The United States just withdrew itself from the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Trump claims the organization is biased and that the move has nothing at all to do with the smackdown he received about his latest immigration policy. I think deep down his issue with the HRC is that Hillary Rodham Clinton has those same letters monogrammed on her bath towels. He’s petty like that.
Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told the world the decision was made “because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”
I thought that was an odd choice of phrase, given that our own hypocritical and self-serving administration has become a master of mocking human rights, separating (as of this writing) more than 2,300 children from their parents as they sought legal asylum in the United States.
Children who are being kept within caged walls. Children who are sleeping under tinfoil fucking blankets on the motherfucking floor. (Don’t freak out or anything. It’s not all bad… some of them have super-comfy gym mats to lay on.) Children who are terrified and alone and have no idea when (or if) their parents will be able to return to them.
Even Ted Cruz, that delightful republican munchkin, planned to introduce a bill that would allow families to be housed together in temporary shelters until their shit is sorted out. When Ted Cruz disagrees with this administration, warning bells and hazard lights should be going off everywhere, signaling that something is really wrong with the state of things.
Like magic, Trump suddenly came to his senses and signed an order to stop his rancid policy. A flaming orange superhero in an expensive suit, swooping in to save the day. Demonstrating that only he can make things all better and after witnessing the horrors he’s capable of inflicting on a whim, we should give thanks to our magnanimous leader for choosing to be merciful. I’m sure he’ll expect a parade after this.
America was supposed to be a country that led by example. The truth is, we haven’t been a good example for quite some time. I have long thought that America would only emerge as the great nation it could be if it ditched political parties altogether. Sort of like a butterfly. Right now, it’s a wretched, festering cocoon of anger, hatred and intransigence. If you ask me, at this point, the two opposing sides are never going to get along. They just won’t. The polarization has become too vast.
America’s political parties are a lot like sports teams. No matter how bad they’re doing or what terrible things the individual teammates are involved in, the fans turn a blind eye, dig in their heels and support the team with even stronger vehemence. Because that’s their team and dammit, they gotta stay loyal.
(I’m a Browns fan. I totally get it.)
If our modern political climate is anything to go by, partisanship is the true enemy of democracy. This isn’t “fake news” or a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory. In his own farewell address, given in 1796, George “Founding Father Of The United States” Washington expressed his concern that political parties could one day give rise to “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” who would overthrow the country’s democracy. He acknowledged the tendency for political parties to become power-hungry while seeking (and taking revenge) on their opponents.
More than 200 years ago, Washington recognized the danger of partisanship. And look where it’s gotten us.
America needs to shift its loyalties back to ideals, not to the people who represent one party or another. We also need to take a good, hard look at the principles this country was founded upon. Religious freedom. Equality. Liberty. Due process of law.
There was never any law that demanded children be ripped from their families upon entrance to this country. Those seeking asylum, which is a 100% legal form of immigration, would not risk doing so if they had any other choice. For them, fleeing to America is a matter of survival.
Walk, for just a moment, in the road-weary shoes of a parent whose family seeks asylum in the United States. Imagine that the risk of being detained and separated from your family at the border is a safer alternative than remaining in your home country. Because that’s how bad things are. Because that’s how hopeless things are.
America was built on the backs of immigrants (after forcibly taking it from the native people who inhabited the land already, but nobody’s perfect). The Statue of Liberty, that jolly green beacon of hope to so many – including my own ancestors – declares:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The porch light is off. The door is bolted tightly. And somewhere, right now, a divided family weeps as it waits to be reunited.
When that moment finally arrives, at least they’ll be caged together.