No Other Option

CBP is refusing to abide by the terms of the judicial orders handed down last night in four separate federal courts, according to multiple reports each from JFK, IAD, LAX, and SFO. Logan is the only major port of entry that is reported to be complying at this time.

The administration has put out multiple statements claiming that the orders do not interfere with their ability to enforce the EO in the face of clear language in each to the contrary.

And while all this has been happening, Donald signed another EO booting both the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Council and adding Steve Bannon as a regular attendee. Keep in mind that the statutorily required members are the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Energy—so if the initial picks are all confirmed, Tillerson, Mattis, and Rick Perry. (Michael Flynn, our favorite fake news enthusiast and yet another potential administration link to Russia, is also on the council by virtue of being National Security Advisor.)

It should be clear at this point that the administration will not be deterred from anything that will keep their agenda in force if they feel like they can get away with it for the time being. Regardless of the philosophical ramifications, the practical reality is that the rule of law is arguably now a necessary, but not a sufficient tool, in forcing compliance with the fundamental guarantees of this country. And compliance with the fundamental guarantees of this country is not up for debate.

We must give them no other option.

There are 48 senators that caucus with the Democrats. 48 of them have voted to confirm at least one nominee of the four that have received full votes. Several have been reported to be walking sideways on Jeff Sessions, who failed to even receive a full Senate vote when he was nominated to be a federal judge and has repeatedly criticized the Voting Rights Act, a law that was passed as a result of the sacrifice of civil rights heroes in his own home state. Sessions has, with a straight face, honored those who marched at Selma while refusing to recognize the value of their goal.

The impulse to afford any new actor at least a modicum of the benefit of the doubt is typically admirable and commendable. Given the actions of the administration in the first eight days, it should be clear that they no longer deserve that luxury. As the most powerful branch of the opposition party, the Senate should recognize that every inch they yield will be seized upon by the administration and used to its fullest extent, if they are given the chance. Their job should be to stand tall, push back, and cede nothing.

We must give them no other option.

Nearly 63 million people voted for Donald. The Richard Spencers of the world may have done it for overtly bigoted reasons. The remainder were able to at least overlook the humanity of certain people in order to indulge their own concerns, whether economic in nature, national security related, or pertaining to women’s rights.

For many of them, the struggles of a Black mother whose husband is in prison on exaggerated charges are entirely theoretical. For many of them, irrational yet sincere fears of refugee terrorism have become deeply ingrained. For many of them, promises of government streamlining and faster growth are enough to set aside civil rights concerns that they might recognize but do not live daily. For many of them, the realities of illegal and unsafe abortions are diminished by the assumption that the existence of the rule of law will reduce their incidence, even as the hypothetical itself is grounded on unsupportable notions of how the law works to deter.

George W. Bush left office with a 22 percent approval rating. Donald enters with an average roughly double that. It is possible for the vast majority of this country, including those who may currently support Donald, to recognize the inhumanity of an unjust administration. That is necessary, but we must push ahead and challenge them (and also ourselves) to recognize the humanity of all.

We must give them no other option.

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