March 24th, 2019

Guest Column: Jeff Sessions, a toady, was just following his boss’s orders. Sad!

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on June 30, 2018.

There are few things more despicable than a toady. The toady is a leader’s ‘yes’ man, a sycophant. He possesses the skill of doing and saying only those things his boss wants to hear — regardless of the consequences. The toady desires nothing more than to kiss his leader’s, umm, hand. Historically, dictators and egotists are often surrounded by fawning toadies. On rare occasions they are found in democracies too.

Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general, is one such toady. Two weeks ago, he devised a ‘zero tolerance’ anti-immigration policy designed to deter illegal migrant families. Overnight it was decided to prosecute and detain all illegal migrants. Only one problem: children cannot be prosecuted for the actions of their parents. The children were torn from the arms of their parents. Jeff Sessions made this decision to please his boss — without a plan, without necessary resources, and without regard for the consequences.

In a 1980s movie, Sophie’s Choice, a Polish mother of two young children is met at the deportation train station by a Nazi officer who, in response to the mother’s pleas for mercy, presents her with an impossible choice. Give up one of your children and you and the other child will be allowed to live. If she does not choose, both children will die. An impossible choice.

Who knows how many Sophie’s Choices have been made by Latin American parents as they follow a ‘faint hope’ path to the U.S.? These are not ‘bad people’ as the President calls them. These are humans desperate for safety and the survival of their families. They seek asylum, and a chance at a better life, or life itself. Joseph and Mary, fleeing the wrath of King Herod, were seeking asylum too.

The present migration dilemma in the U.S. has little to do with one’s position on intrusive governments or limits to personal freedoms. This is not a Republicans-vs.-Democrats question. It is a humanitarian issue which hangs on the question of whether humans should be treated as humans, whether an infant deserves a mother, whether people who differ from ‘us’ are humans.

The saddest thing about all of this is that the entire ‘migration crisis’ is not a crisis. Mr. Trump, as he has with so many other issues, has manufactured this ‘major crisis on our southern border’ so that he can keep his base mobilized and angry, so he can dismantle the ‘liberal legacy’, and so he can continue to demand funding for his ridiculous $25 billion wall.

It’s all about his crazy wall! This builder of edifices just can’t help building more ‘edifices’ to feed his ego and his own legacy. Like other dictators before him, he realizes that the louder and more often one repeats the lies, the more they will sound like truth to the uninformed. The American public, fearful, gullible, and myopic (It’s all about me), believe migration is a threat to the nation.

Doug Saunders, in his column in The Globe and Mail June 23, reports that “The 2018 numbers are somewhat higher than the 2017 numbers — but they’re a small fraction, less than a third, of the rate experienced in the 2000s under George W. Bush, or in the 1990s under Bill Clinton, or in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. Since 2008, illegal crossings have fallen to lows not seen since the early 1970s É In the U.S., crime statistics repeatedly show that immigrants — including illegal immigrants and refugees from Latin America — have considerably lower rates of criminality, including violent crime, than Americans do.” If there is a crisis, it’s a crisis of unfathomable gullibility.

The second saddest thing about all of this is that this brutish ‘zero tolerance policy’ was implemented with no thought of what to do with the children who would be separated from parents — 2,300 children so far, and no documentation to help reunite these children with their parents.

Many of these are infants. Facility workers are forbidden from holding, touching or comforting these terrified children! This trauma will do irreversible harm to these infants, child experts say. This is a crime against humanity decried by other nations, the UN, the Roman Catholic Church, and other denominations.

Mr. Jeff Sessions had no plan. He just did what he thought would make his boss happy. And when he is questioned about this in future inquiries and congressional hearings, he will say, “I was just following orders.” The toady often becomes the fall guy. SAD.

Peter Mueller is a long-time resident of Medicine Hat who, in spite of all the evidence, continues to believe we can build a better world.

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