Ever since Donald Trump declared his candidacy roughly three years ago, we've all been witnesses to a seemingly endless dark ride of tragedy and destruction waged by a little man with little regard for anything but his own approval ratings and wealth. It's impossible to list everything since it'd require thousands of words to cover half of the awfulness that occurred just last week alone.
Today, however, perhaps the most heartless and nefarious Trump policy has gripped everyone from former First Ladies to normally Trump-friendly screechers on Fox News Channel. Making matters worse, Trump and his henchmen refuse to own their most treacherous policy to date, spinelessly blaming Democrats rather than taking responsibility for the barbaric practice of incarcerating children in cages within hastily constructed internment camps.
We've all seen the photos as well as the handful of videos that have circulated through social media, but we've haven't yet heard the sounds of small children, kidnapped and perhaps permanently separated from their parents by American immigration officials acting on orders from Donald Trump, Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller and John Kelly -- a throwback atrocity resurrected by this administration and exploited by the president as a sociopathic form of coercion to fund his ridiculous wall. Again, we've seen photos of Trump's crimes against humanity, but so far, we haven't heard the sounds of the inevitable sobbing by the children whom he's torturing...
...Until now. What you're about to hear is sound obtained and authenticated by Pro Publica of children crying and immigration officials mocking them. It will haunt you, and it should.
Utterly soul crushing. These are kids whose families sought prosperity and freedom in the United States, only to land in Trump's America where, instead, they're split up and forced into cages, either to be lost or returned into poverty, civil war and premature death. Sadly, we live in a nation where 40 percent of voters believe their greed -- their McMansions and new SUVs are somehow threatened by brown children seeking liberty in the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the history of human civilization. Shame on those 40 percenters. Shame on them all.
Knowing all this, we haven't yet devised a punishment appropriate enough for the chronological adults responsible for this nightmare, especially the monstrous old bigot himself, Trump, who refuses to tell the truth about it. But we should, or else we're partly complicit in his crimes.
Since the founding of the republic, our fellow citizens and the leaders they've elected have been responsible for horror shows we'd prefer to think of as existing solely in the distant past -- slavery, genocide, internment camps, lynchings and Jim Crow. Not any more. Add the internment of Central American babies in steel pens to the list. Indeed, the sins of our collective past continue today. Hell, the indefinite detention and torture policies of the Bush administration were at least carried out against adult men -- not to excuse Bush's extremism, but at least the victims of those policies weren't children whose inconsolable sobbing is now searchable via YouTube.
President Trump should no longer be defined as a Facebook meme version of an autocratic fascist, but instead a real life despot who needs to be legally yanked from office before his poison fully metastasizes. Those of us with children -- those of us from both parties ought to be leading the way against the gradual erosion of American values as they're assaulted hourly on Trump's Twitter feed and through his official directives.
This policy and the cowards who created it need to be tossed onto the toxic slagheap of history as cautionary tales aimed at those who market in simpleton populism and patriotic bromides. Ejecting Trump from power is our penance for not doing enough to stop him when we could. His punishment must be harsh enough to all but guarantee that copycats will think twice before co-opting Trumpism and refining it into even deadlier political weaponry.
Almost as importantly, we can't let this issue slip away into the memory hole.
The age of Trump has to be seen by all political voices, all across the spectrum, as nothing more than a malignant melanoma to be carved out of our national soul, or else we'll be the generation of Americans who allowed democracy to die under the ponderous bulk of a mentally addled crackpot.
Listen to the Pro Publica audio again, then send it to everyone you know and tell them: the cries of these children join a dissonant chorus representing the choking, flailing death of American values, strangled one-by-one in the hands of the Mad King. Heaven help us.