“Look what you made me do.”

The New Yorker: The Language of the Trump Administration Is the Language of Domestic Violence. By Jessica Winter, June 11, 2018.

Look what you made me do has emerged as the dominant ethos of the current White House. During the 2016 Presidential race, many observers drew parallels between the language of abusers and that of Trump on the campaign trail. Since his election, members of the Trump Administration have learned that language, too, and nowhere is this more vivid than in the rhetoric they use to discuss the Administration’s policies toward the Central American immigrants crossing the U.S. border. Informally since last summer, and officially since April 6th, the Department of Homeland Security has been separating parents from their children at the border, taking the parents into criminal custody and handing the children over to the Department of Health and Human Services to be placed in shelters and foster families, sometimes thousands of miles away from their parents. The process is compounded in its brutality by its perhaps intentional disorder, as a Boston Globe piece detailed on Sunday: parents in custody often have no idea where their children are, how to get them back, or if or when they will see them again.

[…]

There has always been a sickening intimacy to Trump’s insults and cruelties, whether he was sexualizing his daughter or sexually humiliating and physically dominating Hillary Clinton during the second Presidential debate. For many observers, especially women, that debate—coming days after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape—triggered a fight-or-flight response, unleashing their own memories of harassment and abuse. And, for many observers, especially parents, the news coverage of the atrocities being committed at the border in the name of American prosperity and security triggers a similar physiological response—except that this time the trigger is instantiated by sadistic, totalitarian force. (I cannot be the only mother of small children who slept on the floor of her kids’ room the night that “All In with Chris Hayes” reported on a baby seized from his parents, one week past his first birthday.) A slow, quiet terror continues to spread through the American populace. We are all being made into complicit bystanders in Trump’s violence. We are all members of Trump’s toxic, traumatizing family now.”

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