Back in the days when Margaret Thatcher was an ambitious up-and-coming politician eager to make her mark as a Conservative cabinet member by cutting benefits and services, she instituted polices that resulted (as I recall) in children having less access to milk. This led to chants of ‘Maggie Thatcher, milk snatcher’. The Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen also seems anxious to make her mark in conservative politics by showing how mean she can be with her enthusiastic embrace of Donald Trump’s cruel politics and rhetoric towards immigrants. Those policies have led to 3,700 children already being separated from their parents with no idea of how to reunite them that have led to the slogan “Kirstjen Nielsen, child snatcher!” which does not rhyme but is apt nonetheless.
Protestors are outside of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Alexandria townhouse, playing audio of the detained children. She appears to be still be home. pic.twitter.com/akIcxOcM3q
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 22, 2018
This has led to some pearl clutching among the elites who fret that the political world and the private world should be kept separate and that even if you implement the most odious policies, you should be able to go around in public and be treated with the deference to which you are accustomed, as if nothing is wrong. This is of course, a variant of the ‘civility’ movement that conservatives love to promote, who go on to say that protesting obnoxious speech and a violation of the speaker’s free speech rights.
But should one be completely immune to the consequences of one’s speech and actions? Most people have no contact with the elites who design and implement these policies. We are not part of the press corps, nor are we invited to discuss things with them in the media. These people live in bubbles, driving around in glass-tinted limousines. There are very few opportunities for ordinary people to tell them to their faces how they feel. Is it undoubtedly annoying to go to a restaurant to eat and find people heckling you because of what you are doing? Yes it is. Is it upsetting to go to a restaurant and have them say they do not want you there because they think you are an awful person, as Trump press spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders found out? Yes, it undoubtedly is. But not being able to have a leisurely meal in a restaurant is a complaint of the elites. It is only annoying, nothing more. It would be wrong to take such actions against anyone because of who they are, based on their gender or race or ethnicity or sexual orientation because that cannot be changed. But people’s words and actions can be changed and sometimes it is public opprobrium, angrily expressed, that is needed to break through their cocoon and let them know how angry people feel.
For the elites, politics is a game because it does not really adversely affect them personally. Even the talking heads on TV who seem to loudly disagree with each other, often proudly state how well they get along privately in the green rooms. It is all academic to them, a show put on for the rubes who watch. And they want to carry that protective cocoon around with them in their everyday lives too, even with the rest of the public who do not have the luxury of their own cocoon but suffer from the actions of those who live in them and who inflict trauma on the children who have been separated from their parents.
It apparently is also the case that young people who work in the Trump administration are facing considerable hostility as they try to navigate the Washington DC social scene.
Of course, like all highly privileged people, they tend to whine about the slightest inconvenience or slight they receive. I have little sympathy for them. Can’t get a date because you work for Trump? Cry me a river.