Saturday, July 13, 2019

They're Getting Kool-Aid™ Jammers and Animated Movies*

Children do not belong in detention centers. "Detention centers" appears to be a more acceptable term than "concentration camps." Families belong together. This is now a popular trending hashtag. So is Close the Camps Now. Last night I attended a vigil downtown at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, where over 1000 men are being held. We gathered outside the facility with 4000 people, just over the 10 freeway. Some people brought Mylar blankets as a sign of solidarity, fashioning brilliant flags and scarves out of them. The incarcerated children have been given such blankets to cover themselves during detainment.

We held our flashlights, electric candles and phone lights up toward the building, and the men inside flashed their own lights through the tiny slits in the imposing walls. It felt futile to be there and powerful at once, but mostly futile.

One of Sophie's caregivers, a legal resident originally from Guatemala thanked me for going, and I felt ashamed. There is much tension in our city as families gear up for tomorrow's ICE raids.

Meanwhile, Terrible America provides snacks and movies to the thousands of children separated from their families, languishing in private facilities whose boards are stocked with profit-hungry rich men, rich men who've protected one another in the vilest of ways. Perhaps the vilest of them all, the POSPOTUS, plays golf, presides over rallies and is cheered by the most ignorant people in the country. The most powerful people in the country who continue to support him have lost whatever shreds of moral authority they might have had and will, I imagine, go down in history as spineless, lacking even a modicum of integrity.

I'm curious. I had an exchange last year with someone who objected mightily to my outrage over separating children from their parents when they sought asylum at the border. Anonymous, what do you think of the camps now? How about the children separated from their parents? How about the conditions of the camps where thousands of men, women and children are being held?

Is this who we are?

* So reported F*^king Vie President Pence after a recent "visit" to a detention camp in Texas and proceeded to blame Congress for the over-crowded conditions in the men's facilities. The photo of him and his entourage smiling their greasy smiles of paternal solicitude made me sick.


  1. Pence's face was blank as he stood in the single adults' detention center where it was sweltering and completely overcrowded with no room for cots and the smell of unwashed men overwhelmed him. Or so it appeared. And then he turned and left. And yes, he called the conditions unacceptable and somehow blamed it all on the detainees.
    How have we come to this?
    You did good, going to the protest. You did good.

  2. I sent you an article about trial runs for fascism. And so it begins.

  3. "..smiling their greasy smiles..."

    How do they sleep? How do they live with themselves?

    “I Confess” by Pauletta Hansel

    Posted: 07 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

    Pauletta Hansel


    These days I think too much
    about assassination, and let me just say
    I have come down against it every time,
    swatting it away, a plague-ridden fly
    in my otherwise mild and law-abiding imagination,
    and that I do not accept the legal argument
    that targeted killings are a country’s form
    of self-defense, regardless of whether the target
    will ever see the inside of a detention center,
    and be faced with deciding, like thousands
    of seven-year-olds, whether the assigned Mylar blanket
    goes over or under on the mud-caked concrete floor.

    Every time, I rise up on the right side of the question
    though I have gone so far as to research the word:
    From the Arabic, hashshashin, the Assassins of Persia,
    perhaps so-named for the necessity of getting high
    before slipping in the blade. (In private,
    some Border Patrol agents consider migrant deaths
    a laughing matter; others are succumbing to depression,
    anxiety, or substance abuse.)

    How, with or without the name, the act
    is older than our ability to write it down.
    How way back in the Old Testament,
    there it was alongside the begetting and begats.
    How in the Roman Empire, strangling in the bathtub
    was the method of choice for murdering one’s king,
    while, as you might expect, in Japan it was the sword.

    Here in the US we, as always,
    prefer the gun, and let me just say,
    I do not and will not own one.
    I confess only to the image in my mind
    of the mongrel dogs of history lapping at the wound.

  4. The note on the placard in your photo resonates with me: "This is us?" That's exactly how I feel. I don't recognize this country sometimes.

  5. It's part of a numbing exercise, here and everywhere. To numb our empathy, to divide between us and them. The nazis knew how to do it.

  6. I'm so glad you went, and I too, would have felt the same way. But you went. Others went. Right now that's what we have.
    PS: not to make light of anything, but I love your turban.

  7. Unfortunately it IS who we are now. 😢😡

  8. I think we have become, as a Nation, so divided... to where those who stand WITH what we are now seem to lack the most basic humanity towards even the most vulnerable of Society, the Children, the Elderly, the Disabled, the Persecuted, the Poor! So worried and fearful they seem to be about being allegedly 'replaced', about putting Money first, above People, that they compromise decent values and morals, supporting vile and detestable Men who would sell them out for profit just as surely as they do those not on their 'side'! I did once Hope for National Unity again, but honestly, I'd rather remain Divided than to stand alongside and with those who think this is somehow Justified in their sick, twisted and corrupted Minds! Rather I prefer to remain apart and resist these atrocities being committed against Human Beings, this Greed that has consumed America and Sold Out all morality, compassion, decency and conscience! It's a National disgrace... and this is his alleged 'greatness' display, what demented Path he's taking this Country on, it's revolting! I'm Glad to see you and so many others stood in Protest and made a Statement and a Stand for decency and for Human Rights!

  9. I am heartened by the protests. Thank you for showing up. These demonstrations are our objection to what is happening made visible. People always say we are better than this, and this is un American, but in fact this is exactly who we are, the hate writ large, no longer whispered, it is as American as slavery and detention camps, as American as a first generation president, son of immigrants, who picks and chooses which humans shall flourish and which shall be broken to smithereens. And so we march. And then we vote. And we keep our voices loud. Thank you, Elizabeth, for marching for me, and all of us.



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