To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, December 5, 2020

#GivingTuesday                               Observercast

Womp, Womp

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BY SUSAN ESTRICH

All last weekend, it was the Democrats’ fault. And Congress’ fault. Anyone’s fault but his.

But the cries of the children were too much – not just for the “fake news” media, but for Trump’s own supporters.

For once, maybe the first time, Donald Trump got it all wrong. He thought his supporters were no better than him. He thought – irony of ironies – that Hillary Clinton was right about them, right in all the ways she dismissed Trump voters as being as cold and hateful as the man they support.

They aren’t.

Unlike Trump, they heard the children crying, and what they heard were children, not “migrants.” What they saw were families being torn apart, not lawbreakers being punished. Because we are better people than that.

“All of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said in a speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Not something this president would ever say, even if the rest of us all understood that those children’s cries could have been our own.

So after blaming the Democrats and Congress, after his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski mocked a child with Down syndrome separated from her parents at the border [“Womp, womp,” he scoffed on Fox News], Donald Trump suddenly discovered he had the power to change everything with just a stroke of his pen.

Which isn’t surprising: He unilaterally caused this crisis; then he lied about it. Then he took out his pen to try to stanch the bleeding.

Not so fast.

After the humiliation of the Nixon presidency, Jimmy Carter promised a government as good as its people. Until now, Trump has figured, with reason, that he can do anything, and his supporters won’t abandon him: a government as devoid of ethics as its leader. Sleeping with a Playmate and a porn star while his wife was home with their newborn child. Bragging about committing sexual assault. Could anything drive a wedge between Trump and the crowd shouting “Lock her up”?

Something could: the cries of a child.

What is remarkable is not that people listened, not that people cared; but that Trump and his team, for the first time, fundamentally did not get it.

For days, Trump apparently thought that he could rail against the Democrats and Congress the way he usually does, and no one would hold him accountable. So little regard did he and his aides have for their own party in Congress that it apparently never occurred to them that members of Congress might have a conscience, that we as a country have not been so permanently lobotomized by the likes of Trump and Roseanne Barr that we could turn a deaf ear to a child.

Which is, as we have seen, so easy for Trump to ignore, so easy for his pals to make fun of. Criminals, all! Even now, Trump simply wants to lock the children up with their parents. But next thing you know, the courts will tell him he can’t do that, either, that children who have done nothing wrong cannot be treated like criminals.

Ironically, the Obama Administration tried that but was told no and then came to the conclusion that you didn’t have to detain families in order for them to show up at an immigration hearing. Imagine that! Because even for the adults, the purpose of detention is not punishment: It is to ensure presence at a hearing.

And you can do that without locking up a whole family or causing an entire nation, aside from the president, to recoil in shame.

Susan Estrich’s columns appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer

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Susan Estrich
Susan Estrich
Estrich served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1988, she was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential run, even though she had never before managed a political campaign. She was the first female campaign manager of a major presidential campaign, and the first female campaign manager of the modern era. [5] [6] Estrich appears frequently on Fox News as a legal and political analyst, and has also substituted for Alan Colmes on the debate show Hannity & Colmes. She writes regular articles for the conservative website NewsMax, for which she is a pundit.[7] She is also on the Board of Editorial Contributors for USA Today.[8] She is currently a law professor at the University of Southern California Law School and a political science professor at its affiliated undergraduate school. Before joining the USC faculty in 1989, she was Professor of Law at Harvard University, where she was the youngest woman to receive tenure.[9] On January 10, 2008, Estrich joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a law firm based in Los Angeles, where she chairs their Public Strategy in High Profile Litigation: Media Relations practice area. [10][11] She writes a nationally syndicated print column distributed through Creators Syndicate.