“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass

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On July 5, 1852, the famed American abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered a speech in Rochester, New York’s Corinthian Hall. Making this speech in front of then US President Millard Fillmore and other notable figures in the country, Douglass equates the treatment of slaves of that of the Americans under British rule and persuades them to help the slaves break free like they helped themselves. Like today, the concept of oppression is a strong one for Americans everywhere, which Douglass doesn’t tread lightly. In fact, he uses the country’s rich but then short history to show Americans how badly they treat their fellow countrymen in bondage. While he reminds them they were once treated as slaves, he stresses his view that slaves and Americans are the same and they’re fighting the same fight as they did back in the 1770s. And since slaves are human beings, they should be treated as such. In addition, while Douglass doesn’t speak against religion in general, he does criticize white American Christianity and how white Christian churches deal with slavery in which he expresses outrage on many sects’ utter lack of responsibility and egregious religious hypocrisy. But he believes that the United States doesn’t have to stay the way it is. The country can progress like it did before during the American Revolution and through religion, which he sees as the problem as well as the main solution. At least once people realize that they aren’t living true to what they say they believe and what the Bible actually says. Since while white Americans may be so proud of their country while rejoicing freedom and liberty, they deny these very things to millions of its residents.

Given that Douglass was born and raised a slave and among the few who was educated and broke free, he gives this speech as a fellow US citizen and a slave fighting for freedom for everyone.While the US is said to be built on the idea of freedom and liberty, Douglass shows that it’s more than anything built on inconsistencies that have been overlooked for so long that they now look like truths. And because of these inconsistencies in the country’s way of duty, it’s made the name “The United States of America,” one of mockery and often held in contempt. But if the nation just abolished slavery and give rights to all Americans, it will no longer be the case. Nonetheless, in the end, Douglass keeps his hope and faith in humanity high since he believes slavery’s end is near and that you can’t stop progress. For knowledge is too available and appeasing to shoo away when its services are inconvenient. And he believes that Americans will soon open their eyes and see the atrocities they’ve been inflicting on their fellow countrymen.

While slavery may be over for 150 years, its appalling legacy still remains in racism, oppression, mass incarceration, and discrimination. Today, the United States is under the leadership of a contemptible man who cares nothing for the country for which he leads nor its people. With Donald Trump in the White House undermining our democracy, poisoning our public discourse, smearing our institutions, crippling our government, debasing our sacred values, inflicting terror on the marginalized and putting us through a horrifying nightmare nobody can escape from, celebrating the Fourth of July doesn’t inspire the same patriotic spirit it once had. Even worse, people I know and care about continue to support this unrepentant con artist who’ll only swindle them in the end if he hasn’t already, which only riles me with anger, outrage, and disgust. I’ve copied and pasted this speech on this post for you since it reflects the mixed feelings many Americans like myself have in regards to the present state of affairs at this very dark time.

 

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable — and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say, I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands.

According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgement, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy.

Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

“Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day — cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.
The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime.

The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too — great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them!

Fully appreciating the hardship to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait — perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans, and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans, if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

THE PRESENT.

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and his cause is the ever-living now.

“Trust no future, however pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within, and God overhead.”

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men, shout — “We have Washington to our father.” Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is.

“The evil that men do, lives after them,
The good is oft’ interred with their bones.”

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him?

Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgement is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man, (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, there will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and lo offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength, than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is past.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

INTERNAL SLAVE TRADE

Take the American slave-trade, which, we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year, by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states, this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government, as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words, from the high places of the nation, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade, as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the laws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our DOCTORS OF DIVINITY. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish themselves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh-jobbers, armed with pistol, whip and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field, and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-chilling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man, with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul! The crack you heard, was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard, was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shocking gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me citizens, WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed CASH FOR NEGROES. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number have been collected here, a ship is chartered, for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains, and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathised with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

“Is this the land your Fathers loved,
The freedom which they toiled to win?
Is this the earth whereon they moved?
Are these the graves they slumber in?”

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented.

By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason & Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your lawmakers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics, enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there are neither law, justice, humanity, not religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes MERCY TO THEM, A CRIME; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American JUDGE GETS TEN DOLLARS FOR EVERY VICTIM HE CONSIGNS to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side, is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe, having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise and cummin”— abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to solicit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner.

Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old Covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox, to the beautiful, but treacherous queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country, (with fractional exceptions), does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy and faith.”

