The National Lampoon was a humor magazine popular through the 1970s and most of the 1980s. Occasionally, the humor was rather dark as when, in January, 1973, the magazine’s cover featured a picture of an adorable dog with a gun pointed to its head. The caption read: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.”
That supposed joke was not a serious attempt at extortion, but it illustrates, rather literally, what the practice of extortion looks like. One committing extortion attempts to obtain something, most commonly – but not necessarily – money, through force or threats.
With his inhumane policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at our southern border, Trump is serious as a heart attack. And he is attempting to procure congressional funding for his precious, porous wall by not only threatening to forcibly take children from their parents, but actually doing so – and in the cruelest manner possible.
Trump is an accomplished shakedown artist. His means of persuasion are straight out of Tony Soprano’s playbook. Two months ago, he threatened nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, and two weeks ago, he got his pay-off with wall-to-wall coverage of his historic meeting with the world’s most oppressive dictator. He has imposed tariffs – and threatened to impose additional tariffs – to much the same effect. It seems he will burn down the house to get his way.
But this horrible business at the southern border is uniquely revolting. He is using, and most certainly scarring, innocent children for leverage. He has said, “They’re not so innocent.” I have to believe the vast majority of Americans know better.
One of the most horrifying things we have learned in recent days is that those charged with watching over the children warehoused in cages are not allowed to comfort the children grieving the loss of their mothers and fathers. They cannot hold them, or stroke their hair, or hug them. After all, there could be liability issues.
The number of lawsuits that will be filed as a result of the harm wrongfully done to these children by the U.S. government will be astronomical. And, God forbid, that a child be raped, or maimed, or dies in a Trump Concentration Camp.
These children of desperate parents coming to our border begging for asylum have something in common with other children, who Trump has treated badly. The children of Flint, Michigan, and Puerto Rico are also children of color, and all of these children are suffering. Those forcibly taken from their parents will, almost certainly, be damaged most of all.
But Mr. “Art of the Deal,” treats these children as if they were pawns on a chessboard or, in his words – “a negotiating tool.”
It’s almost as if he thinks they are less than human.