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Hard Truths For The People I Love

By Alex Winter

The Est. collected open letters on Sessions, familial separation and the current administration’s response to asylum seekers and immigrants — good grief our collective heart! — to publish on a dedicated landing page as a kind of evolving pastiche of opinions and concerns, anger and empathy. Resistance is vital.

On the thread of a truly good friend of mine—who supports the policy of Trump and Sessions—I referred to the sadism of the immigration policy.

I was responding to someone, I think a mutual friend, who claimed that the policy was for the purpose of upholding the law. The mutual friend objected, saying I was emotional and name-calling. I posted the following response to her. It is a simple fact that people I love support these horrors. I want to speak to a larger audience about this. Almost all the people who agree with me have friends who are Trump supporters.

This horror needs to be explored, I think, because I believe breaking through to the people we love who are sleepwalking to fascism is our last best hope.

Every single one of us is descended from oppressors and the oppressed. The arguments justifying cruelty circulating now were going around in Europe during Hitler’s rise to power.

Sometimes the truth comes across as an insult. In part because enough nice people were too polite to be frank with their friends who supported the nazis, it ended up with my grandparents and many, many of my family being murdered in the Holocaust. Of course my family was just one of an ocean of families comprised of gypsies, jews, homosexuals, leftists, and decent people who objected to atrocities.

I am thinking, friend of my friend, that you are highly educated and have had every opportunity to understand that the people who come to our borders are in desperate situations, and that our country is largely responsible for creating those conditions.

The sadism and callousness exhibited by a large minority of our citizens must be named. I feel solidarity with those persons whose torture you approve. Patriotism — especially in this country — requires that your feelings of solidarity with other humans be greater than your allegiance to your government, when your government turns to torture.

Sometimes the truth comes across as an insult. Click To Tweet

Because money plays such a big role in our elections, the significant minority of Trump supporters may continue to gain power. Clearly Trump and Sessions have no more compassion than Hitler. They have both shown it for years. This isn’t name calling, this is truth. (Name calling is that stupid stuff that Kathy Griffin and Samantha Bee do.)

We are coming to a crisis. Either good people who have been sleepwalking toward fascism will come to their senses, or all our liberties and our national decency will be gone. Then it will end very badly for all of us, you and me and all of us. But until our tenuous democracy is snuffed out, you will be hearing the truth from all sides, from the too-small majority who knows sadism when they see it.

The conditions that we have had a large hand in creating in Central America are so terrible that humans will follow the biological imperative — let’s call it God’s law — and try to save their children. The Sessions policy will not be effective in significantly deterring immigration. It will be effective in making us poorer, in many ways. Resources are being diverted from serious crime because of this policy that can’t work.

You will be confronted with this truth every day, and you won’t like it. We are connected by our mutual friend, whom I love, and who thinks I am a murderer because I don’t believe abortion is murder. Yet my family and her family have a strong affinity for each other. It does not stop me from loving her, and I don’t think it stops her from loving me. As far as I can tell, she and you have the same opinions on the immigration issues. Perhaps my family would love your family as we do her.

Until our tenuous democracy is snuffed out, you will hear the truth from the too-small majority who knows sadism when they see it. Click To Tweet

But that doesn’t stop this from being true: Ripping babies from their mothers is perverse and evil. Read Memory of Fire, by Eduardo Galeano, Books 1, 2 and 3. This tells the history of all the Americas from the Europeans’ first landing, in vignettes of one, two or three pages. I think that if you actually read them your heart could not remain as hard. I am sorry to have to say that your heart is hard but it is an unfortunate truth that must be said, for our present, our future, and the people referenced earlier who suffered torture and death because people were too enamored of a false civility to say these things that must be said.

If you don’t want to hear this, you are going to have to restrict yourself to the company of those who agree with you, until such time as the fascist takeover is further advanced.

I myself deal with everybody, and am open to friendships with people who think I am a murderer for believing that women have a right to safe and legal abortion. I have to, because people I love are supporting evil, and that mystery is for me a central question in understanding the world.