THE CHURCH RESPONSIBLE

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation — a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgement; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish slavery. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared — men, honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The LORDS of Buffalo, the SPRINGS of New York, the LATHROPS of Auburn, the COXES and SPENCERS of Brooklyn, the GANNETS and SHARPS of Boston, the DEWEYS of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land, have, in utter denial of the authority of Him, by whom they professed to he called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach “that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.”

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

RELIGION IN ENGLAND AND RELIGION IN AMERICA

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in England towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating, and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high[ly] religious question. It was demanded, in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, and Burchells and the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable, instead of a hostile position towards that movement. Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties), is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria, and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and bodyguards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation — a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you “hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

THE CONSTITUTION

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that the right to hold and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped

“To palter with us in a double sense:
And keep the word of promise to the ear,
But break it to the heart.”

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest imposters that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape. But I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length — nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq., by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerritt Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which, the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon, as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but, interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation, for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, common-sense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tell us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work The downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are, distinctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.”[13] In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered rights again
Restore.

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But all to manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
THAT HOUR WILL, COME, to each, to all,
And from his prison-house, the thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive–
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.

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I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters (Third Edition)

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Every year around the 4th of July (at least for the last two years), I’ve done a post of these old timey war propaganda posters which have become pop culture icons and occasionally internet memes. However, in late June I had to attend a wedding in Minnesota while a bunch of crazy stuff went on in the Trump administration, which I had to catch up on when I came back. So I’m running a little late with this. Anyway, unlike some of the propaganda outlets of today like Brietbart or Fox News, these war time posters weren’t really meant to deceive. If anything, they were more like Public Service Announcements stating that, “we’re all in this together,” especially the ones pertaining to WWII when the threat to survival was very real. At any rate, the artwork is always interesting to look at which is why they’re still in our public consciousness long after the wars they originated in have been long over. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another treasury of good old-fashioned wartime propaganda posters.

  1. He does his bit for 4 years so you buy bonds.

Since he’s Scottish, he wears a kilt in his uniform. Yes, I know it’s part of his heritage. But it’s not a great clothing choice to wear in the trenches.

2. “Hit Hard and often with the Marines!”

Apparently, this means bombing the shit out of some Japanese city. To be fair, we were at war with them at the time. But I kind of hate seeing beautiful architecture reduced to ruin though.

3. To prevent loose heads, inspect daily.

Because you don’t want a hammer to lose its head and land on your foot. Since it hurts like hell.

4. Work in construction? Join the Seabees.

These are US naval construction battalions. Yet, they seem to have among the least badass names ever.

5. Fight for Canada and stab bayonets into fire breathing vultures.

Well, I guess the black bird symbolizes Germany. Yet, while the Canadian soldier will beat the crap out of them, he’ll be polite about it.

6. “Every Time You Twist a Nut, Think of Hitler.”

I know they mean this in a mechanical sense. But you can also make an inside joke out of it, too.

7. If you’re Filipino, thank Japan for invading you.

Yes, the Philippines was a US territory at the time. And Japan is pointing out the US is playing they’re liberators from the Imperial oppressors angle. However, history shows us that this psychological tactic didn’t work.

8. Got tin cans, send them to the war effort.

Don’t forget to take off the labels and flatten them. Because you don’t want the salvage collector to reject them.

9. Serve those who served, become a VA nurse.

So you can treat soldiers who might be missing limbs and are suffering from PTSD. Yet, please don’t ask them about them watching their friends die.

10. The Army Corps of Engineers always clears the way.

So join up and you, too, could be a giant GI that would make Captain America look like a sissy. You’ll also get giant equipment, too.

11. “You’ll buy ’em, we’ll fly ’em!”

For this dead-eyed pilot needs all the ammo he needs to shoot at Messerschmitt’s. Buy bond stamps, please.

12. Join the Signal Corps where skill and courage count.

Because there needs to be some kind of communication among the burning rubble of Western Europe. Though I’m not sure what kind of horn can be heard above machine gun fire.

13. Can’t fight? Send money!

This is for the Canadian Patriotic Fund. And yes, Canada actually fought in both world wars.

14. Blot out the Hun with Liberty Bonds.

As far as propaganda posters are concerned, this was the easiest to design. Just a red hand print and typeface and voila.

15. Don’t pick up sultry ladies, soldiers, since they’re loaded with disease.

Indeed, even warnings on VD won’t stop soldiers from picking up prostitutes. Because many of them might be dead in the next fight anyway.

