It’s been a few weeks since I last inducted someone to the Asshole Hall of Fame (hey Jeff Bezos, you just got what you wanted — no responsibility for the impact your company has on the city of Seattle! You continue to be an asshole!). So far, none of the assholes have redeemed themselves (in fact, our first inductee, Elon Musk, continues to up his asshole game), and I fear that today’s inductees will be no different.
I give you Asshole Hall of Fame members 56 and 57: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the people of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Let’s start with human Keebler Elf Jeff Sessions. He has been an asshole since well before I was born. If you’re not familiar with US politics, he’s a former US senator who, when nominated to this role by President* Trump, faced some opposition from his fellow senators. In fact, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren attempted to read into the record a letter from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, Coretta Scott King, that detailed why Mr. Sessions was completely ill-suited for a federal judgeship because he’s SUPER RACIST, Sen. Warren was kicked out of the Senate chambers. That’s where the whole “Nevertheless, she persisted” thing came from.
You can read in more detail just how much of a shitty human being he is here (thanks GLAAD!).
You might be asking why, then, am I inducting him now? Well, because this human garbage pile has been instituting new US immigration policies that seem better suited to early 1940s Germany than any society that values all human lives.
Immigration may be a challenging issue, but I’d argue that the US is trying to make it infinitely more complicated than it needs to be. This isn’t a site for deep policy analysis, however (although a girl can dream), so instead of offering up my own thoughts on every possible option, I’m just going to point out that separating children from their parents at the border is morally reprehensible and something only an asshole would order (or do, which we’ll get to with ICE agents in a moment). As is suggesting that fleeing domestic and gang violence should not be a reason to be eligible for asylum.
The only way to request asylum is from within the country you hope to resettle in. The people fleeing dangerous homelands and potentially deadly circumstances are asking for help, and the US is not just shutting its doors, but yanking children through them first and then throwing the kids into, among other places, a refurbished Walmart. It’s depressing, but re-purposing a corporate building to detain brown children is a pretty perfect portrait of the USA right now.
Republicans (e.g. President* Trump) have argued this separation is based on policies instituted by President Obama, but that’s utter bullshit. The reality is that Jeff Sessions only views straight white men (and the occasional fetus) as human; our friends trying to get here from south of the border mean nothing to him. He doesn’t care about the children he’s harming, the families he’s destroying, or the people his policies might ultimately sentence to death.
Sessions’s latest attempt to legitimize his cruel policy is to refer to a quote from the Bible about obeying the law. Leaving aside the complete inappropriateness of using the Bible to justify US law, that idea in general fails to recognize one pretty obvious reality: laws canbe immoral. Also, I feel like others have used the Bible to justify some pretty shitty stuff.
Jeff Sessions a national embarrassment and should be utterly ashamed of himself. He’s a racist, a bigot, and of course, an asshole.
Also assholes? The people who are continuing to implement these immoral policies, i.e., the men and women of ICE. I know that it is easy for me to suggest that people who might need the salary from their job to survive should quit. But frankly, I believe the entire organization (created after 9/11, when the US made loads of ill-conceived policy decisions) is morally bankrupt and needs to be retired. The individuals implementing these orders are complicit in inflicting unimaginable pain and grief of those who are already suffering immensely.
I just finished reading “Lilac Girls,” and was struck by this passage:
Mr.s Mikelsky held Jagoda [her baby girl] tight.
“Give it to me,” the prisoner-guard said.
Mrs. Mikelsky only held tighter.
“She’s a good baby,” I said to the guard.
The guard pulled harder at the child. Would they tear her in two?
“It can’t be helped,” the guard said. “Don’t make a scene.”
“Just take it,” Binz said with a save of her crop.
The guard who had come with Binz held Mrs. Mikelsky from behind while the first guard pried Jagoda from her mother’s arms.”
The guard hiked the baby higher on her shoulder and walked back through the incoming crowd.
Mrs. Mikelsky crumbled to the floor like a burning piece of paper as she watched her baby be taken away.”
That’s from a scene that takes place at a concentration camp. And it’s now happening at the US border. It’s a bit of a cliche to refer to people with whom one disagrees as Nazis, but the actions speak for themselves. People who have done nothing wrong (they followed the rules to seek asylum) are having their children taken from them. The people who are doing the taking should be ashamed.
They, too, are assholes.