I am a father. My ten-year-old child is the center of everything I do. Pretty much every effort I make and each breath I take is in the service of keeping my child safe and healthy.
If I were unfortunate enough to live in a place where war, gang violence, or other social upheaval caused my child’s life to be in danger, I would, like all decent parents, turn the world upside down to move my family to a safe place, a place where there was hope.
I was inspired largely by my life-role of father to write my second novel. In The Rabbit Skinners several young children are kidnapped–brutally ripped away from their parents. The villains in my novel are not of the species of monsters typically inhabiting novels on this theme. The perverts. The psychopaths. Instead, they are animated by the same malignancy now rotting away the ideals of America.
My novel’s villains want to change America to a country where people’s worth is determined by their race and country of origin. They are the sort of monsters who would be very happy with a “zero-tolerance” policy. They would enthusiastically vote for and slaveringly follow Donald Trump.
My novel’s villains are neo-Nazis.
Separating migrant children from their parents at the border, or mandating prosecution of every migrant attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally, is a “solution” that appeals only to bigots and fools. The transparent lies Trump tells (sorry, tweets) to dissemble and deflect and confuse are even more pathetic because his flat-earther followers often really believe him. Trump could shoot someone in the street and his supporters would still, with glazed eyes and lolling mouths, follow him. He could suggest he’s the second coming of Jesus, and many of his followers would actually believe him (his right hand going up and down while doing that neurological thumb-to-forfinger circle, lips in a fat, wrinkled ring: “I dunno…who knows? But I gotta say! People are saying that I’m very very great…you never know, right? Who knows? I don’t! But a lotta people are saying! I could very very much be the son of God”).
It’s probably not technically accurate to say that American democracy is dead, but it’s certainly on a life support machine. Our wannabe dictator-messiah is clawing at the machine’s power cord to rip it from its socket.