16. Hold up your end and send bonds!

Yet, not sure if this would help the nurse holding one end of a stretcher. Also, it’s for a bond fundraiser.

17. Are you Irish and Canadian? Join up and fight for Mom!

I’m sorry, but Whistler was neither Irish or Canadian. But that didn’t stop Canadians from using his painting as a recruitment poster.

18. “Grind These Heels in Our Wheels of US Production!”

Nowadays we just use robots to make the stuff. Unless they require some technical skill and engineering.

19. Join the military police of the troops and for the troops.

If being a soldier isn’t tough enough for you, then become a military cop to make sure your fellow men aren’t killing each other on their off-hours. May or may not be able to stop officers from committing war crimes.

20. Join a Volunteer Agricultural Camp to lend a hand on the land.

However, you’re unlikely to find any hunky man on the farm who’s neither terribly disabled or suffering from PTSD. Because those guys are overseas.

21. You came to this country, now help us preserve it. Save your wheat and food.

To be fair, there ware a lot of immigrants during WWI. So the image is warranted if you think otherwise.

22. Be an American Eagle and join the Army Air Service.

Disclaimer: New pilots will only receive limited training before combat. Also, average time in the air is 20 minutes.

23. Know a trade? Build for your Navy.

Yes, this is another Seabees poster. But this one is for the yards and docks where combat opportunities are limited.

24. Support the troops, send more fish.

Because fighting the German menace is more important than thinking about overfishing. Since fish is a fighting food.

25. “Dad, I’m off to war so you buy bonds!”

Since Johnny will have to leave his elderly father sooner or later. He’ll be drafted if he doesn’t volunteer.

26. Remember to practice safe SECS.

Meaning if you’re a soldier fighting, don’t give away certain info related to your job. Because the enemy can intercept it.

27. “Do it right, make it bite!”

So make bombs the right way to shoot down the enemy planes. Kind of a disturbing message to send.

28. Keep New Orleans safe, don’t talk about ship sailings.

Because a slip of the lip can sink a ship. For you don’t know who in New Orleans can be working for the Nazis.

29. Join WAVES and work on parachute strings.

Because someone has to make the parachutes strings straight on those Navy planes. So they’ll make a woman do it.

30. Pour that molten metal on to make the planes.

For the planes can’t make themselves. Also, don’t forget to put on your safety equipment. Though shirts are optional for some reason.

31. Keep America calm and stop needless noise.

Well, that’s something I can still get behind. Yet, this poster is telling Americans not to panic when everything goes to shit.

32. See that dead soldier? Well, he’s gone because of careless talk.

So keep your mouth shut and the next group of soldiers would be parachuting down alive. Understand?

33. Support your country, save waste paper.

Not sure what they’d use the waste paper for. But they also give instruction for packing certain types.

34. When America’s under threat, Lady Liberty draws her sword.

When Lady Liberty draws her sword, it’s really going to go down. Just look what the US did during the world wars.

35. Support the war effort and keep that lumber coming.

Since soldiers need to use all the wood they can get. Though the ones in the Pacific might be surrounded by jungle.

36. When you show up for work, you’re punching Hitler’s face.

So keep punching in every day. However, be careful with the munitions equipment that could send you to the hospital.

37. To win the war, more women must go to work.

But once the war’s over, women must leave their jobs for the men and settle down to be happy housewives. Kind of sucks if you think about it.

38. Soldiers, beware of the Juke Joint Sniper.

She’s also known as a prostitute or whore. And yes, she’s loaded with STDs.

39. Uncle Sam’s not done fighting yet.

So, Japan is next. And that would mean the US will drop a couple nukes on it until the country surrenders.

40. Support your country, build bombs and buy bonds.

Let’s hope she doesn’t cause an accident. Though her face does evoke some sadistic glee akin to a serial killer.

41. Make sure you can load and unload those docks fast.

Got to get those goods for the troops quick. Else, we’ll end up with Fascism.

42. When Columbia calls, men must enlist.

Funny, we don’t even use Columbia as Liberty anymore. Yet, she wields a flag and sword.

43. Save your country, donate your binoculars to the US Navy.

Since us looking for enemy U-boats is more important than spying on the neighbors and birdwatching. So send your binoculars, please.

44. Don’t forget to prepare for air raid protection.

Since you’ll never know whether the Germans will bomb the shit out of your hometown. Just ask the Brits.

45. Remember, that pickups might be full of STDs.

And these were meant for your grandparents’ generation. So I guess many didn’t keep it in their pants for their sweethearts back home.

