Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez touched off a bit of a political firestorm when she described the Trump administration’s internment camps for immigrants along the southern border as “concentration camps.” While we can have a full-throated debate about what is and isn’t a concentration camp, the fact that we’re having the conversation at all is… problematic.
People in 2016: Trump is going to put people in concentration camps.— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) June 20, 2019
Media: That's absolutely preposterous.
People in 2019: These are concentration camps.
Media: Are they, technically, "concentration camps" though?
Regardless of what the talking heads on the news say, how the dictionary defines the phrase “concentration camps,” or the way in which the White House defends the horrific conditions in which children and other migrants are being held, the reality is that the Trump administration is directly implicated a human rights disaster of its own creation.
I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 19, 2019
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you feel pretty powerless in the face of such deliberate cruelty. After all, the Presidential election isn’t until next year, the House doesn’t look terribly interested in impeachment, and the Senate has become a cartoonish metaphor for fecklessness and corruption.
Dear America: You are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches.— Werner Twertzog (@WernerTwertzog) August 23, 2017
But there is at least a sliver of good news. Today marks the moment in which the primary season begins in earnest and while the President may be credibly accused of rape, likely engaged in money laundering, and is almost certainly guilty of obstruction of justice, the ongoing, mounting horrors at the border differ from all of these because they’re a policy issue.
Every week, a new record:— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) June 26, 2019
ICE is detaining 54,082 migrants across the country, a jump of about 500 detainees from the previous week.
Since late last year, ICE has detained nearly 10,000 more immigrants. There appears to be no signs of stopping. pic.twitter.com/tu10iYbNXh
While it’s hard for the media or Congress to stay focused on any one of the President’s numerous personal failings, the entire American political system is designed around and about policy disagreements. This ongoing atrocity is an opportunity for Congress and the Democratic Presidential Candidates to articulate a different, more humane vision for America.
But they won’t do it unless we demand it of them.
What can I do?
You can write to Congress. Immigration is almost inevitably going to be a major issue in the 2020 Presidential election because of what we’ve seen over the last two years of the Trump Presidency. That means that the media will talk about it and Congress will too. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant and the surest way to get some where it needs to go is to demand that Congress pay attention. To write to your Representatives and Senators, send the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to defend humanity.