What do we do when something a government does makes us really mad? We compare it to Nazi Germany. A good name for it might be Holocaust hyperbole.
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
MAYBE NOW that Donald Trump has backed off at least a little on the apprehension of children of illegal immigrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, some of the indignant rhetoric will be reined in.
It’s a terrible situation down there, one manufactured by our friend in the White House, who until Wednesday seemed determined to blame the Democrats for his “zero-tolerance” policy.
Kids from toddlers to teens have been put in detention facilities while their parents face the legal consequences of entering the U.S. without the proper permissions. Even with Donald Trump’s latest executive order, it’s unclear how the 2,000-plus kids already in detention will be reunited with their parents.
Right-thinking people get outraged when they see kids in disstress, and video of chain-link enclosures and audio of youngsters crying out for their parents is hard to take.
But so is the exaggerated bombast coming from some quarters. The “Hitler” word has been used. The term “Naxi Germany” has been floated around.
Michael V. Hayden, author, retired general and a former CIA director, has compared Trump’s youth detention centres to concentration camps. Hayden tweeted a photo of Birkenau, a Nazi concentration camp during the second World War, along with the sentence “Other governments have separated mothers and children.”
That’s more than a little over the top. Birkenau was an extermination camp. Jews were starved, beaten, worked to death and gassed there.
The kids at the U.S. immigrant detention centres are fed, clothed and kept warm, and can watch TV and play games. That doesn’t make the situation in any way acceptable, of course, and a good argument can be made that forcibly separating kids from their parents — “ripping” them from each other’s arms, as critics have taken to saying —is tantamount to child abuse.
Grossly exaggerating conditions, though, is unnecessary. Justified criticism and political pressure forced Trump to reconsider his policy, not inappropriate comparisons. The reality speaks for itself without need of hyperbole.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.