I constantly labor under the false hope that there is a floor.
At some point, I say as I lie to myself, we will reach the bottom and our country will no longer descend to all new moral and ethical lows.
We aren’t there yet.
It’s hard to think of a public relations nightmare worse than snatching children from their parents and holding them in cages. After the initial reports of kiddie jails, we found out it was even worse. There were “tender age” facilities to jail infants and toddlers.
If you want to know how Americans are feeling about the issue, even congressional Republicans who have avoided criticizing President Donald Trump at all costs began asking him to change his policy — which at first was not happening, then was happening but was not a policy, then it was Obama’s policy, then was Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new policy, and then was kind of not a policy again after Trump signed a document that made some temporary modifications to the administration’s draconian decision.
Even Ted Cruz wrote legislation to show his voters in Texas that he was against the policy. Sen. Cruz knew this Trump policy was a huge threat to him in Texas. Cruz didn’t want to face election in November as the guy who was fine with the government kidnapping and caging kids.
It would be hard to find a public relations situation that would be more nightmarish.
But once again, this administration found a way.
First Lady Melania Trump was chosen to be the face of the administration’s compassionate response to the children they separated from their parents.
What could go wrong? Melania is a loving mother and incredibly photogenic.
Who better for a vapid photo op to try to change a narrative?
It seemed like a good plan, but it didn’t go very well.
The fashion model known for her taste in high-dollar outfits chose a $39 jacket to wear on a trip from very warm Washington D.C. to even warmer Texas.
When it is barely in the mid-80s, nothing feels better than a nice warm jacket.
Of course, unless you live under a rock, you know that this was no fashion piece. The 48-year-old woman chose a jacket with a message scrawled on the back.
“I don’t really care, do you?” was the message she chose to display as she went to visit caged migrant children.
Some might find it ironic that the first lady would share such a sentiment, considering her own status as an immigrant at one point in her life.
Her own spokesperson said there was no “hidden message” in her choosing the jacket. That is kind of true. The message wasn’t hidden.
Her husband saw a fire brewing and he decided to bring his flamethrower to try to help. He completely refuted the First Lady’s spokesperson.
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!” Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon.
I think the one thing we all want from people in power is to know they “truly no longer care.”
You would think with all the practice, the president would be better at lying by now. He made a real rookie mistake there. He could have focus grouped a few more lines and found a much better spin. He chose to go with the low-hanging fruit and just beat the dead “fake news” horse that his cult loves so much.
There is no chance that I will ever believe that with dozens of people preparing the First Lady for the day that the topic of “Are you sure this jacket is a good idea?” didn’t come up. Wearing it was intentional and horrible.
It was a chance for the administration to reclaim some level of humanity after a humanitarian crisis of their own making. Instead, that cheap jacket was costly.
The administration continued to show that they don’t care.
I didn’t believe in the Blue Wave theory before. I thought Democrats were being overly hopeful and the Republicans would keep their hold on Congress without a problem in November.
This issue will and should drive people away from the Republican Party. Even Steve Schmidt — who has made a living supporting and promoting Republican candidates for decades — renounced his membership in the party and will now be a conservative Independent.
He isn’t alone.
Trump will always have the support of his small number of supporters. Nothing — not even caged children — has proven a bridge too far for the true believers.
But for those who want more for the party and the country, just Trump shouting “Space Force” and hugging flags isn’t enough.
November will be rough for Republicans with policies like these being featured in 30-second ads for their opponents.
I have worked on campaigns. These ads write themselves.
“Representative XYZ did nothing while this atrocity happened at our nation’s border.” There will be those who say, “Good, they’re illegals. We owe them nothing.”
But the majority of people still see human beings who are made in the image of God, and deserve the respect that affords.
Barring some unforeseen changes, the Blue Wave is coming and the Republicans deserve it. As a member of the GOP, I’m not disappointed. The party needs an intervention to remember George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light and George W. Bush’s Compassionate conservatism.
They weren’t perfect — not even close. But they weren’t cruel. They had souls.
They cared. Do you?
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at email@example.com.