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'He Did It First' Is Really The Defense You're Going With?

By Emily Chambers | Late Night TV | May 31, 2018 |

By Emily Chambers | Late Night TV | May 31, 2018 |


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Hey, guys! Hey! It’s me! Heeeeeeeey! I just wanted to mention that despite my recent lack of posting, I STILL TOTALLY GO HERE. See, I inadvertently made a wish on a cursed monkey paw about ten months back, when I jokingly (and assholishly) told my family that pretty soon I was going to be running the place at, what was at the time, my new job. And since then, I’ve had four bosses quit. So, long story short: I’m a witch and doing three people’s jobs now.

All of which has meant I haven’t had the time to really dig in and bitch about political topics like I used to. For a while, it was a nice break. But eventually, I found myself itching with that whole Good-lord-this-is-stupid-why-isn’t-someone-yelling-about-it-maybe-that-should-be-me feeling. Specifically, Good lord, this is stupid. Why isn’t anyone yelling about this? Maybe it should be me.

[Well, first Samantha Bee, just in case you missed this clip from earlier]

So let’s tackle this step-by-step:

1) Are Fifteen-Hundred Migrant Children Missing?

Ok, here’s the nuanced portion of my rant. It’s unfair to say that the U.S. Government has lost fifteen-hundred migrant children. The story blew up online, specifically on Twitter, over the long weekend, and we’re now sifting through the pieces to get the facts straight. Essentially, unaccompanied children who reached the U.S. border were taken into custody and eventually placed in an Office of Refugee Resettlement facility. When possible, those same children were released to the care of a relative or other suitable adult after a background check had been performed. A month after the placement, employees at the ORR contacted the caregiver to see how the child was doing. In 1,475 of those calls, the employee wasn’t able to make contact. And, as the Vox article points out, there might be plenty of good reasons for caring, responsible family members not to want to tell the government where those children are. Which brings me to point two:

2) Kids Don’t Have To Be Missing For This Shit To Be Bad

The big reason that the story about fifteen-hundred children missing even came into focus? It’s because Trump and Jeff Sessions have decided to start treating people inhumanely. Or more appropriately, they’ve decided to treat this specific group of people inhumanely in this specific way. And if you watched the video, you’ll know this isn’t just about “lawbreakers”. People, even them non-Merican ones, have a right to seek asylum in the U.S. The deterrent isn’t about making sure that criminals don’t enter the country, or that migrants cross the border without the proper procedure. It’s about treating people like garbage because assholes in charge think they deserve it. Maybe because they’re “animals.” Or maybe because six-year-old children aren’t as innocent as they seem. Maybe it’s because of “racism” and “white supremacy” because it’s definitely about racism and white supremacy.

Whatever the case (it’s the racism), people are finally paying attention to how we treat the people arriving at our borders, and, as it turns out, we’re not treating them that well. (I mean, they’re probably still being treated better than they were in their shit-hole countries so I’m not sure what everyone is complaining about. It’s not like we’d treat immigrants that way if they came from Sweden. We’re just trying to keep out the bad guys because of reasons that aren’t racism, I guess.) And about that “finally” paying attention part …

3) Saying Obama Did It First Is A Bad Excuse

Trump supporters have zeroed in on one defense, and one defense only: Obama did it first, and you guys didn’t care. Essentially, they’re pretty sure if they can prove that we only care because Trump is doing it, they’ll prove it’s only politics and delegitimize whatever argument we have. Which might sound like a bad defense, but is also much stupider. For one, equal treatment isn’t the same as equitable treatment. It isn’t “just politics” that Trump has a special counsel investigating his campaign and administration. It’s because at least five people committed crimes that have been admitted, and another fourteen committed crimes they’ll probably admit to eventually all while working in some capacity to get Trump elected. The reason that Obama didn’t get investigated is, get this, because he tried to run a White House filled with integrity and in which people weren’t only trying to line their own pockets. Crazy, right?

But there’s something deeper to the idea that if we didn’t call Obama on it, we can’t call Trump on it. And that deeper idea isn’t that Trump supporters fundamentally want to fix and improve society. It’s that they’re keeping score, and only judging a situation on the points it gets them. The idea is the political equivalent to find your younger child shitting in their dresser drawer. You would (hopefully) say, “What are you doing? Stop it.” And then maybe your child would say, “But [Older Child] has been shitting in their drawer for the past year! You can’t be mad at me because you never got mad at them!” Would you say “Oh, that’s reasonable and is a solid defense?” Or would you tell them they still can’t shit in a drawer, thoroughly question every decision you’ve ever made as a parent, and burn your entire house down to get a fresh start?

At this point, any Democrat worth a shit will have a pretty easy explanation for why we’re pissed now, but we weren’t pissed then. As the creator of the Best Political Joke of the Trump Era will tell you, it’s because I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION! I know I should have been. I know I trusted too much that Obama seemed like a decent human being who would make mostly good decisions. And I should have been paying way more attention to local politics, getting involved with midterm and state elections, and just generally not acting like everything will be fine because things were mostly fine for me. I fucked up. And I know I fucked up because GODDAMN DONALD TRUMP IS PRESIDENT NOW (oh, all caps yelling, I’ve missed you).

Now, as a quick aside defense, Trump supporters, I don’t remember you giving a shit when Obama was president either. I remember you being upset about Benghazi. I remember you believing the cruel nonsense spouted by Alex Jones. And I remember six fucking years where instead of saying, “Hey, Obama, could we make sure children aren’t sleeping in cages? This seems like a valid area on which to take the moral high ground, and agitate for a needed change in policy,” you insisted that Obama was a Kenyan Muslim who couldn’t possibly represent the U.S. because he didn’t have the white look. So if you think that exposing someone’s motivation as being politically based invalidates their argument, you might want to rethink everything you’ve ever done.

But most importantly, you can’t argue away something terrible you’ve done by saying, “You weren’t paying attention before” because I’M FUCKING PAYING ATTENTION NOW. I didn’t care before because I didn’t pay enough attention to notice. I fucked up and I’ll admit I fucked up. And that’s over. So maybe now we can start talking about ripping young children out of their parents’ arms thus doing irrevocable harm to them for no reason? Because good lord, that’s stupid and cruel. Everyone should be bitching about this.



Emily Chambers is a Staff Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow her retweeting other people on Twitter.


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