meant electoral defeat.” Obviously, today’s politicians lack that kind of courage.
This is no time for ethical ambivalence or lack of political courage, and both are abundant today. The argument is not about right versus left, but about right versus wrong. We will only right what is wrong by removing from our leadership those who do not have the courage to choose the moral path.
The Declaration of Independence asserts that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. This exercise of power is anything but just.
Our silence in these times makes us complicit in its events, and my moral structure makes that intolerable for me. I choose to withhold my consent and hope each of you are moved to do the same. Let your government know you will not be silent; by your vote, by your voice, stand up for America.