In times of war, correspondents are routinely ‘embedded’ with fighting forces in order to be able to document the latest battles up close. Since last week, America’s most respected journalists are being denied access to the ‘holding centers’ where young Latino children are being detained after being separated from parents trying to enter the US to escape poverty and gang violence.
Thus far, not one journalist either on CNN or on MSNBC, the two major national channels, have dared to denounce this government censorship, which flies in the face of one of America’s ‘most cherished values’. The closest any journalist has come to denouncing the situation has been to claim that ‘this is a national security issue’: drug dealers and child traffickers may be slipping into the country pretending to be asylum seekers. (‘National Security’ is a term that few dare to challenge, whatever the rationale…)
The frustration and apparent helplessness of legislators in the face of this highly visible problem illustrates the limits of ‘democracy’. The corridors of Capitol Hill are shown filled with demonstrators trying to convince representatives of the need to move expeditiously, as recordings of crying children are played in the background. The President trades accusations of immobilism with Congress and each congressional party accuses the other of being at the origin of some obscure legislation that supposedly dictates the abhorrent policies being followed.
Bills being mooted face two hurdles: being allowed by the leader of the House of Representatives into the floor to be discussed and voted upon, and in the affirmative, garnering enough Democratic and Republican votes to be passed, given the priorities of the two different parties, while the President refuses to act unilaterally. Action has been taken only by a few governors, who have announced with fanfare that they will not send any of their National Guard troops to assist with the complex situation at the border. However, the effect of their righteous revolt will be minimal, given the extreme militarization of local police forces across the country, as immigration activists demonstrate against the extreme heat of the Texas desert where tent cities remindful of those in which Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio gleefully held local prisoners until he was convicted (then pardoned by President Trump).
Psychiatrists and psychologists warn that as the children subjected to traumatic separations from their parents grow into adolescence, the community will bear the costs of their PTSD. In vain: Stephen Miller, the chilling young presidential advisor intent on preserving the United States as a White City Upon a Hill looking down at the brown people it has subjected for three centuries, whispers to the President that he can — and must — do this.