This is not satire. This is the White House’s official site. When I first saw this post shared on Twitter, I thought it was fake. A send-up using Trump’s language describing gang members as “animals.”
I was wrong.
As I perused the Immigration section of the site, I also noticed the use of terms like “Catch and Release,” to describe a practice of releasing detained immigrants after they have been apprehended. As you likely know. “catch & release” is a term used to describe releasing fish after they’ve been caught.
(In case you need a biology refresher, fish are non-human animals.)
I consider myself to be to the right of most of my friends on topics of immigration and crime. I support secure borders and controls on who gets to enter and work in this country. I have no use for gangs or criminal activity and favor strong penalties for criminal behavior.
This does not mean, however, that I believe that the highest office in the United States doesn’t have to carefully watch the language that it uses in official communications with the public. I believe that government officials, and their offices, have a responsibility to use measured language that does not inflame prejudices.
I also believe that government officials, and their offices, have a responsibility to use measured language to describe even the most despised members of society. Even if those members are rightly despised by other members of society.
Despite my distress at many of the communications offered by various government officials during this administration, I’ve tried to stay reasonably quiet. This is in part because, as a writer, I know when a communication is designed to throw someone off-kilter. I’ve seen people ejaculate rage time and again, as if on cue, in response to statements, events, and incidents.
I’ve tried to avoid participation in this dynamic because I know that my expressed outrage plays into the hands and plans of those who seek to do me, and many others, harm.
But I also know that there is a time to express, ideally in measured tones, profound dismay at a profoundly wicked agenda. For me, this is that time.
The language used on the White House website is not accidental. It does, in fact, satisfy certain impulses and inclinations within many people who will read this piece and agree with it. It even touches certain impulses and inclinations in those who will read it and vehemently disagree with it, likely triggering feelings of rage, fear, and helplessness.
There is nothing accidental or incidental about this White House blog post. Nothing. Use this knowledge as you will.
[The above is a post originally made on Facebook.]