46. Help us win the war so save your food.

Because all your food waste can be used to feed some hungry soldiers. And we need them well-fed to win.

47. Join the sub service to hit the Japanese where it hurts.

So join up living with a bunch of other guys like you in a cramped space to bring down Japanese aircraft carriers. Still, not exactly a nice place to be at.

48. Free speech doesn’t mean careless talk.

So use your freedom of speech wisely. Also, don’t talk around parrots.

49. Help win the war, invent for victory.

So if you have a more efficient idea about killing more people at a faster rate, give the US military a call. Hell, do it now.

50. We’ve just begun the fight, so join up.

Though this guy seems kind of frightened to me. Like he’s pleading for help than leading a charge.

51. Protect yourself since STDs are everywhere.

So remember, stay away from prostitutes. Or other scarlet women for that matter.

52. Support the war effort and build more B-24s.

It’s a bomber plane by the way. Still, if you’re assigned to one of these during WWII, best you write your last will and testament. Since they have a 50% survival rate.

53. Support the war effort by finding a job that fits you best.

Offer only valid until war ends. After that, women must give up their jobs for the menfolk. Because they belong in the kitchen according to their antiquated ideas.

54. Women, help our boys win the war and buy bonds.

Or else, this sweet old lady might feed you a poisoned pie. So send money.

55. Don’t boast till it’s over. Enemies also have their production machine going, too.

So best you don’t say anything until it’s all over. Whenever that is.

56. All you British ladies, come into the factories.

Just don’t blow yourself up and know you’ll only have that job until your man comes home. So keep calm and carry on.

57. Men of Britain, best you join up and stop air raids. Else, you’ll have your house bombed.

Of course, if you’re a guy during WWII, you’ll already fail miserably. Because we all know the Germans bombed the shit out of the UK. Though this one depicts a large airship for some reason.

58. In wartime, give all the help and comfort you can.

This is from the Jewish Welfare Board during WWI. But it would’ve worked just as well in WWII for obvious reasons.

59. Support your country and dig on for victory.

Since food rations for civilians can only go so far. So get on with your vegetable garden.

60. This summer of 1917, don’t forget to enlist since your country needs you.

If not, then expect Uncle Sam to look upon you in dismay. Also, you might get arrested for trying to buck the draft.

61. Your country needs you, join the Navy.

And yes, they use the woman in a naval uniform again. Despite that she won’t wear it in real life.

62. Are you a girl with a star-spangled heart? Be a WAC.

Look, ladies, you can join the Army, too. Of course, you won’t be assigned to combat duty. Because that’s men’s stuff.

63. Remember, sailors, don’t tell your date about naval operations.

After all, she could be German for all you know. Careless talk costs lives.

64. Are you a woman not doing vital work? Your country needs you now.

Because while the men are away, women need to step up. This is especially if they don’t have husbands or kids.

65. Are you playing square, soldier? Save gas.

Since the world only has a limited supply of oil. Best you save on your tank for the troops.

66. Only you can prevent forest fires and Fascism.

Kind of expecting Smokey the Bear to turn up at any moment. But he won’t be around till the 1950s.

67. Join the Marines to fight first in France for freedom.

Keep in mind you’ll be spending hours in some filthy trenches. Hope you don’t mind rats.

68. They have the guts, donate scrap metal.

Cause those tanks need all the scrap they could get. Not to mention, bullets are made of metal, too.

69. We can’t win the war without women.

Yes, you can’t win a war without women. But they still treated them like crap once it’s over.

70. Don’t crow or we lose the war.

And yes, there’s a giant rooster with the Axis Powers. So best keep your mouth shut and avoid careless talk.

71. Answer the call and join Pershing’s Crusaders.

But unlike their medieval counterparts, they don’t fight for their souls. And they spend more time in the trenches.

72. Support the men in the trenches. Enlist now.

Yeah, I know it’s a miserable experience with filth, disease, gunfire, and No Man’s Land. But your country needs you at the front. Still, the guy’s kind of creepy.

73. As Americans, we’ve always fought for liberty.

And it’s made no difference whether they’re Brits or Nazis. Yet, the uniforms and equipment have drastically changed.

74. Victory is always a question of stamina.

So send the troops your meats, fats, sugars, and anything laden with carbs. Since they need energy in the trenches.

75. When the empire is threatened, the lions must rise to the occasion.

Despite that it’s the lionesses who always do everything. Men, what can you do with them?

76. Women should always respond to the call of service for their country.

Yes, women, respond to the call of service. Your God-given right to vote can wait later. Since this is WWI poster.

