On the screen, her eyes were full of tears.
I‘ve written before in this space about my German fiancée Jasmine – and about our ongoing efforts to get her back in the USA so we can get married. We‘ve been separated since March – separated not just by an ocean and six time zones, but by the pandemic, benighted government policies, bureaucratic recalcitrance, and (so far) an unresponsive judiciary. We‘ve sued, petitioned, called, emailed, texted, written… all in vain.
It’s frustrating. And the emotional toll is heavy. We talk every night over the Internet, trying to balance dreams of front porches and rocking chairs with the seemingly endless reality of waiting. In the Facebook Groups for the couples in our particular lawsuit (Milligan et al. v. Pompeo, if you follow such things) and others in similar situations, every few days we hear of another couple who couldn’t take the strain anymore and called it quits.
So here was another morning, alternating between trying to be a comforter and trying to feel comforted… wanting to hold her in my arms and reassure her, but knowing that there was only so much I could do.
But I‘m not talking about this just to garner sympathy for us (though believe me, we do appreciate the messages of support we‘ve received). I‘m talking about this because it‘s just one more example of how the policies of the Trump Regime have had real-life consequences, on real-life people, with stories that fall way below the radar of the media.
The last four years have brought a lot of unnecessary pain to many, many people – not just us, but other potential immigrants, separated families, detainees, deportees, thousands of lives thrown into uncertain limbo – hopes dashed, plans delayed, dreams deferred.
And that‘s just talking about immigration. Add the pain of those affected by the Trump Regime’s malfeasance during the pandemic… or the results of this summer’s militarization of the police during the Black Lives Matters protests… or the dangers posed by the deliberate denial of climate change… or any of a dozen other issues.
“Abuse of power,” said epigrammatist Jenny Holzer, “comes as no surprise.” Members of the Trump Regime abused their power, and have abused our citizens, our systems, and our values… because they could. Because they wanted to.
Because no one stopped them.
There’s been a common theme here, running throughout Trump’s reign. Adam Serwer, a writer for The Atlantic, pinned it down succinctly in an article title two years ago: (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelty-is-the-point/572104/)
“The Cruelty is the Point.”
From the talk of “safe spaces” and “snowflakes” to the T-shirts that said, “F*ck Your Feelings,” Trump’s supporters have been encouraged to belittle and disregard the pain of others… indeed, to wallow and delight in it instead. And hey, it’s fun, right? Just a little harmless joke, right? Don’t take things so seriously!
But such things can get very serious, very quickly, as my sweetheart and her fellow Germans know all too well.
Of course, now, after the election, things seem to have changed. And predictably, there will be calls for “reconciliation“ and “forgiveness,” as there were after the Bush Regime. Between us as individual citizens, that’s one thing. I encourage the mending of the social fabric. But the folks behind these abuses… that is another matter altogether.
There is justice to be served.