Yesterday, President Trump hosted a roundtable of politicians and law enforcement officials to discuss their opposition to so-called “sanctuary cities.” During the conversation, Trump responded to a question about certain gang members with an answer that said this of “people trying to come into” the country: “These aren’t people. These are animals.” This isn’t the first time Trump has used dehumanizing rhetoric to refer to immigrants, and it probably won’t be the last. Unfortunately, Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric echoes other historical moments when such language was used as a precursor to or justification for violence and genocide: Hutu propaganda called Tutsis “cockroaches” leading up the genocide in Rwanda, Nazis referred to Jewish people as “rats” before the Holocaust, and popular media and government officials equated Japanese individuals to rats during the time of internment camps.
Trump says a lot of offensive things, often targeted at people with disabilities, women, and communities of color. But these latest comments should not and cannot just be added to the long list of insults made by the President of the United States. The dehumanization of others has sinister implications that all of us must fiercely fight so that we can ensure that the atrocities committed in the past are not repeated today.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Nobody Is Above The Law. Today marks the one-year anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s selection to lead the Trump-Russia investigation. Mueller’s investigation is still going strong, despite several threats from Trump along the way. If Trump fires Mueller or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, get ready to stand up and speak out. Head to TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org and join over 300,000 people across the country to #ProtectMueller.
Battle For The Net. Yesterday, all Senate Democrats—with the help of Republican Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Kennedy—voted to restore FCC net neutrality rules. The Obama-era net neutrality rules banned internet providers from slowing or blocking content and “ensured equal treatment for all web traffic.” The vote is a major win for progressive groups that have spent the last five months organizing to undo the FCC’s December repeal of net neutrality. The fight, however, is far from over. The petition to restore net neutrality rules will now be considered before the House, where there is strong Republican support for the original repeal. A free and open internet is essential in the 21st century—and the fight must continue to ensure its protection.
Rally In Raleigh. North Carolina teachers gathered in Raleigh on Wednesday to demand better pay and benefits, along with increased general education funding and cost-of-living adjustments. North Carolina ranks 37th in the nation in teacher pay, and “when adjusted to inflation, teachers in the state make less than they did a decade ago.” The teachers joined the recent push across the country for better teacher pay and treatment, though the actions in North Carolina didn’t take the same form as the long strikes in states like Oklahoma; the teachers took a personal day to gather in Raleigh and speak out for vital resources for teachers, students, and schools.
Trump Campaign’s Voter Suppression Project. Yesterday former Cambridge Analytica employee, Chris Wylie, said Steve Bannon worked with his former employer to actively deploy “voter disengagement tactics” that targeted black voters. During his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary committee, he went on to say that Bannon “sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics.”
Segregate Your Opinion. Today is the 64th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board decision that led to the forced desegregation of many schools. History has shown that integrating schools is the most effective way to close the racial achievement gap, yet school zone boundaries that mirror housing segregation and reliance on local property taxes work to advantage one group of students over another. Recently, two of Trump’s federal judicial nominees refused to answer a simple question: Do you think Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided? Wendy Vitter and Andrew Oldham are both are up for votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The reluctance of these nominees to unequivocally declare that forced desegregation was appropriate is a dangerous sign of regression under a president who consistently spews xenophobic and racist rhetoric.
Converting The Law. Tuesday, Maryland became the 11th state to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth when Republican Governor Lawrence J. Hogan signed the Youth Mental Health Protection Act into law. Conversion therapy is a heinous practice—and one with which Vice President Mike Pence has a dubious record—which attempts to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through “psychological intervention.” It has been widely condemned by the medical community as extreme, harmful, and ineffective. Hawaii and New Hampshire have already passed similar bills that just need their respective governor’s signatures to become law, and anti-conversion therapy bills were introduced in a total of 24 states this year.