I don't mean to sucker punch you with a dose of what 2019 is like but we need to talk about white nationalism, again. For real.
Stephen Miller, a far-right senior policy advisor and speechwriter for President Trump, was the subject of an expose by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which obtained a cache of 900-plus emails, many of which include links to white nationalist publications from 2015 to 2016.
The fact that this high-up political official seems to advocate for fascism and conspiracy theories alone is troubling. But just wait, there's more! If you look into Miller's governmental context, you won't be surprised by his recent email release. His actions are consistent with his views — consistently racist, that is.
Let's take a look at Miller's Resume:
1. Miller reportedly worked to undermine former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Michele Nielsen before her resignation. Trump is reported to have felt Nielson was too soft on immigration, which speaks to the severity of Trump because she still defended his infamous and ongoing family separation policy. Even though Nielsen obviously was not progressive, Miller was against her relatively more moderated approach. Nielsen submitted her resignation as secretary of homeland security on April 7, 2019, only two days after the president broadcasted that he wanted to go in a "tougher" direction on immigration.
2. Moreover, that aforementioned child separation policy that everyone and their moms were upset about? You guessed it! This program is the brainchild of Miller, the architect for Trump's immigration policy that sought to circumnavigate court-ordered protections for migrant children.
3. In a move that seems more juvenile than should be socially acceptable for someone who looks like he's Benjamin Buttoning, Miller jokingly proposed that ICE should release immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities of political opponents, like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
4. In line with Miller's direction, U.S. refugee programs were cut by about half in October 2019. This reality did not happen in a vacuum but is unbeknownst to many due to underreporting. Systems set up to aid people fleeing their country have been dwindling for the entire Trump term. Little by little, we shut ourselves off from helping refugees. So much so, that last month, no new refugees were admitted to the U.S. for the first time in modern history.
5. Miller went on television to defend the president's foreign and domestic policies and we ended up with this gem of a quote on America's checks and balances:
"President Trump is displaying the strength of America to the whole world. Our opponents and the media… will soon see that the powers of the president… will not be questioned".
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In essence, a staffer with radical views on immigrants, refugees, and the power of the administration has the ear of the leader of the free world.
Let me speak the language of businessmen like President Trump: one is only as good as the company that he/she keeps. If Donald Trump is the symbolic figurehead of a sharp right turn in U.S. politics, Stephen Miller stands as a root cause.
I'll go back to my main call to action: we need to talk about white nationalism. This responsibility primarily falls on the hunched, tired shoulders of journalists, who report on current events that are decidedly important for American citizens. Additionally, advocacy groups have a place in maintaining justice in our country. For instance, the NAACP made a stand in an open letter to the administration. In this correspondence, the group urged the removal of Miller.
"Supporters of white supremacists and neo-Nazis should not be allowed to serve at any level of government."
Even if you aren't involved in politics, or consider yourself a "political person," you're not exactly off the hook. Whether you are more philosophically Democratic or Republican, as citizens, we ought not to distractedly move on from an unethical reality, otherwise, nothing good will be accomplished.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals the point concisely,
"It's really just a matter of sticking to it and not allowing this to fall out of the media cycle".
Active bigotry is one type of evil, but impassiveness (and by extension, concession) are the secret ingredients of devolution. The haste at which we move on from every instance of anti-civil rights legislation only serves to show us how much hate we've learned to tolerate.