77. Fight for your country, Australians, or the Germans will win.

Here they have Australia as New Germany. That should scare them into enlistment.

78. In America, free labor will always win.

Because American made weapons are top of their grade. Yet, we also have large multinational corporations willing to play both sides.

79. America beat the Germans before and we’ll beat them again.

However, this time they’re fighting for Der Fuhrer instead of the Kaiser. So it’s a bigger deal.

80. You never know who’s listening on the party line.

For it just as well could be Hitler for all you know. So no careless talk on the phone.

81. Support your country and join the Red Cross.

Sure they may be a great organization. But don’t mind its dubious reputation relating to corruption.

82. As FDR said, we must preserve hope. So buy bonds.

Not sure if this FDR image freaks me out. But he kind of reminds me of a mad scientist who’s about to experiment on some hapless trespasser in his castle.

83. This American soldier will go over the top for you.

And you see the soldier carrying the American flag. But in WWI, they’ll seldom go over the top. Since No Man’s Land is a real hell hole.

84. This woman’s husband is proud she did her part.

Well, at least he tries to be supportive. Though the expression reminds me of a man who’s struggling to feel secure with his masculinity. Yet, can’t help but feel a bit resentful over the whole thing.

85. Do your bit and get into the khaki.

Cause who else is going to fight in Gallipoli alongside a hot Mel Gibson? Sorry if I offended any Australian reading this.

86. Stop the black market. Don’t buy or sell on it.

Too bad there will always be a black market. And people will always make money on it.

87. British Empire soldiers always stand together.

That doesn’t mean the soldiers will get independence or be treated equally. But it’s WWI so it’s a recruitment tool.

88. America needs more nurses.

Here Uncle Sam gives a new nurse her hat. Now they wear scrubs.

89. While our men are at war, serve on the home front.

This is from Pennsylvania by the way. And there are some civilian organizations you can join, too.

90. Support the war effort, conserve energy.

Just remember there were no windmills, solar panels, and geothermal energy sources. So conserving fossil fuels is the only option.

91. Always remember that Hitler wants know.

So cut with the careless talk. Or you’ll help Hitler win the war.

92. It’s best to land with the US Marines.

But keep in mind, you wouldn’t want to fight with them on the Pacific. Because it’s a very violent place during WWII.

93. At night, it’s forward to victory.

For the German planes can bomb the shit out of Britain at any time in 1940. Best have the anti-aircraft gun ready at night.

94. Save energy and turn the gas down.

Guess most stoves were powered by natural gas. Seems like they should switch to electric.

95. This soldier lets his M-1 do the talking.

So in wartime, we must be careful on what we say. Or he’ll get riddled with bullets.

96. Why stand by during a brush fire? Fight the Germans back!

Because our effort needs all hands on deck. However, now our brushfire is the Trump administration. And too many are standing by watching our country burn thanks to Donald Trump, white supremacists, greedy corporations, and right-wing conspiracy nutjobs.

97. Save your coins, kids, and by war stamps.

And when little Jimmy turns 18, it’s straight to the trenches. But wars can’t win themselves, you know.

98. Support the troops, send money to the Red Cross.

Nowadays contributing to the Red Cross doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Yet, in this one, it acts like a shield for Lady Liberty.

99. Watch the ramparts, join the Army Air Forces.

And here he is holding a large bomb to be dropped in some city. But thanks to him, the skies won’t be so friendly.

100. Instead of dreaming of victory, fight for it! Buy bonds!

For soldiers can’t get on without stuff in the trenches. So send the US government money despite that they spend more on the military than anything else.

What Is Civility?

On Friday, June 22, 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to dine at a table reserved for 8 reserved in her husband’s name at a Lexington, Virginia restaurant called the Red Hen. When she arrived, restaurant employees called co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson asking what they should do. While she drove to the place, the staff served Sanders and the rest of her party cheese boards and took their orders. But once Wilkinson arrived, the workers took a vote, she asked Sanders to come outside, told her the restaurant has “certain standards” to uphold, “such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” and asked her to leave. Sanders complied along with the rest of her party who didn’t need to. They offered to pay, but Wilkinson told them it was, “on the house.”
Like many incidents these days, this episode found its way on the internet. An end-of-shift note appeared on Twitter with “86 – Sarah Huckabee Sanders” (an 86 meaning in restaurant lingo as someone who isn’t allowed to be served or an item that isn’t on the menu or in stock). A waiter wrote a Facebook post about serving Sanders “a total of 2 minutes” before the owner asked her to leave. On Saturday morning, the press secretary tweeted, “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.” Wilkinson told the Washington Post that she doesn’t regret her decision asking Sanders to leave, “We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one.”

