So I said to myself after the last book came out, “Dude, you should do a blog post about your thoughts on the new book and the new direction for Tanner’s life.” I’ve had that in mind for a while now. As I’ve said before, though, part of the reason I don’t blog much is because I feel like it’s more important to spend my time on writing the books rather than, say, writing about the books, or promoting them, or whatever. The blogging is important, too. A rule of being a writer is “always be promoting,” and part of that is staying connected with readers. So I’ve been meaning to do this in the limited amount of time I devote to blogging.
But some things are more important. Recently, the White House instituted a “zero tolerance policy” at the border which has authorities literally arresting asylum seekers and separating families for an extended period. Parents have been deported without their kids. Some kids have just gone missing altogether.
If you can’t wrap your head around this, if you find yourself rejecting the whole notion because Democrats or because the liberal media or because “we would never do that,” I have a lot of awful things to tell you about American history. If you have a hard time believing it’s happening because of the responses the administration has made about this issue, you might consider the spread of those responses:
Trump has said it’s because of a law Democrats passed, which is a flat lie. There is no such law.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s the Christian thing to do to follow the law. This is a lie, because there is no such law compelling anyone to do this. It also calls her idea of Christianity into question and, oh yeah, we’re not a theocracy. Jeff Sessions hides behind Romans 13, which is where governments consistently go when they want to defend an atrocity (this happened over slavery, too)—and, again, we’re not a theocracy. And then, last night on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this isn’t happening at all and there is no such policy.
So we’ve gone from “we have to do it” to “the Bible says we have to do it” to “we’re not doing it.” Somehow, none of this is convincing—particularly against the mountain of evidence from journalists and Congressional representatives who have visited the detention centers.
Additionally: if your response to this is “don’t cross the border illegally,” again: seeking asylum is not illegal; this is a thing civilized countries allow, coming from simple humanity and empathy. The administration’s current practices are wildly cruel measures that inflict lasting harm to no good end. If your response to all this is “how do we know these children really belong to the people claiming to be their parents?” you might want to ask yourself how often you’ve ever asked this in any situation ever, and why you’re suddenly so doubtful here. (Spoiler alert: it’s called racism.)
You might also note how members of the administration are openly telling its supporters to reject what the media is telling them. So we have widespread media coverage of a cruel and damaging government practice, with everything from witness statements to records to video, against a government saying, “Shut up, this isn’t happening.” Ask yourself how many times in history this sort of thing has played out to show the government was in the right. Nothing good ever comes from a government telling its people to ignore its media. That’s how you get fascism.
And finally, if you’re really that hung up on blaming Democrats, you might consider that the Republican Party currently holds majorities in both houses of Congress and the White House along with a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. If Republicans wanted to change this shit, they could do so overnight. Democrats aren’t shouting about this because they want it to continue.
As a note: before anyone comments with something along the lines of how I should stay out of politics and stick to writing books, I’ll note that we’ve been around that subject before. Oh, and the government is currently separating families who come to us looking for asylum and keeping their children imprisoned. I’ve taught in juvenile detention—literal jail, folks. I know what I’m seeing. So at this point, if you’re about to tell me to stay out of politics, I can give you my response to that right now:
For ways to help, Slate has put together a list of groups to support here.
And please, call or write to your representatives in Congress. Especially if they’re Republicans. Tell them to stop this. Now.