It Has Happened Here: MAGA As America’s Fascism #KeepFamiliesTogether #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Fascism has come to America. There was a novel in the 1930s entitled, “It Can’t Happen Here.” It was about the rise of a fascist state in the America. Given the Right’s to the recent “Prosecution Initiative” it is clear that MAGA has is, in fact, America’s version of fascism.

As I understand it, fascism is, as a concept, rather nebulous. Each state where it takes hold puts it’s own spin on the concept while there are some general overlapping beliefs associated with them. But talking to people who are MAGAists or sympathetic to it’s aims has left me shaken.

These people are completely devoid of simple, basic human empathy. They are devoid of that deep, visceral kick in the gut you get when you hear a baby’s cries for its parents. When I talk to them about changing Trump’s policy, they are either so busy scoring political points or talking about the need to for immigration reform, that they completely refuse to simply say, “This is enough. Change the policy back to what it was before April 2018.”

They simply can’t, or won’t, do it.

In all honesty, there’s no difference between that and being in Germany in 1939 debating with a Good German the need to finally solve the “Jewish Problem.” The difference — at least for now — is only a matter of degree. With the recent reports that Trump wants to place as many as 20,000 unattended minors on American M=military bases across the country. One you establish a system that can do that, it’s extremely difficult not to assume that such a system of mass detainment couldn’t be used for other “undesirables.”

MAGAist collaborators I’ve spoken to tell me I’m “grasping at straws” to suggest such a thing. But am I? Once you make the cognitive leap to ignore the cries of a child simply because of their lack of documentation or skin tone and lack of documentation, the pot is officially boiling. We’ve officially reached the point where we’re in a fascist state. As I keep sayings, what’s to stop MAGAists at the behest of Der Fuhrer to demand the mentally ill join undocumented people in the camps in an effort to address the gun issue once and for all. I’m not saying it’s going to happen over night and I’m not saying it won’t be difficult to implement.

But it’s officially within the realm of possibility, if nothing else. It’s not off the table.

The American Constitutional system has rotted to such an extent that literally the only thing standing between America and a Russian-style “managed democracy” is the pure, unadulterated rage of people who do, in fact, have common human compassion and empathy. People who don’t care about the finer points of immigration reform, or who quibble about the details of what’s going on at the border.

I mean, there are roughly 2,000 children missing within the system who we may never be able to be reunited with their families. But because the images aren’t there to help engage the American populace to rage against their plight, it appears as though this will fall into the typical partisan debate and nothing, really, will happen.

MAGAists simply lack basic human empathy and compassion. They are completely devoid of it. They just don’t care. And so, that, if noting else, is why MAGAists are modern day fascists. That’s what we’re up against. They completely control the government at this point for various reasons and there honestly isn’t anything we can do.

Things are going to get worse, much worse, before they get better and the only thing that may save us — and I hate to mention this at all — is simple civil disobedience. The pot is officially boiling and if we don’t hop out, if we don’t take a stand now, then the frog is cooked. I have suggested in the past that maybe someone might design an app to facilitate mass protests across the country.

Only through massive, regular protests across the country will there be anything close to an end to this. The electoral system is so completely broken that I just don’t see there being a “Blue Wave.” We have to see this as a marathon, not a sprint and we have to do some serious triage of the enormous number of problems the Trump Administration is throwing at us. I want to have hope, I really do. If I have hope, then I stay angry.

But honestly, I don’t have hope anymore. It’s just a matter of degree now. Either MAGAists push this as far as they can, or we come to some sort of stalemate. The decision, I guess, is ours at this point.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Power To The People: The Case For Radicalization To Defeat Stephen Miller’s Nazi Agenda

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Given that it seems Trump has chosen the issue of immigration as his political hill to die on — at least until he can come up with a bigger distraction — it may be time for The Resistance to advocate a lurch towards radicalization. What I mean by that is on an ideological level, The Resistance’s goals have been rather nebulous and it’s leadership lacking vision.

