Trumpism Has Created a Moral Crisis in America and A Stark Choice in 2020
We are in serious trouble as a nation. We have a President that incites racial and ethnic hatred. His policies embody his rhetoric and his cruelty. His political party enables and encourages him. The guardrails of our institutions seem largely incapable of stopping him. Taken together, this has created a permission structure for the President to spew hate and for his extremist supporters to act on that hate.
- Political Attacks in a Time of Mourning: In response to the terror attack on El Paso, Trump’s response has been a moral disaster. First, he read a statement decrying hatred that came across as a hostage video; he even misidentified the Ohio city where the attack took place. Next, he visited Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas but stayed out of sight to avoid community opposition to his visits. Then, he attacked local political leaders who didn’t give him the credit he thought he deserved. His spokesperson even claimed he was received as a “rock star” and released a campaign-style video of Trump’s visit to the hospitals set against heroic music.
- Trump Continues to Run Political Ads That Fuel Hate: Trump’s incendiary language of “invasion” and “infestation” connects directly to the manifesto left by the terrorist who killed 22 innocent people in the majority Mexican-American city of El Paso. At the same time, the Trump campaign has run over 2,000 Facebook ads, since May 2018, characterizing the arrival of families at our border to seek asylum as an “invasion.” Typically, the ads begin with “We have an INVASION!” and then go on to say, “It’s CRITICAL that we STOP THE INVASION.” Calls to Trump and the campaign to stop using this language, given its evident power to incite violence, have been rebuffed. The ads continue.
- Mass Immigration Raids in a Time of Mourning: Yesterday, on a day when the nation was still grieving the mass murder of Latinos by a terrorist motivated by fears of a “Hispanic invasion,” Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) conducted the largest raid in over ten years targeting Latino immigrant workers in Mississippi. ICE detained 680 workers, separating families, leaving children abandoned after school, and devastating communities.
- Trump Operates His Own Businesses With Impunity: No doubt the decision to go big and go to Mississippi was a carefully calculated decision by ICE leadership and the White House. They went where the Republican Party is strong in its support of Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies, and where the infrastructure of support for the workers and families is not as strong as it is in major cities. While some of the employers are notorious for exploitation and sexual misconduct, the only people arrested were the exploited and abused workers. Meanwhile, Trump’s properties have knowingly employed and abused hundreds of undocumented workers. This pattern and practice of exploitation and illegality remains untouched, undisturbed and unaddressed.
- Deadly Deportation Policies: After being deported to Iraq, Jimmy Aldaoud, a resident of the U.S. for over 40 years and a diabetic, died on Tuesday from lack of insulin. Aldaoud, an Iraqi national, was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States when he was just six-months old. He did not speak Arabic and was homeless in Iraq after his deportation. As Edward Bajoka, an immigration attorney and friend to Aldaoud’s family, wrote, “Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.”
- Radical Policy Changes: All of this is against a backdrop of a blizzard of radical policy moves – ripping nearly 1,000 kids from their families at the border after a federal judge ordered them to stop doing so; putting kids and adults in cages and subjecting them to detention in inhumane and horrid conditions; forcing nearly 20,000 asylum-seekers to remain in dangerous conditions in northern Mexico in hopes they’ll give up their legal claims to asylum; deporting victims of crime who assist law enforcement; starting fast-track deportations all over the country; threatening raids in major cities to terrorize the immigrant community; dramatically increasing the denial of visas based on harsh subjective judgments about earning potential; and so many more measures championed by Trump and his hatchetman Stephen Miller.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
We are at a moment of moral reckoning. A nation founded on the idea of equality is led by a President and a political party uninterested in equality. While it’s true we as a nation have never fully lived up to the American creed of equality for all, it has been the North Star that guides the work of generations of true patriots. Now what? Will the President, his campaign, and his party decide that racism and xenophobia are monsters that need to be reined in rather than empowered? No. White nationalism is their campaign strategy.
Trump and Republicans are more interested in their power and their privilege than in our diverse country and our collective safety. They seem to accept that this may end up putting a target on the back of brown and black people. To this day, Trump’s campaign ads warn of an invasion at our border even though 22 innocent people were gunned down under that banner.
With fifteen months until Election Day, this is no time for wishful thinking or vacuous platitudes. There is no bottom with this gang. Until Trump and his enablers are stopped, it will only get worse. We can no longer count on our leaders to lead us. It’s up to us to rescue the American experiment from those who seem bent on destroying it.