The 1944 movie “Gaslight” featured a principled Scotland Yard detective (Joseph Cotten) who methodically figures out why an evil, schizoid husband (Charles Boyer) is driving his innocent wife (Ingrid Bergman) insane. For our purposes, Robert Mueller is Cotten, Donald Trump is Boyer and America, except Trump Kool-Aid drinkers, is Ingrid Bergman. (I wonder if Kool-Aid manufacturers thought when Jim Jones convinced 900+ followers to commit suicide, “Why couldn’t they have drank Gatorade?”)
This has been a thoroughly depressing and exhausting week. Actually, a thoroughly depressing and exhausting 511 days, two hours and eleven minutes. That leaves 2 years, seven months and seventeen hours until the end Trump’s first term. Assuming Boyer, I mean, Mueller, doesn’t drastically speed it up.
I’m of course referring to the last six weeks of hell of Trump’s “zero tolerance family separation” policy, which has been condemned world-wide. It only came to light via audio recordings of crying migrant children, toddlers and infants, forcibly separated from their parents. They were housed in detention centers, many being wire cages like kennels where they slept on the floor with Mylar blankets. (On a cold winter night don’t you love to snuggle up with your “plush” Mylar blanket?)
How has the family separation policy been described? Inhumane, cruel, sadistic, fascistic, sub-human and moronic. And these are some of the nicer adjectives. Frankly, I’m developing a zero tolerance for zero tolerance. What’s next for the Trump Administration? Adding to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. (Just leave the kids at home.)
Add incredible incompetence and you wind up with 3,000 children scattered in shelters all over the country but we don’t know exactly where, how or if they are going to be reunited with their moms and dads. Other than that, as Trump often says of his administration, “it’s running like a well-oiled machine.”
The pathological lies and the ghastly lack of empathy displayed have been hard to fathom and offended every living First Lady, including Melania. Laura Bush, in a Washington Post Op-Ed, said, “This policy is cruel. Immoral and it breaks my heart.” She added, “The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in US history.” (Unfortunately, Trump may be just getting started.)
One of the blatant liars is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson who said emphatically, “There is no policy of family separation. Period.” They pivoted to it was Congress’ fault and only they could fix it. Trump, typically blaming others, said it was the Democrats’ fault and also said he “didn’t have the power to issue an Executive Order.” That is until, the PR (17% approval) was so bad for even him. (Check out his weird, twisted signature on the Executive Order. I can’t tell if it’s a Rorschach test or a seismograph.)
Until Trump’s embarrassing back flip, just seeing the photos (the ones the government lets us see) and hearing the plaintive cries from the young children over and over put me in a state of grief. How did America become this?
They say never to compare anything to Hitler, but Trump uses some of the exact terms in describing immigrants as “animals” and that they will “infest” America. Hitler used those very words to describe Jews. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, points out “Hitler tried to keep the Jews from leaving the country.” (Good grief!)
In supporting the family separation policy Sessions quoted from the apostle Paul, apparently ignorant of the fact that same passage was frequently used to defend slavery. Bill Maher joked we ought to be more compassionate toward Sessions who never fully recovered from a childhood trauma, the Civil Rights Voting Act.
Some forget that the KKK was and still is, a Christian-based organization. Only since Trump they’ve been emboldened and don’t need the sheets anymore. Quoting Woody Allen, “If Jesus came back to earth and saw what was being said and done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”
The trauma these poor children have suffered has brought numerous newscasters to tears. (And this columnist.) Many psychiatric experts predict it will likely be with these kids for the rest of their lives. Others note somberly many will likely never see their parents again. (Trump held these children hostage to get his beloved border wall. #Evil.)
Former Trump campaign manager (the one not in jail) Corey Lewandowski, mocked the plight of a 10-year-old migrant girl with Down’s Syndrome separated from her parents. Meanwhile Trump has no plans to reunite the thousands of migrant children with their parents. (#Shame.)
Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for “Gaslight.” I’d settle to have a sane and compassionate America back.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and email@example.com