Maybe it’s time to change that.

The thing this draconian policy enacted by Jeff Sessions proves is Trump a modern day Emperor and his actions lay bare the rot at the center of the American Constitution. Growing numbers of people from a wide spectrum of political thought are protesting the obscene policy of ripping children away from their families, and, yet, Trump — who could with the wave of his hand could end it — is, instead, holding his ground.

It takes time for protests to be organized, I know, but this could be the final tipping point needed to get people in the streets in a big way. To get rid of Trump in any meaningful way, we would need regular, massive protests in cities across the country. The only way I can think of to facilitate that would some sort of app. An app that got like-minded people together and facilitated in a meaningful way organization that would lead to regular massive protests.

Now, of course, you could say you could easily do that using Twitter and Facebook. It’s been done before in other countries. But if you designed an app that from the moment you logged on directed you to other liked-minded people and help you use whatever skillset you might have for the cause, I think it would be effective. You could even throw in advertising and the Patron payment function into the app if need be.

Take me, for instance. I’m kind of broke right now, but I’m willing to protests immediately if given the opportunity. Using the app I suggest being invented, the moment I logged on, I would be able to find not only local protest organizers contact information, but ride-share information. The app might, as a value added function, give people easy directions as to how to register to vote.

It is apparent that at this point only a massive show of People Power is going to end this nightmare. If Trump wants a fight, maybe we should give it to him.

I Need Hope To Be Angry At This Point #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I need hope. It appears, at least right this second, that Trump and his fascist cronies have decided to wage a pitched battle on the issue of immigrant children being torn from their families on the American border. The system is such a rotting clusterfuck at this point that they feel their can stir up the base and ride that sentiment to electoral victory in the fall.

Now, we are fast approaching a tipping point in all of this where the battle lines will be clearly drawn and there’s no going back. We may, in fact, have already reached that moment. That the Trump Administration believes that they can leverage all of this to their advantage kind of drains me of any hope.

In a sense, you have to have hope to be angry and right now I have no hope. It definitely appears as though they’re going to win this one. That after a week or so of fury, they’ll concoct the latest outrage and we’ll move on to the next thing. By the time November rolls around, 30,000 children will be living on in tent cities across the country and we just won’t care.

If something happens to give me hope, I’ll go back to being furious about this. I guess what really has drained me the most of my hope and therefore anger is the reaction of the MAGA people I know on Facebook. They listen to the same ProPublica audio that I did where children are screaming for their parents and instead of being as reviled as I am, they simply shrug and say we need to “secure our borders.”

So I have no hope. I can’t be angry without hope. I need something dramatic to happen pretty quick to make this seem different than any of the other clusterfucks the Trump Administration has managed to cause only to survive. I just don’t understand how other human beings can honestly listen to children screaming for their parents and be completely devoid of common human compassion.

In Trump’s Fourth Reich, Silence Now Equals Collaboration #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now that the pot is boiling, now that we’re confronted with the decision of if we are willing to tolerate immigrant children being torn from their families, we have to face the cold hard fact that silence on MAGA no longer equals complicit approval, it equal active collaboration.

I say this only because as few notable people who have otherwise been complacent about MAGA abuses have begun to speak up about this latest outrage, that core 44% of the electorate continues to adore Trump often times is just silent when confronted. They simply refuse to answer any question, express any opinion.

To me, that goes beyond being simply complicit, that’s collaboration. You are actively doing something — you are actively saying that you refuse to go on the record with any opinion. Your desire to follow Trump with a cult-like fervor is equal to your unwillingness to agree that on this specific issue, at least, Trump is wrong. You are actively — through your silence — giving aid and comfort to a monster.

If that doesn’t make YOU a monster, I don’t what does. To say you “don’t really follow politics anymore” and then turn around and blindly vote for MAGA politicians is an answer if ever there was one. If you had a soul, if you had a conscience you wouldn’t see children torn away from their families as some sort of weird political pawn to get your damn wall. You’d see them for what they are: scared children.

