The current crisis over immigrant children being separated from their parents follows a pattern. First there is a long time of a trend being gradual, unremarked, and even underground -- esp. the aspects that can be monetized, both the illegal acts like smuggling and trafficking, the legal acts like a family member who sends money home to others.
Finally something brings the dynamic to the surface, like an idiot president trying for political advantage. Then emotion is high, the response is too drastic, too sweeping, too uncontrollable. Those who are most alert begin to respond. Those who find the furor to their advantage work to perpetuate it.
I'm thinking about 9/11, how some of the first shock transitioned into the conviction that the country was webbed with terrorists, all of them Arab, waiting in little cells for their chance to fly an airplane into a building. The facts of which building, which airplane, how did the "Arabs" learn to fly, what did they do the night before they died, and so on -- all these have grown into as big and scary a complex narrative as even the assassination of John F. Kennedy,
Certain kinds of people know how to take advantage of high emotions. We end up with Homeland Security which sounds like a paranoid murder series, because that's what it is. In fact, the dynamics are so much like a TV narrative, that people treat it as such, many of them finding it viscerally surreal but immediate, others seeing it as remote and impossible to address, inevitable. They try to escape being held to account.
It is HUGELY mistaken to try to address fear with authority, particularly when the use of force is approved, economic dynamics become force, and the consequences of force (shooting in the streets, forcing an end to privacy, feeling always hyper-alert, and using all the indices that we record socially: marriages, conceptions, incarcerations, deaths and particularly suicides. Population dynamics become changeable and curiously nostalgic -- that is, not just memory but inflation into Eden.
This happens when we have major financial depressions, when there are terrible natural disasters, and so on. But also, the next step of these atrocities reveal a whole network, a level of society that has supported all this forever. Mafia. Payoffs. Nepotism. Look at the data scrapes about who lives in below-margin houses, who gets caught in house fires, who is likely to be broken and bankrupt, maybe repeatedly, who gets shot by big men in bullet-proof vests. A small constant heartbeat of disaster is part of below- standard living. A growing stratus of resentment, hatred, and outrage grows about people of color being targeted by police, then grows into responding violence, maybe in mobs. Like the signs of stress in animals, the signs can persist in society for a long time without being particularly noticed, until they bloom into deeply rooted conditions.
So for a few centuries some people were never entirely male or entirely female, but with an assortment of variations in the middle. When constraints were no longer imposed by coitus, the boundaries were broken and these "Other" people found each other, named each other, became a cultural force strong enough to be mercantilized. (Buy a rainbow.)
Enormous wealth, or the appearance of it, the markers of it (criminal impunity, cleverness without intelligence, women who are physically admired by the media, gaming, a host of "fix-it" guys and gals) has been a hallmark of the Americas from first contact. Gold, mostly. Timber, fur, oil, certain foods. Some of these uber-wealth people will be fake, like Trump and his comb-over. Some will be people of good taste and generosity to the nation -- let's say Carnegie, thinking of libraries. We should think about what made the difference.
Then we find out that today's atrocities are every day's atrocities. I'm on the internet with a lot of Western Canada tribes who are highly aware that their children are still removed without real justification and either thrown into warehouses or handed over to foster parents. (They prefer to point to TB hospitals.) This was also the practice in America and still is. When the Victorian Industrial Revolution hit the British Isles, killing adults before they finished raising their children, killing everyone through plague famine (Irish potatoes), the children managing to live in the streets were rounded up and sent throughout the Commonwealth to be "servants" and -- with luck -- adopted. My aunt's mother was one of them. My mother-in-law's Quebec family took in one of them. (We're all white, but it's telling that I have to say so.) Oddly, the descendants feel stigmatized, somehow shamed that over a century ago this happened. It's still a secret.
Of course, you've seen the photos of the indigenous children in North America taken from their homes -- sometimes violently -- and lined up in rows to be dressed just alike and forced into being "white." Maybe you saw a movie called "Sent Down Girl" about the Chinese children "deported" from school careers to herd animals in back country to keep them humble. Something similar happened in Australia. "The Rabbit-Proof Fence."
Rationalizations become ever more fantastic, farther from reality, more inclined to superstition (called religion). I just heard what "Angel Families" are, the families of people whose relatives were purportedly murdered by illegal immigrants. Turns out some were, some weren't.
I reckon that Trump got the idea that Central American Catholics are a superstitious bunch and aren't afraid of death. So he's busy setting himself up to be a Saint by recognizing their grief. I guess he hasn't read the stories about what happened to saints when they were finally "sainted." Once again he's playing with fire while's flammable. He forgets that Lucifer was also an Angel, though he didn't die of thirst in the desert while trying to get to the United States. The way it works, you see, is that it's the SAINT who's supposed to suffer. The Angels cut both ways. That is, they are dangerous.