Along the southern border, families with the will and the heart to flee misery and seek asylum are being torn apart — the parents charged and prosecuted and deported, rather than welcomed through open doors. Their children, alone and terrified, sit numbly in tent cities erected by ICE, Donald Trump's freshly empowered immigration enforcers, who keep visiting do-gooders away, even papering over windows to hide what's going on within.
A woman sent back to Guatemala without her son tearfully wonders if she will ever see him again.
A former Republican first lady compares the detention centres to the Japanese-American internment camps of the Second World War.
A former military general, and former CIA and NSA director, noted that other governments have separated children from parents, tweeting a picture of Auschwitz-Birkenau's railroad spur.
Most of the criticism has invoked morality, or Christian values. But this president is clearly uninterested in either, despite his closeness to evangelical Christian leaders and his own avowal of faith.
He's sensed that his voters, which are really what count, want ruthlessness, and that they can easily be persuaded to see it as patriotic: a notion he eagerly promotes.
Any criticism he treats as just politics, the easiest course of action in a country where even Supreme Court decisions are regarded as partisan.
The stated purpose of his policy is to make it clear to the world that having the "will and the heart" to get to the shining city on the hilltop will leave you in prison and your children at least temporarily orphaned. Trump wants to build an actual wall around the hilltop city, one with no doors, topped with concertina wire. Judging from his successes so far, he likely will.
Tearing Up the Neighbourhood
As for America's race issues, suffice it to say that white America has not had so bold a champion since George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. Take a moment and look at Virginia's new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Corey Stewart, backed and praised lavishly by the president.
Which brings us to [Reagan's] hilltop city's free ports, humming with commerce. Trump is single handedly putting an end to that, too, making something else clear to the world: rules-based trade and commerce is for chumps.
To him, America's allies are weak fools – he actually taunts them publicly – who need to understand that what counts is American power, against which they cannot prevail. Either they accept his terms, or he crushes them. Already, he's labelled their exports a threat to America's national security.
Trump's War Against Truth and Democracy.
As journalism professor Jay Rosen has persuasively argued, Trump is clearly winning his war against the media, an institution Trump has described as a great danger to America.
Fact-checking, the essence of journalism, no longer matters much, says Rosen, because it carries no consequence.
Politicians, caught lying, used to at least stop repeating the lie, even if they wouldn't admit having lied. Being a proven liar was just too uncomfortable. No longer. Trump lies easily and overwhelmingly; he couldn't give a toss about fact-checkers, and neither do his supporters.
The brazen lie is now of no more consequence than serial philandering or consorting with foreign enemies who want to corrupt elections.
Donald Trump, who loves winning, is winning. He is beating America's allies, he is crushing America's media, he is demonizing and desiccating American law enforcement, and hinting that in the end, he might even use his pardon power to sweep away rule of law. He has in fact already done so.
In her op-ed for The Washington Post, Laura Bush asked for compassion, kindness and morality. This is not America, she argued.
Well, yes it is. Trump is America, and America, it turns out, isn't so exceptional after all.No good will come to Canada if we have political leadership that will not accept reality. America is no longer our ally or even our friend. It has fundamentally changed even if so many Americans have not. America's "bought and paid for" Congress won't stand up to their homegrown despot. Neither will America's ideologically compromised Supreme Court.
Ordinary, decent Americans are being subverted as much as anyone else. Today their own Supreme Court ensured they will still be electorally abused by gerrymandering.
The Western alliance needs to gather and figure out how we're going ahead against this new America. We have to cut ourselves loose from this ogre.