Given how fickle Trump is, he could very well read the tea leaves and tweet out a change in policy today or this week. Or he could see that as a no win for him relative to his base. He might see this as a perfect opportunity to stand his ground and hope for this all to blow over. In real terms, he has until November to make a decision. As long as he changes the decision by, say, mid-October the political costs of changing a policy so popular with the base are simply too high.

Therefore, it’s very possible we’re in for a pitched battle. One one side, there will be Trump and MAGA using the Big Lie while throwing out any number of other distractions and on the other side, you have everyone else who either get mad and stay mad or finally capitulate.

All I can suggest is if someone you know and love who is a known Trump/MAGA person, when they give you silence, keep at it. Don’t accept their silence this time. Press them on what their opinion is. Get them on the record one way or another. This could very well be pretty painful for all involved.

But the greater good is involved here. If enough people make Trump/MAGA people have to not only defend their position but think carefully about why they believe what believe. I’m not saying it will make that much of a different to you personally, but on a macro level there’s a chance we might whittle down that 44% of the electorate a little bit.

This is serious. This is really serious. We need to start acting like it.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

The Pot Is Boiling. Now What. #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The long predicted moment of truth is now at hand. We’ve been outraged over this or that Trump policy over the last year or so, but this is it. If we can’t get Trump to end the brutal, obscene policy of tearing children from their families at the border, then all is lost.

The scary thing is, I honestly don’t know what the endgame of this one is. Even if we manage to stop this policy, it could be the Trump Administration testing the weaknesses of the existing American system of government. If it’s not this, it’ll be something else. But this is a pretty intense crisis. You can give us any number of different options about how to address this specific crisis, but something has to be done.

We are with a potentially dark and unknown endgame because MAGA people’s first reaction to explaining what’s going on is now a sense of compassion or even outrage. It’s the usual bullshit rhetorical shadowboxing at best and at worst complete silence. We’re fast approaching the moment when silence is your answer. If you’re so much of a proverbial Good German that when forced to make a simple ethical decision about the fate of children, for Christ’s sake, your first reaction is to defend Trump not show concern, then the United States as I’ve known it my entire life is in grave danger indeed.

In other words, the pot is now boiling. Traditional freedom-loving Americans are the frog and it’s boiling. Either we finally notice the heat surrounding us and jump out, or we don’t and we are done for. I wish I could give you some quick and easy fix on this matter, but given that this is a policy not a law, one that could easily be ended by Trump, there’s a real chance the bad guys will win this one and we’ll lurch towards an American “Fourth Reich” if you will.

Trumplandia is what I’ve been calling it, but Fourth Reich is a more accurate description of what’s going on. If Trump ignores — or worse attacks her on Twitter — Laura Bush after her admonishment in the Washington Post, there’s a good chance that given how fucked up the system is right now that this is the moment when the United States formally slips into a new era. If we can’t get Trump to finally, finally have some sense of shame on this matter and the entire system simply waits for us to grow tired of this outrage, then I don’t know what to say.

The next few days will be telling. If Trump hunkers down for a pitched battle on this issue out of personal pique then I honestly don’t know what is going to happen. He has so much power over the Republican Party at this point — and they effectively control the entire government — that in real terms there’s nothing that distinguishes him from dictator or at least an authoritarian ruler like Russia’s Putin.

If Trump wins, if he does manage to found Trumplandia or the Fourth Reich, or whatever you wish to call it, the next steps could be pretty historically startling. It wouldn’t take too much for Trump to pick up the notion of a new Constitutional Convention as a pet project. Under the guise of passing a balanced budget amendment, this new Constitutional Convention could pass something akin to the Nazis Enabling Acts.

