Despite Trump fatigue, the horror of child detention breaks through our apathy

President Trump has worn us down. The Mueller report — loaded with evidence that Trump obstructed justice and welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 campaign — bobs, floats, and then sinks beneath the surface. A credible accusation that he raped a woman several decades ago barely registers. Dangerous rhetoric that journalists are “the enemy of the people,” once shocking, is now little more than background noise.

Sometimes, though, the terrible reality of the Trump presidency breaks through, at least for a moment. Such is the case with the hundreds of migrant children being held at a border detention center in Clint, Texas, under conditions of shocking cruelty, according to a group of lawyers that visited the camp. The children are reported to be cold, hungry, and filthy. Many are sick.

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Sunday’s rally in Copley Square was an outpouring of decency. But what’s next?

Oke Metitin: "My parents were immigrants, so I felt obligated to protest." Photo (cc) by Dan Kennedy. For more photos of the rally, please click here.
Oke Metitin: “My parents were immigrants, so I felt obligated to protest.” Photo (cc) by Dan Kennedy. For more photos of the rally, please click here.

If you’ve been looking for decency amid the indecent acts of President Trump, Copley Square on Sunday afternoon was an ideal place to find it. Thousands upon thousands of people gathered to protest the president’s policies aimed at keeping immigrants and refugees out of the country. And notwithstanding the occasional sign with an F-bomb or with a swastika imposed over Trump’s face, they were just so nice.

Among the decent people I met was Oke Metitin, a young Nigerian-American woman who lives in Boston. She was holding a large sign proclaiming Emma Lazarus’s poem that’s inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor …”) followed by “No Ban. No Wall.” I asked her why she had come to Copley Square. “My parents were immigrants, so I felt obligated to protest,” she said. “Hopefully President Trump will get the message that this isn’t constitutional.”

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New York Times sanitizes Bachmann on immigration

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

The New York Times today sanitizes U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, in a story on immigration.

Times reporter Jonathan Weisman writes that the Republican Party is starting to move toward its Tea Party base on immigration issues and quotes Bachmann as saying, “This was one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had in my eight years in Congress. We were able to achieve unity across the conference in what is likely to be the most consequential issue of this time: immigration.”

But though Weisman quotes incendiary remarks by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, about a “war on whites,” he gives Bachmann a pass for her recent comments that President Obama wants to bring more undocumented children into the United States so that the government can carry out medical experiments on them. Here’s what Bachmann said on a radio show called “WallBuilders Today,” as transcribed by the liberal group People for the American Way:

Now President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system. That’s more kids that you can see how — we can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a ward of the state can’t say “no,” a little kid can’t say “no” if they’re a ward of the state; so here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say “no.” It’s sick.

I can’t imagine why Weisman and his editors decided it was all right to quote Bachmann on immigration issues without bringing up this piece of demented and very recent rhetoric.

A proud day for Gov. Patrick and for Massachusetts

I’ve got my issues with Gov. Deval Patrick. Over the years I’ve given him two Muzzle Awards, for pandering to the decency police and for an excessive devotion to governmental secrecy. And don’t get me started on casino gambling.

Today, though, I’m proud that he’s my governor.

Fake outrage over a non-issue (II)

A New York Times/CBS News national poll of Democrats and Republicans shows that the constant drumbeat over illegal immigration simply isn’t registering.

According to the underlying data (PDF), just 5 percent believe that immigration is the most important problem facing the country — well behind war and Iraq (a cumulative 22 percent) and the economy (20 percent), and slightly behind health care (7 percent).

When asked what kind of change they most want to see the next president bring about, reducing illegal immigration (4 percent of respondents) was again well down on the list, behind improving the economy (20 percent), dealing with the war in Iraq (14 percent), improving health care (6 percent) and helping the middle class (5 percent).

Just to reinforce the point, John McCain — perceived as taking the least draconian stand on illegal immigration of any Republican presidential candidate — now gets the highest favorability ratings.

As Globe columnist Joan Vennochi points out, even though Gov. Deval Patrick is taking a political risk with his not-quite-proposal to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants, Patrick is well aware that immigrant-bashing has proved to be a loser of an issue.

Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis makes the same observation, writing:

Do you think Gov. Deval Patrick would be floating the idea of lowering state college tuition rates for illegal immigrants at this moment if Mitt Romney’s $40 million “illegal alien” screed had carried him to victory in Iowa and New Hampshire?

I don’t think so. Deval may be a moonbat, but he did manage to graduate from the same law school as Willard.

Gelzinis also notes that Patrick’s Republican opponent for the governorship in 2006, Kerry Healey, made a huge deal of illegal immigration. Healey, of course, became the first Republican candidate to lose a governor’s race in Massachusetts since 1986.

Politicians make a huge mistake when they confuse what they hear on talk radio with what most average Americans have on their minds.

Fake outrage over a non-issue

The talk shows are already going nuts over Gov. Deval Patrick’s statement that he may issue an executive order allowing illegal immigrants who live in Massachusetts to pay the in-state tuition rate at public colleges or universities (Globe story here; Herald story here).

But Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, appearing this morning on Tom Finneran’s show on WRKO (AM 680), said at least twice that such immigrants would be eligible only if they can document that they are in the process of seeking legal status. He also said there would only be about 400 or 500 eligible kids.

Not a big deal. Then again, we already know that anger over illegal immigration is one of those phony issues that doesn’t extend much beyond Talk Show Nation. Just ask Mitt Romney how his tough-guy talk played in Iowa and New Hampshire.