Fine, Republicans. Blame Democrats for the Trump Family Migration Policy. Just Do Something About It.

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Thanks, Obama.

Thanks for somehow, along with fellow former President Clinton, managing to cause the current Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and President of the United States to implement a horrific policy of punishing parents seeking asylum in the United States by ripping their children from their arms.

Thanks, Obama, for much like your birth certificate in Hawaii was clearly the product of chronological tampering, traveling on an alternate timeline that allows you to be responsible for policies that have taken place after your Presidency ended.

Thanks, Obama for inventing facilities with names like “tender care centers” for infant jails that would have embarrassed Southern eugenicists.

Thanks, Obama, for being responsible for every terrible decision that the current President makes, even though when he’s not denying them, he’s boasting about having decided them.

Thanks for being an excuse Republicans use for every evil they enact, every crime they commit, and every immoral move they make.

It’s time for people who care about the human rights of parents and children to acknowledge the evident truth emanating from countless Fox News hosts and guests, from endless, stringently researched memes, and from the podiums of the White House: you are the reason the United States is enforcing this barbaric policy that echoes some of the worst abuses of our history. It’s time for progressives “infected with the mental illness of liberalism” to just own up to this counter-factual narrative and blame Democrats from the past twenty years for policies of today.

I would be willing to do it. I’d be willing to lie, loudly and repeatedly (much like Sarah Huckabee Sanders) if that would suffice to get Republicans to act on the pro-life principles they so often articulate but so rarely live. If blaming Obama would give the craven enablers of the Trump regime sufficient political cover to act in the defense of human dignity, I’m willing to start a national campaign to blame the former President.

But we all know that’s not what’s happening here. As they so often have, the Trump Administration and the hate wing of the Republican Party are using the spectres of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to deflect attention from the only discussion we should be having now: should the United States of America, a nation largely comprised of immigrants, really be imprisoning children to punish parents for misdemeanor offenses? Should babies be ripped from their mothers’ arms? Should a 10-month old infant child with Down Syndrome be taken from her mother and sent to a detention facility?

That’s the debate. And that is the debate enablers of President Trump don’t want us to have. Like Greg Gianforte and Steve Daines, who wear their version of Christianity on their sleeves but ignore its clear directives about compassion, love, and respect for migrants and children, they want to mumble pious irrelevancies about opposing the policy while refusing to act. They want us to ignore that, despite Christ’s clear teachings, evangelical Christians are the Americans most in favor of the detention of children in tent cities and abandoned Wal-Marts.

They want us to ignore that Republicans control the Presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court and could end this policy immediately. They want us to divide ourselves and fight endless partisan battles, knowing that a large enough number of Americans will believe anything terrible that is said about a Democrat because they’ve been fed a steady diet of hatred and misinformation for generations from the bile of right-wing radio to the light fascism of Fox News to the sea of lies that makes up the right-wing world online.

Many of the Republicans who swarmed to power in the last generation are terrified of this anti-democratic mob who cheer the mad King louder the more insane his actions are. They’re not filled with much actual compassion themselves, but they used to at least respect the idea of the rule of law and even perhaps the notion that facts should govern policy. Before he was elected, they questioned Trump’s judgment, his intellect, his virtue, and his capacity to lead, but now, terrified by the very mob that they created and fearful that Trump will turn it against them, they acquiesce at every turn while our moral stature in the world diminishes and our admittedly flawed march towards human rights for all stalls and begins to reverse course.

We’re not going to persuade these cowards with letters and calls. Faced with huge public resistance, they passed a tax cut knowing it would explode the deficit. Confronted with public outcry, they’ve voted repeatedly to confirm the worst Cabinet since the Harding Administration. Even if they wanted to listen, even if they wanted to treat migrant children like human beings, they’re too afraid of the mob that thinks a meme generated in St. Petersburg is irrefutable evidence in a debate and that thinks it’s a reasonable application of the idea of a “devil’s advocate” to quibble about who is to blame for a policy the Trump Administration announced it was enacting.

I don’t care if Republicans need to blame Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or John Quincy Adams to make them act. If saving these families demands the construction of a Kim Jong Un-style statue of Donald Trump at the Mexican border to appease Fox News, I’m willing to accept it. But it’s time for Republicans like Steve Daines, Greg Gianforte, and Matt Rosendale to fight for the lives of these human beings, these families, and the values we aspire to, no matter what lies they have to peddle to their most extremist followers to get it done.

So blame anyone you want, Congressman Gianforte, Senator Daines. Just act. Sign on to legislation today to end this barbarism and live up to the values you profess to hold no matter the lie you have to tell to get it done.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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