Basic freedoms American have come to take for granted such as freedom of speech, will be thrown to the wayside in an unprecedented manner do to systemic apathy on the part of the American people, if nothing else. We’ll wake up and our worse nightmares of what life under Trump might be will be realized and it will be, very much, too late. This doesn’t even begin to address the long-term damage to civil liberties inflicted upon us in a more subtle manner by the numerous young, insanely conservative judges the Trump Administration is cramming on to the Federal bench. ‘

I wish I could tell you everything is going to be ok, that I’m just being a drama queen and things are going to snap back into place after Trump leaves office, for whatever reason. But I simply can’t give you those assurances. If we as the governed can’t summon up the energy to show our displeasure on this separation policy immediately not only has the pot begun to boil, we’ve resigned ourselves to our inevitable fate.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Trump’s Fourth Reich #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have no idea what it was like in the early days of Nazi Germany. I’ve read William L. Shirer’s seminal work The Rise & Fall Of The Third Reich and so I feel as I have some sense of how things began to change in Germany first slowly then eventually quickly. But from my conversations with MAGA people who remain my Facebook friends (for some strange reason) I’m growing ever more unnerved.

Their arguments defending Stephen Miller’s obscene, draconian border policy that tears children away from their families for no other reason than as a brutal form of deterrence are chilling, to say the least. They are, at least in my mind, indistinguishable from what a Good German may have said in the early days of the Third Reich as the Nazis were solidifying their grasp on power. The most chilling Trump supporter, at least for me, is not the conspicuous “deporable” who obviously is an ignorant numbnuts. It’s the smart ones, the educated ones who either shadowbox their defense of the indefensible or they even worse, they actually have some twisted internal logic to justify it all.

That shit is fucked up.

Add to this that the systemic Constitutional rot the United States is experiencing, with Congress no long acting as a check on the executive branch out of a callow, Vichy mentality and you have makes of a horrifying moment in my nation’s history. If we allow this separation policy to remain unchallenged, if we allow it to just become another aspect of white noise, then the jig it ups. The pot has officially begun to boil and the frog — us — is dead.

I say this because once you allow MAGA to shrug off tearing immigrant families apart because of their immigration status, the same logic can be used for anything. If you consider yourself a Christian, or at least a family oriented American and you don’t step up to the plate and challenge MAGA people on this policy, who’s to say you would really get all that upset if Trump in a few years proposed his own version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts.

This is our tipping point. This is it. If you have any doubts that Trump wants to establish a surreal, Americanized equivalent of a Fourth Reich (I call it Trumplandia, but still) they should be eliminated by what’s going on with children on the border. This is a power grab of unprecedented proportions that because of all the other fucked up shit that Trump has pulled over the last year or so, we don’t really have the proper context to judge.

Now, Trump’s version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts might come from an unexpected direction — a Constitutional Convention. We just the approval of a few state legislatures away from such an occurrence and do you really haven any doubt that Trump in his second term might not latch on to that idea as the ultimate way to make and keep America great? Trump is already doing everything in his power to undermine the foundations of the American Republic. Why not take it to the next level and remake the Constitution in his own image? He’s already cramming in as many young, insanely conservative judges as he can onto the Federal bench, so that would be the next logical step.

So, what I’m saying is it’s now or never. Either we stand and fight on this immigration policy or we have failed ourselves and the generations to come. Remember, Hitler was popular in Germany well into 1943. It wasn’t, really, until the Battle of Stalingrad that he began to suffer significant resentment in the fatherland. It’s not hard to imagine Trump in 2024 picking, say, actor James Woods to be his successor. Woods, as you may know, makes Trump look like a liberal and actually has something of a ideology.

Therefore, while we’re all making these comparisons between Trump and Hitler, because of Trump’s age and complete lack of an ideology, Trump may not be who we think he is. Trump could be simply the catalyst, the primordial ooze from whence the real danger is born. It could be that our American Hitler will be elected in 2024 and the rest, as they say, will be history.

