Who are the animals in this picture, Mr. Trump?
So, Mr. Trump, you have gone on record as suggesting that there are animals crossing the border. Not your traditional kinds, like snakes, or lizards, or coyotes. But a specific kind that walks on two legs and falls under the classification of homo sapiens, aka human, but nevertheless to your mind are mere animals.
But there is a difference, Mr. Trump. Humans are afforded the rights of due process and habeas corpus that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Animals are not. Is that your intention? To suggest that certain people are afforded those rights, and some are not?
Now, your handlers have persuaded you to somewhat walk back that statement by saying that you were referring specifically to MS-13 gang members. Fair enough. So are you suggesting that MS-13 gang members, being animals, are not subject to the human right of due process? That they should just be exterminated at will, like any other rabid animal? Because that is a dangerous assertion, Mr. Trump. Those are dangerous ideas.
There is an organization that goes by the name of Genocide Watch. They have defined the stages of genocide. It is a rather short list, Mr. Trump, only eight stages; short enough to fit within even your notoriously limited attention span. Of specific note in these stages is the labeling and dehumanizing of groups of people. You see, once a group of people have been successfully dehumanized, then all sorts of atrocities can be inflicted upon them because, after all, they are not human. They are animals–vermin, if you will–that should be exterminated. Because that is the fundamental difference between humans and animals: Humans can be murdered; animals cannot. Animals may be wrongfully put down, but never murdered.
But these are horrible people, you say. Bad! Well, you see, due process is designed to make sure that bad people are really, you know, bad. Like Daniel Ramirez Medina. You might know of him. He is an informant who was working with law enforcement to identify MS-13 gang members until he was arrested by your Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and who, in your lexicon, should have just been put down. Lucky for him that some people still consider him human! After some due process, it was discovered that Mr. Medina had been the subject of some good old fashioned evidence tampering by your ICE agents, that Mr. Medina was not an MS-13 animal, but, in fact, an innocent human. Oops!
Now, similar to the man who can’t be racist because he hates everyone equally, you could be given the benefit of the doubt. Many people would agree with you that very bad people are mere animals. But you don’t hate everyone equally, do you Mr. Trump. Oh, you have no problem with labeling brown people as murders and rapists and, you know, animals. But when is the last time you labeled someone white as an animal? You haven’t. Not once. They might be bad people, but never animals. And that’s the problem, Mr. Trump. That’s the rub.
You can call people animals. But when you restrict that label to people of color, that’s racism. And when you further use that label to classify people, and use that classification as a symbol of hate, and use that symbol to dehumanize, and use that dehumanization to organize and polarize and round up and eliminate, well then you are on a path, Mr. Trump, and that path is paved with atrocities and often ends with genocide.
The language we use allows a look into our minds, and the language you use, Mr. Trump, is predictably simple and clear. We know your mind, such as it is. We unfortunately know exactly who in the picture above you consider human and who you consider animals. We know your feelings on race, and white supremacy, and who should be afforded due process and who should just be rounded up and exterminated, innocent or not. White lives are precious, brown lives are not. We get it. But there are many of us who believe that everyone should be afforded due process, regardless of the color of their skin and the charges against them. That is what separates the humans from the animals, and a system of laws from the rule of petty dictators. Not the parochial, animalistic urges you yourself represent, but the drive to listen to our better selves. You should try it sometime. The world and the country need it.