For those near and far who’ve completely lost their sense of proportion and reality in these barely United States, allow me to provide some perspective.
Reality: Because of Trump Administration and complicit Republican immigration policies, thousands of people are suffering and some are dying. Our government is abusing children in grisly camps. Trump stokes a furnace of hate and racism that plays out here and across the nation.
Reality: A large, peaceful protest Friday at an Aurora GEO immigrant prison was disrupted by some puerile protesters. Out of about 2,000 protesters, a couple of dozen trespassed, and then provocatively and stupidly lowered American and Colorado flags. They replaced them with a Mexico flag and an anti-police banner.
Those two things should not under any circumstances warrant equal outrage.
It is indisputable that the American government has mishandled its illegal and legal immigration problems to the point that we now hold children, pulled from their parents, in filthy, disease-ridden cages. We threaten to rip resident families apart because of their citizenship status, enveloping millions of Americans and American immigrants with panic and fear. In Aurora, we imprison people at a warehouse. Most have not committed any crime, but they are subjected to slave-like treatment, cruelty, and conditions that jeopardize their health. Many of these people were brought here as children and know no other life other than an American one.
The Aurora GEO facility has operated for years in secret, and only now has Aurora Congressman Jason Crow been able to gain some access to the facility, which clearly operates under virtually nonexistent oversight.
Yet the antics of juvenile scofflaws, who disrupted the largest of dozens of protests that have been held at the Aurora prison for years, have caused uproar. It was this lame stunt that provoked an unbalanced and in some cases unhinged response from elected officials and others here and across the nation.
Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler took to the Twitterverse early Saturday with this incensed shot.
“Whoever did this is a despicable, anti-American person,” Brauchler said in a tweet that was later followed by an expansion of the horror of stunt. “If it was an illegal alien, they must be deported. Cowards wearing masks defacing our flag. This conduct should be condemned by every area elected official. Let’s see who stays silent.”
Gov. Jared Polis on Saturday tweeted out a response to these histrionics, based on reality.
“Of course I condemn the desecration of our flag, who wouldn’t?” Polis said in a tweet that included pictures of the abusive conditions. “Now will you condemn the ongoing and even more serious offense to our flag and values of putting children in cages and tearing families apart?”
It’s a reality Brauchler and other local and national Republicans have lost their grasp on.
What people like Brauchler and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are apoplectic about isn’t that we repugnantly abuse tens of thousands of humans in an incompetent and insidious immigrant system of gulags and camps. They are incensed because of video showing some of the protesters brazenly walking past a “no trespassing” sign and taking down a U.S. flag, a Colorado flag and a GEO prison banner. They then raised a Mexico flag, some kind of anti-police banner and what appeared to be, and was erroneously reported to be, an upside-down American flag that had been defaced with spray-painted anti-police profanity.
We made that mistake, too. When we filed our first story at about 8 p.m. Friday we reported that the U.S. flag was flown in distress fashion, upside down.
We were accused of trying to soft pedal the story and put trespassing vandals in a better light.
As it turned out, it’s not a U.S. flag at all causing the consternation. It’s a Thin Blue Line banner, which looks like an American flag. Sort of. It’s black-and-white stars-and-bars with a blue bar in the center. The banners are sold on Ebay and Amazon and support police officers. There are similar banners with red stripes to support firefighters. Protesters apparently spray-painted red police-slurs on the banner and then hanged it upside down.
This is all complicated by brief flashes of an Antifa banner carried by one person. Aurora police are investigating trespassing and other allegations, but it’s unclear if anyone identifying with the leftist, often violent, extremists were involved.
There was nothing misleading or un-objective about our story. It laid out the events as they happened.
It was an incendiary and ridiculous stunt, especially since Aurora and Denver police are practically militant in making sure everyone knows they do not enforce immigration law and will not assist ICE in doing so. In fact, Aurora and Denver are regularly accused of being “sanctuary cities” because of their positions on ICE.
And no one, myself included, provided any snark at the time to point out to trespassers that all of the El Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Guatemalan and South American immigrants held inside the GEO prison would be as impressed by the inane Mexico flag thing as most everyone else was. A point missed by the trespassers is that these “illegals” want to be American citizens, but they can’t get there.
Organizing protesters from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and even three Aurora councilwomen there, were aghast that someone would hijack the peaceful protest for a vapid stunt of misdemeanor vandalism.
It was not terrorism. It was not treason. It was not any of the hyperventilating, pearl-clutching invectives that are clearly being used as a distraction from what is worthy of so much consternation: human rights abuse at the hands of the United States government.
Don’t take my word for it, listen to the nation’s most persistent and professional Trump toady: Vice President Mike Pence.
“Tough stuff,” is how, after a visit Saturday exposing inhumane ICE immigrant camp conditions, Pence described what his own government calls “a ticking time bomb.”
Although reporters were removed after just 90 seconds with Pence on a tour of the repulsive camp, they saw plenty.
An AP story said that men had gone weeks without bathing. They were allowed to brush their teeth once a day. Guards wore surgical masks. The “cages” were so overcrowded, that “not all of the men could lie down on the concrete at the same time.”
Meanwhile, Trump has been bragging about nationwide ICE raids, including those planned here in the metro area to begin Sunday. Tens of thousands of families now live in fear of being scooped up or drawn into these raids. No doubt these immigrants will quickly move into the shadows. They’ll keep children home from school and avoid police. They’ll diminish their own lives and all of ours.
The result is the treatment of all Latinos as second-class citizens.
The Trump camps, border wall and ICE raids isn’t desperately needed immigration reform. It’s racism. It’s cruelty. It’s inhumane. It’s unforgivable.
And it’s unnecessary. Congress has all the tools it needs to create a fair immigration system that provides a safe and certified home for millions, some as citizens, some as certified workers, some as visitors. We have the means to create a more secure border by ensuring that only documented workers and citizens are able to take jobs in the United States.
Abusing children and other immigrants is inhumane and un-American. Storming a flag pole and vandalizing flags while wearing a hoodlum mask is the stupidity of delinquent ass hats.
Those who can’t see the difference between those things have, however, become part of the problem.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]