Are We Listening To Our Consciences About Deportations?

“If you want to know what you would have done in the early days of the Nazi regime, look at what you are doing now.” Those words from a tweet have haunted me since I read them early in the days of Trump and Trumpism.

I gave a speech to the Anti-Defamation League and did research on the early days of Hitler. The information I found was chilling. This book review does a most ingenuous analysis of the parallels without ever mentioned Donald J. Trump.

As I read reports of:

  • people being pursued into houses of worship by ICE agents;
  • the Mexican American who has lived in the U.S. for more than twenty years dragged away from his family; and
  • ICE agents going on buses and asking people for their “papers” and proof of citizenship despite the fact that there is no legal reason for this,

I am reminded of the horrors that I observed when I visited the Holocaust Museum.  One of the most chilling things I saw came early in the exhibit when I learned that most of the atrocities were done with the force of law – that Hitler was duly elected, and that many citizens of Germany knew what was going on and did nothing.

When I was in San Diego last week, I talked with a young DACA dreamer who said he was no longer worried, but knew that the long arm of the law could swoop down on him at any time.

I listened to our Senator Kamala Harris describe DACA dreamers sobbing when they talked of their status and fate.

On Monday, the Senate cut a “deal” relying on the good faith of Mitch “block Merrick Garland” McConnell.  This increases the ongoing agony of close to a million of our fellow Americans.

We learned that Stephen Miller (read this story about his views on Black and Latino people and white supremacy) is helping drive policy on immigration.

We learned from Lindsey Graham that Miller and General “he is the adult in the room” Kelly blew up the bipartisan agreement that would have ended the agony of the dreamers.  I am old enough to remember when General Kelly lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and refused to apologize.

It is clear that white supremacy and xenophobic views against immigrants of color are in part driving the Trump agenda. If the culprits were just Trump, Bannon, Miller, Sessions, Kelly, Fox News and McConnell, things would be bad enough, but there are millions of our fellow Americans who share these “deplorable” views.

Which brings me back to what has been gnawing at my conscience for weeks, if not for the full year of the Trump presidency: What are people of good conscience to do?

What would those who fought Nazism do? I watch all the old Warner Brothers movies as I am able from the 1940s.  My friend Elaine Elinson reminded me of “Watch on the Rhine” and “Casablanca.”

Do we need to put our bodies on the line at ICE raids? Do we provide sanctuary in our homes, our businesses, and places of worship? I do not have an answer, but as we clearly see racism and white supremacy drive public policy, we must figure out the right course of action.


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