I am not going to be so sanguine as to suggest the Stephen Miller policy on the border in regard to immigrants will, in real terms, do anything to slice the festering boil that is the Trump Administration. The country is too divided and negative polarization on the Right is way, way, way too potent a force for that to happen. I will note, however, that Trump and his fellow would-be Nazis have kind of painted themselves into a corner.
This is because the more you know the fact of what’s going on, the more difficult it is to wave your hand and tell people like me to “enjoy the humming economy” and “get laid.” There’s a real humanitarian and ethical crisis taking place on the border and the question is, are we willing to do something about it in real terms, or is this just another frightening example of how the United States is lurching towards a not-so-quasi authoritarian state.
There is, at least, as small possibility that we’re headed for an enormous confrontation about the future of our nation on a historic scale. Now Trump is extremely fickle and given how easy it is for him to relieve any pressure on his administration by simply revoking the policy this could be a non-issue. And Trump is so completely devoid of shame that he could very easily wake up one morning, watch Morning Joe, and tweet out some bizarre rationale for ending the policy that blames the Democrats with maximum pandering to his base.
And, yet, there is also a chance that this policy plays so well to the base and Trump is so completely devoid of empathy that he’ll dig in for the long haul. He’ll pick this, of all things, as his hill to die on. If that happens, one of two things will happen. Either his typical, “Look! A squirrel!” approach to governance will succeed, or it won’t. If it does work, then the pot is officially boiling and we’re fucked. If it doesn’t, however, Trump is playing with fire. The fact that some religious leaders have begun to speak out about this policy — despite how Trump, personally, is ensuring the Rapture happens sooner rather than later — indicates there is a least a small possibility the Trump Administration, may, for once, get burned.
Unfortunately, it will take time for the burning to happen. We may be in a political siege of sorts as the two sides wage a slow-motion war as we simply hunker down and wait for the 2018 mid-term elections to roll around. I am very doubtful at this point that there will be a “Blue Wave.” I think while the Republicans may take surprising losses, they will maintain both houses of Congress and Trump will not only survive, but prosper. The economy is doing too well and The Resistance, at least right now, too nebulous and lacking leadership for anything of any substance to happen. And, yet, if we get mad and stay mad about this most basic of issues — the right of parents to stay with their children, regardless of the reason, we might have a small chance.
Too many MAGA people have too much invested in its continued success to even give a little ground on humanitarian grounds to the libtards they are so determined to “own.” In my own dealings with MAGA people on this subject, they either deflect or rhetorically bob and weave to such an extent that conversation with them is pointless. There are also some MAGA sympathizers who take a macro approach and say the United States needs better control over its borders and let the chips fall where they may. That neither one of these groups can’t show some compassion on the face of it once you describe to them what’s going on with this policy is pretty frightening.
What’s so disturbing to me is how MAGA people conflate the issue. They talk about how we need to enforce laws and how this happened under Obama and then they walk off and enjoy the humming economy, go to church and raise their kids. But as I mentioned, this isn’t a law, this is a policy enacted at the behest of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s demented mind. It’s a matter of policy, not law that this is happening and if we hone in on this point and use it as a rhetorical bludgeon on anyone who will listen, then maybe, just maybe something of note will happen.
The Big Lie only works so much. If every time a Trump supporter regurgitates a Big Lie talking point you flatly and politely tell them the facts of the matter and point out how devoid of compassion they are on a personal level, there’s a chance eventually they’ll feel the heat enough that Trump may feel obliged to do the right thing for a change and revoke the policy.
But Trump wants his “big beautiful wall” so bad and the base loves this concept as a form of deterrence so much that we’re in for a historic game of political chicken. It all will come down to the mid-terms. That’s it. The fate of the Republic could hinge on flipping Congress and finally putting a check on Trumplandia. I’m very doubtful this will happen, however. I just think there’s too much dark money being throw at the problem by the Right, not to mention the very real possibility of new, improved interference on the part of the Russians.
So, if you love America, if you love that idea of it being a “city on the hill,” our best hope is that you get angry and stay angry about what’s going on at the border. Take a stand. Be willing to lose Facebook friends over it. Hell, be willing to lose REAL friends over it. If Trump wants to play chicken, let’s play chicken. Just be prepared to hit their car if they don’t blink and swerve away.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. he may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.