But if you don’t want such a dark scenario to happen, then fight with all your might to stop Trump now while we can. Stop him when he’s still relatively weak. If enough people took a stand on this barbaric immigration policy now, then maybe we can, like the 300 of yore, at least buy some time for the democratic forces that we so love.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Triage In The Age Of Trumplandia

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The dark forces of the Trump Administration and its allies are attacking the American Republic from any number of different angles. In fact, they are so many things going on, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what’s important, what’s pressing and what can be put on the back burner. While not a comprehensive list, here is my humble attempt at some sort of triage on the pressing issues of the day. We’re going to go from the most urgent, to the less urgent.

Most Urgent
Ending Stephen Miller’s Border Policy
This is so urgent for a number of reasons. One, it’s a policy not a law. Two, it’s so inhumane, so obscene that if we let this one continue without taking concrete steps to end it, everything else will be for naught. I say this because of the human factor. Once you establish that this is a cruel policy not a law, and as such could be easily change by Trump, then it makes a lot of sense to focus on this immediately. So, if I was going to exert limited resources on how to combat MAGA, I would, for the moment at least, direct any outrage and attention-bringing ability I might have to bear on this specific issue.

If we turn up the pressure as far as it can go, then it’s possible that maybe Trump will sense that while it’s popular with the base, in the long run it will rile up everyone else enough that they might actually head to the polls in November. And we can’t have that, now can we?

Protecting The Mueller Investigation
This is urgent, but as of right now, not as on the front burner as it might otherwise be for no other reason than Trump knows if he messes with the Muller probe he is messing with an existential threat to his regime. A lot of people who otherwise tacitly give Trump a pass for all the other batshit insane things he does, would sit up and take notice if he fired Mueller or otherwise conspicuously hampered it in any meaningful manner.

Less Urgent, But Still Important
The 2018 Mid-Terms
I am not one to believe that we’re automatically in for a “Blue Wave.” In fact, I believe a more reasonable outcome is a few surprises here and there, but overall the Republicans keep both houses of Congress and Trump not only survives, but prospers. And what we really have to worry about long-term is who replaces him in 2024 and what his “legacy” will be. But if we could somehow actually flip Congress — especially the Senate — then we could stymie some of the more long-term consequences of the Trump clusterfuck. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up. As I mentioned, more likely is the Republicans’ majority in the House will be reduced dramatically, but not enough to end their majority altogether. Meanwhile, in the Senate, it will literally take a political miracle for that to flip.

Long Term Damage To Keep An Eye On
The Damage To The Liberal Order
What Trump is doing to the political order world-wide is something we really, really need to keep an eye on. The damage he’s inflicting on the established liberal order that has kept the world at relative peace for the last 75 years is enormous and wide-ranging. And, really, there’s little we can do about it in the near term. If we could flip one or both of the houses of Congress maybe, then, we could begin to address that. But again, as I said, that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be happening, at least this time around.

So, if I was figuring out where to use my resources in the seemingly never-ending war against Trumplandia, I would strike repeatedly at the most pressing issue of the moment, the cruel and unusual border policy. That is, at least in my opinion, something of a weak spot in the near term.

The Republic Is In A Crisis, Act Like It #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

If we as a nation have reached the point where we’re so divided, so suspicious of anyone who disagrees with us that when I describe to you the cruel and obscene Trump policy tearing families apart on the border you’re first reaction is to rhetorically bob and weave and deflect, then we’re in a crisis.

We’re at a crossroads. The pot is now, at last, finally boiling. If 44% of the electorate so frames political events relative to how they might affect the MAGA agenda and not how them might harm children of all things, then we’re lost as a nation. There is no excuse for bobbing and weaving, for political shadowboxing when the lives of children are at stake. But that seems to be where we are.

It’s chilling. It’s chilling that we’ve finally reached the type of historical turning point that one has only read about in the history books. Either we as a nation take a collective stand at this point and say no more, or it’s over. This is the darkest timeline and the bad guys have won.

