You might not believe it, but the original title for this article, started on Friday, was ‘I’m giving up and I’ll tell you why.’ Two things happened Saturday to change all that.
The first was a story published in The Washington Post about a Honduran father who killed himself after U.S. Border Patrol officers separated him from his family in accordance with a Trump Administration policy aimed at making America so unwelcoming for desperate people that they’ll just stay home and be killed as a family rather than die piecemeal here.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
What a bunch of happy horseshit. Maybe we could dig up poor Marco Antonio Muñoz and ask him how he feels about those words etched in stone at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Next I encountered a meme on Facebook, which is one of the places people go to read abridged versions of news without having to pay for it (The Shinbone Star being another). A little digging and I found the original story and photo essay in The New Yorker magazine about a former janitor at a Border Patrol facility in Arizona who secretly collected items confiscated from illegal immigrants and turned them into social-consciousness art. There were tubes of toothpaste, water bottles and eating utensils, but the photo that caught my eye was the one up above — rosaries — taken away by Border Patrol officers who feared the tiny crosses and beads could be weaponized by men and women whose prayers had led them inside cages of steel mesh.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen
So yeah, before reading that stuff I was ready to quit. I reasoned that since Trump and his band of Republican criminals had already stolen one election, what was to stop them from doing the same thing next November in an election that men and women of conscience have pegged as the last great hope for our nation?
The only real answer is that there’s nothing to stop them, but it was the death of Marco Antonio Muñoz that cleared something up for me. I finally understood that the battle we’ve waged since the day Trump entered the Oval Office isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about staggering back to your feet even when you know it’s hopeless, and fighting simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Those pictures in The New Yorker . . . where else have we seen collections of shoes, toiletries and other items taken from an oppressed people before they were thrown into cages? Was it Auschwitz? The rosaries got to me because they made me start thinking about all those evangelical Christians dressed in suits and ties as they sing about Jesus’ love on Sunday, then cast ballots on Tuesday for Republicans who steal food from indigent schoolchildren and take healthcare from poor widows because . . . entitlements! Fuck you, you hellbound hypocrites, you make me want to puke!
I guess I’ve given up hope not so much because of Russians, kneeling NFL players, emoluments clauses, money laundering or any of the other Trump outrages we read about every single day, but because of you, you evil, ignorant hateful, gun-toting, god-fearing “common men.” It is you who roil my guts with the bitter bile of certain defeat. But so you know, giving up hope ain’t the same as quitting. When hopeless people keep fighting, that’s when we’re the most dangerous.
Join me, won’t you? Let’s not go down without a fight!
ADDENDUM: Thanks to our reader Jen in Texas for finding another link to many more of the photos that are described in The New Yorker article. Those photos may be viewed HERE.