Published by Refuse Fascism and written by Lillian Forman
It’s time for Americans to realize that opposition to the Trump/Pence regime is not a matter of politics. It’s a matter of the survival of the human race — perhaps the survival of Earth and all it’s creatures. The most obvious reason for this is the present regime’s destructive policy toward the environment.
I’m a volunteer for Refuse Fascism, an organization of activists dedicated to peacefully removing Trump’s ruinous, fascist regime. When people to whom I’m offering flyers tell me that they love Trump, that, since his election, the economy has never been better, I point out that the improvement of the economy has, to a large extent, been accomplished by ravaging the environment and destroying our sources of clean air and water. Without a balanced ecosystem, nourishing plants will die and water will be poisoned. I tell them that they can’t eat, breathe, or drink money. Consider King Midas of the golden touch, I say. They simply smirk and pass me by. I can only surmise that they think I’m crazy not to realize we can survive any disaster as long as we have money. Those that can’t do without food, air or water are at fault for not working hard enough to ensure a safe and comfortable life. Somehow I can’t persuade these people to tell me how they can achieve a safe and comfortable life without a healthy environment.
I would be willing to let them go dancing down the primrose path to doom, if only they weren’t endangering the rest of the world. Our kids do not deserve to be dragged into annihilation by adults who revel in magical thinking, who believe that an approving God will rapt them and their bags of gold up into a cushy heaven. Many of these so-called adults have children of their own, or at least nieces and nephews. It horrifies me to think that they have no concern about or even sense of what the future will be like for the coming generations.
This indifference to the welfare of the next generation brings me to another kind of survival besides mere physical survival — the survival of empathy for creatures beside ourselves: for example, parental protectiveness. Some social scientists think that familial care is the source of humane behavior. These scientists point out that most animals protect the offspring to whom they have passed on their genes. This helps the members of many species to continue into the future. However that may be, life would lose much of its warmth and meaning if we didn’t feel a surge of tenderness when children nestle trustingly against us. Something is horribly wrong when people lose this sense of caring.
Child abusers, of course, are the worst examples of such people. They are monsters and criminals. And surely Donald Trump and his agents have abused the refugee children at the southern border of the U.S. by kidnapping them and imprisoning them in dirty, overcrowded cells, where some of them have contracted diseases and died. It is to their credit that some Americans are working to improve the conditions in which these kids are living and have signed petitions and donated money to get them released.
Still, why don’t these people attack the root of the problem as well? Why don’t they go out on the streets and demand that Trump, Pence, and the other fascists be driven out of the government? When people protest the mistreatment of these kids and their families, the fascist powers assure us that they intend at some point to reunite kids and parents. But they continue their crimes.
New prison-like detention centers are being built for both adult refugees and their young; more kids are torn from their families and scattered throughout the United States. News items in the New York Times continue to quote the children’s complaints that they are being sexually abused by some of the people that run the camps. Recent photos show adolescent girls bleeding through their clothing because the people that run the camps have denied them sanitary napkins. Newspapers report other horrors — adults and children are refused not only vaccines that could prevent influenza and other infections that run rampant in crowded, unsanitary conditions, they are denied medications that their own doctors have prescribed for them. There are reports that Trump’s minions carry out more intimate forms of cruelty — they mock their prisoners, refuse to let visitors comfort them or provide them with goods of any kind, and, as mentioned above, there are reports that they abuse the children sexually.
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As I have said, many good people have spent money, energy and time to make the incarceration of these kids more bearable. However comfortable, incarceration is itself mistreatment. Especially if the parents are prevented from giving the kids the support they instinctively expect. They have endured desert heat, thirst and hunger because their mothers and/or fathers have promised them a safer, freer life in North America. When (through no fault of their parents) this promise has been broken, when their parents are no longer physically present or have been rendered incapable of shielding them from harm, these kids, (especially the very young ones) are emotionally damaged. We cannot expect that they will continue to rely on their parents’ love. They may even be permanently angry with their parents and, by extension, the world. Then Trump can point to Latinos, when some of them as adolescents break the law or show no sense of responsibility, and gloat that he was right; the brown-skinned races are criminals and less than human.
Many parents are obsessed with the safety and success of their own children. This is understandable especially in people who are clinging to the edge of the middle class. They feel totally justified in spending their limited time and money on the health and education of their own offspring. They feel that they can’t sacrifice them for the sake of foreign kids who might use up resources that belong to American citizens. But Trump will not use America’s resources to give parents the freedom to instill their own kids with humane values. He has installed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. DeVos is not only poorly qualified to run public education, she is not interested in doing so. Her goal is to privatize American schools and impose a curriculum that will replace scientific explanations for the evolution of Earth with Biblical myths. She, like Vice President Pence, will treat the Bible as literal truth and hold up the Old Testament as a proper source for our morality and laws.
Of course, Trump’s and Pence’s plans for America include many more disturbing features. I have dwelt on Trump’s cruelty toward migrant families because it so clearly shows his determination to create a world that mirrors and justifies his own vicious and self absorbed personality. I think of Trump’s supporters as his “Mini Me’s.” In order to survive Trump’s administration, even those of us that hate Trump may also have to act as his Mini Me’s. And actions make the person. We might be alive but will no longer survive as true human beings.
I see more and more homeless people in the streets and subways here in New York City since Trump has become president. I expect to see more as Trump implements his new policy of denying food stamps to able-bodied, childless people who don’t work twenty hours a week. Many cannot — not because they’re lazy but because full time jobs are scarce and because many people can only get seasonal work. Will the increase of beggars become a new normal for me and other Americans? Will I learn to step over corpses and complain only that the city should keep its streets cleaner?
To prevent this, I intend to continue my commitment to Refuse Fascism. I need to be reminded again and again not to become so concerned with my own wellbeing that I become indifferent to the suffering of others. I need to get out on the streets to demand the end of the current regime that is rapidly consolidating to fascism. I hope everyone that finds fascism abhorrent will join Refuse Fascism and attend the next Trump/Pence #OUTNOW! protest. Join us, feel the exhilaration of people power, and together we can make January a month of growing resistance to defeat fascism and win back our humanity.