The only thing I can propose is learn as much as you can about this issue and scream at the top of your lungs at anyone who will listen and when they shadowbox you, press them on cold hard facts. This is a Trump Administration policy, not a “Democratic law.” This could easily be changed by Trump if you had any empathy for anyone other than himself and his immediate family.

As I’ve written before, we need to get mad and stay mad on this one. We need to be prepared to take some heat. The entire American political system is so fucked up at this point that the MAGA people know on a guttural level that they have a decent expectation that they can, in fact, decide to die on this hill and actually survive. This policy plays well with the MAGA base who are scared of brown people and they see this in terms of an excellent deterrence, not the personal and moral gotterdammerung that people like me see it as.

MAGA people are quite fat and sassy at this point in the game. They’re getting everything they want policy-wise, including this, and they know that for various systemic reasons there’s a reasonable expectation that there won’t be any “Blue Wave” in November. And, really, I would so far as to suggest that if there is any hope of a Blue Wave in November, The Resistance will have to attack MAGA on this draconian border policy like a rabid dog. We have to hone in on the fact that the United States, regardless of its need to have viable borders, is also a nation of compassion.

We have to appeal to people’s basic sense of compassion. MAGA wants to frame the issue on ideological and general geopolitical terms, not simple humanity. They don’t want us to see these immigrants, many of them fleeing horrible violence in their homeland, as human beings. They’re to be seen as a statistic, a “problem” to be dealt with in general terms, the plight of the individual be damned.

America is better than this. I want to believe America is, in fact, different, and when the dark forces that have aligned against the nation from within and abroad finally believe they’ve mortally wounded us, we’ll fight back — and win. But remember, this is not Nazi Germany. Who’s going to overthrow the MAGA regime? The Dutch? The Canadians?

We have only ourselves at this point to save ourselves from ourselves. I want to believe we have it within us to do so. I really do. But things could go either way at this point. They really could.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Get Mad And Stay Mad About Stephen Miller’s Nazi Border Policy #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Little Hands & The Bear’

This is me trying to explain to a child what happened during the 2016 presidential election. I think I did a pretty good job.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Little Hands & The Bear’
by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Uncle Shelton and Midnight were fishing at a pond one day when Midnight found a odd bird drinking water. It was made of clay and was very mean to him. He grabbed the clay bird with his mouth and took it to Uncle Shelton.

“What’s this?” Midnight asked.

After a moment of looking at the clay bird, Uncle Shelton patted Midnight on the head and said, “Let me tell you a story…”

One upon a time, the forest creatures held their regular election to see who would be king of the forest. Usually, forest creatures picked between different eagles. Eagles had long been rulers of the forest and kept forest creatures safe and at peace. This time, however, was different.

A nasty, hateful orange troll called Little Hands wanted to control the forest and make all the forest creatures scared of the outside world. He claimed the only way to prevent Man from taking over the forest was to build a big, big wall around it. The forest creatures were not happy with the eagle they had to pick from this time — she was boring — so they were interested.

Little Hands was clever. He talked to the bear, who had long wanted to control the forest because he envied the eagle. Little Hands and the bear came up with a idea. “I have troll magic, let’s make fake birds to tweet and tweet about me to forest animals as they decide who will be the new ruler of the forest,” Little Hands told the bear.

The bear grunted and smiled.

“I know lots of mean things about the eagle that we can tell the fake birds to tweet,” the bear said.

Soon enough, forest creatures large and small didn’t know what to believe. They were scared and confused because of all of the tweets the fake birds were chirping about the eagle. In the end, Little Hands won.

Being mean, he slowly began to turn the forest into a dark and scary place. But the forest creatures were smart and strong and eventually overthrew Little Hands peacefully. How they did it, however, is best left to another story.

“But what happened,” Midnight asked. “How did they over throw the mean troll?

Uncle Shelton sighed deeply and petted Midnight’s head.

“It’s a very funny story, but we need to get back,” Uncle Shelton told Midnight. “It’s time for dinner!”

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.