How Civil Should We Be In The Face of Institutionalized Hatred?

The civility police have been hyperactive this weekend, monitoring and tut-tutting the response to Trump’s deplorable policy of family separation and other outrages. We are told that comparing actual fascist politics to Nazis is bad form (even though Mike Godwin of “Godwin’s Law” approves). Both David Axelrod and the Washington Post are clutching their pearls over Sarah Sanders’ being asked to leave a restaurant.

It’s very important to certain parts of the liberal intelligentsia that we treat Trumpists and their fellow travelers with kid gloves out of respect for “the norms,” or some other such Tip’n’Ronnie Sorkinist nostalgic daydreams.

Meanwhile, here’s what Trump actually did today:

President Trump asserted on Sunday that immigrants who crossed into the United States illegally should be sent back immediately without due process or an appearance before a judge, an escalation of his attacks on the judicial system.

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Mr. Trump tweeted while on the way to his golf course in Virginia. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

It was another twist in an already head-spinning series of developments on immigration after the president reversed a policy last week that had resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families.

The President of the United States, upset that his policy of ripping babies out of the arms of mothers seeking asylum was rejected, argued for extrajudicial deportations today. This is the same administration that has been dehumanizing immigrants, comparing children to gang members and insisting they will become future criminals, and seeking to denaturalize citizens by finding fault with their paperwork.

To paraphrase the old Holocaust era chestnut, first they came for the Muslim immigrants. Then they came for the Hispanic immigrants. Then they came for the children of the immigrants. Then they came for the naturalized citizens. Now the President wants to cleanse the country of non-white immigrants using extrajudicial means.

Just how far will this go until well-heeled tone police start to realize that resistance means, well, actually resisting rather that sighing loudly over brunch, typing a few words of disappointment onto social media, and then lecturing the young that they should vote in greater numbers?

Passion begets passion, enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, and the future belongs to those who do more than just talking about putting up a fight against authoritarian fascism. It belongs to those who actually do something about it.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.