Dammit, Here We Are Again: Baby Prisons, Nazis, and How You Can Help

I swore not to get political on this blog anymore, but damn, that’s impossible right now. Not when the U.S. government is incarcerating babies whose parents are legally seeking asylum, and the ACLU has to sue it. Not when white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers are running things and spineless greed monsters are enabling them.

Marko is correct. A thinking, feeling human will have thoughts on this. And since art is a reflection of life and culture, and culture includes politics, guess what? You’re going to see and hear a lot of artists (many of whom are U.S. citizens, just like you) expressing their opinions. Buckle up, buttercup.

Now you might say we’re being alarmist and making too big a deal, especially when comparing the Trump administration to the Third Reich. But if you paid attention in history class, or read The Diary of Anne Frank, you might recall that death camps were not the beginning of the Holocaust. They came at the end.

First, stuff like this happened:

Jews were blamed for economic problems (sound familiar?). Basic rights and privileges were taken away from them — they had to wear a star identifying them, they had curfews, their property was confiscated, etc. They were referred to as animals, poisonous mushrooms, etc. in attempts to dehumanize them. Trump uses the same language when he says immigrants “infest” the U.S. The inference is that they’re less than human, i.e. pests, like bugs. Dehumanization allows people to do horrible things to other people, because they stop thinking of them as people.

I guarantee you know someone who thinks this way. Maybe they’re sitting next to you right now.

When detaining and deporting people singularly proved inefficient, the Third Reich stepped up its campaign. We all know what happened then.

Image: Wikipedia

And by this time, anyone who objected also became a target.

We have Holocaust survivors warning us of the parallels. Personally, I think Trump doesn’t have enough understanding of politics to become another Hitler. He does admire dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, whose oppressive tactics echo those of the Third Reich, mostly because they have stuff he wants — adulation (even if forced), control, and an unrestrained ability to do whatever they like. It’s all about him, so appealing to his humanity is useless, because he cares for nobody but himself. He may not be an actual neo-Nazi, but he’s surrounded himself with people who embrace the ideology.

This morning, I went on Twitter and saw this tweet:

I got the same warning last night from a fellow writer. My dude, I am probably already on a list because I wrote a book about bank robbery. And talked to the FBI about it. And researched explosives for it.

I would never rob a bank, nor do I want to harm anyone. But I might bring about the downfall of Nazis and white supremacists. And you should too. We should all be screaming about this, because dictators do not stop persecuting people when they reach the edges of citizenry.

As for baby internment camps, they’re a thing now. Not newly fledged internment camps, mind you; detention facilities for actual babies. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Well, fuck.

Image:  David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s well known that detaining and institutionalizing children has lasting effects on their physical and mental health. That’s why we don’t have orphanages anymore. This situation poses serious dangers to them, according to doctors.

It’s important to know that this is NOT a law, and it was NOT put into place by Democrats. This is a Trump administration policy, gleefully announced by known racist and Keebler elf lookalike Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ church has actually filed child abuse sanctions against him. They might throw him out. Good.

Things you can do to help the children and their parents:

Donate

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is raising funds to help bail out ICE detainees so they can reclaim their children. Their website is experiencing huge amounts of traffic right now, but they’ve posted links where you can donate.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is involved in multiple legal proceedings to protect the rights of citizens and immigrants. You can also sign their petition at their website.

Contact your reps in Congress

Resistbot
Text RESIST to 50409 and you’ll get a text message with your representatives’ contact information, which you can use to auto-dial them. I’ve done this; it’s convenient and safe.

If you’re unsure what to say, go to 5calls.org, where you can find multiple issues and scripts for each, as well as contact info.

Register to vote

Check your registration at vote.gov. Primaries have already begun. Be sure to research candidates before casting a ballot, but right now, people are being urged to vote Dem as often as they can, to bring some balance back into Congress.

Some states have voter ID laws; if you know anyone who needs an ID, it would be great if you helped them get one. Voteriders.org has tips on how you can assist.

Vote in local and state elections, too

Checks on Trump’s edicts are happening at state levels. Governors are pulling National Guard units from borders in defiance of the separation policy. City governments have refused to end sanctuary policies. State attorney generals, too, are a bastion against Trumpian policies.

You can find election schedules by state at this link.

EXERCISE YOUR VOTE! It does count, and in some states, such as Ohio, GOP legislators have been allowed to institute purges of voter rolls for those who miss elections. The Supreme Court, stacked in favor of the GOP, disgustingly upheld it.

Volunteer to give people rides to the polls. Some folks may not have one; some might be more inclined to vote if they don’t have to drive and park.

Protest

Yes, protests work — they bring attention to causes and they show lawmakers that citizens are serious about issues and problems. MoveOn.org has a big one around ending family separation planned for June 30. Look for local groups on Facebook and other social media. Follow the rules; some cities don’t allow signs with wood sticks attached them.

Protest lawfully. We have a constitutional right to peaceful assembly. It’s not time for civil disobedience yet. If you’re new to it, you can find tips here and here.

When Trump came to my city last year, I took part in my first organized protest. I found exercising my rights an exhilarating and empowering experience. It’s not for everyone, however. If you can’t or don’t want to do it, you can share information with others.

———–

No matter what you do to resist, take time for self-care. Living in the U.S. right now is goddamn exhausting. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, and engage in meditation or other calming activities to reduce your stress levels. Mindful pauses work great if you’re at work or otherwise engaged when anxiety strikes. Take occasional breaks from social media. The outrage is real, and it’s easy to get caught up in it.

And remember to care for others. This post at everydayfeminism.com gives great tips on how intersectionality can help you and others avoid activist burnout. People who are directly affected by issues often bear the burden of advocating and educating. Ask them what you can do to help.

Remember your kids. They are hearing and seeing things that may scare them. Take the moments when they express fear to gently explain and reassure them. You can find tips on how to do this here.

Encourage teenagers to join organizations working for change if they want to (don’t force them). Teens make great activists; they’re creative, they have a lot of energy, and they’re aware that tough issues affect their futures.They don’t have to be directly affected by something to care or participate.

Emma Gonzalez and her classmates who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting advocate for sensible gun control measures to prevent future tragedies.

Image credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images/billboard.com

Above all, remember that decent people outnumber the bad ones. We can do this.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Fred Rogers

 

 

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