Nonetheless, the Red Hen incident is the latest in a string of events where Trump administration officials have found themselves unwelcome in their efforts to dine out in peace. Last week, protestors confronted Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen at a Washington D.C. Mexican restaurant over the administration’s family separation policy. White House adviser and Josef Goebbels lookalike Stephen Miller was called a fascist while dining at another D.C. Mexican joint. But when the Red Hen’s owner politely asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her establishment, it ignited a debate over civility, political protest, and how Trump officials should be treated in public swirled over the weekend and spilled over that Monday. It was a fight pitting self-styled defenders of civility and political norms against angry progressives arguing that the Trump administration should be resisted by any means necessary, including confronting its officials in public. In fact, the Washington Post’s editorial board criticize the decision to refuse Sanders service as signifying the breakdown of civility and basic manners in American culture. They called for Sanders, Nielsen, and Miller to “be allowed to eat dinner in peace,” writing, “Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment in which only the most zealous sign up for public service.” Others, including Democratic California Congresswoman Maxine Waters argued administration officials have forfeited their right in expecting public niceties by aligning themselves with Donald Trump in the first place. As she told MSNBC, “I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it is wrong what they’re doing.”

At any rate, this public debate around the concept of civility in the political discourse is utterly ridiculous. For one, American politics are uncivil for as long as this country existed with countless incidents of political violence with those pertaining civil and labor rights being among the most contentious. During the Civil Rights Movement, you’ll find plenty of demonstrators jailed, beat up, or killed for peacefully standing up against racial segregation. The notion of a White House press secretary being asked to leave a restaurant as signaling the breakdown in civility and basic manners in American culture is laughable in the trainwreck presidency of Donald Trump, let alone American history in general. Secondly, the incivility is mainly coming from the Trump White House since Trump and his administration have flouted the norms of political discourse far more often than their opponents. Seriously, in the 2016 presidential campaign alone, Trump called Mexicans rapists, mocked a disabled reporter, encouraged his supporters to beat up protestors, attacked a Muslim Gold Star family, attacked John McCain for being a POW, promoting a conspiracy theory alleging Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, launching deeply personal attacks on Hillary Clinton during the presidential debates, humiliating Clinton by parading her husband’s ex-mistresses at one of them, pathological lying, and so much more. In fact, as far as politicians are concerned, Donald Trump, his administration, and his supporters don’t give a shit about civility. Nor does Sarah Huckabee Sanders since she’s been complicit in all of this. For God’s sake, her job requires providing cover for Trump’s most egregious lies, which undermines a vital part of public discourse in the idea of fair and open public discourse about the truth. So much so that complaining about civility after being kicked out of a restaurant seems just as hypocritical as Count Olaf telling the Baudelaires to get a shower. Third, politely kicking out a White House press secretary from a restaurant without requiring her to pay for appetizers seems rather civil compared to other uncivil acts like a Trump rally. Still, if refusing service to Sanders puts the spotlight on the notion of fair and open public discourse on the truth, it might not harm America’s political civility. Hell, it might even improve it.

According to the great 20th century American philosopher John Rawls, “incivility” in politics in the Trump era isn’t about rude tweets but lies. A major topic in his seminal work Political Liberalism revolves around the problem of disagreement or how it’s possible to have a democracy when people disagree so much among themselves. The crux of Rawls’ answer is that democracy depends on a certain set of principles that almost every reasonable person can accept like “all citizens deserve to be treated equally” and “it’s wrong to imprison people on the basis of faith.” But for the system to work, Rawls argued that public debate must be free and open for people to clearly explain how their policy convictions can be justified according to these shared beliefs at the heart of a democratic society. Rawls called the obligation to adhere to these public discourse rules, “the duty of civility.” However, if citizens in general, especially politicians, hide and confuse their arguments, then people’s ability to give their informed consent to the administration vanishes. In this respect, “civility” as akin to politeness in everyday conversation. It’s about treating those of the opposition like reasonable people. Because it seems more “civil” to honestly state disagreements with individuals, even impolitely, than to try to bamboozle them.

Of course, Rawls never really entertained with the possibility that a democratic government might make dishonesty one of its core political principles. But this is exactly what Donald Trump has done. Since he constantly and completely disregards the truth as a tactic to advance his heartless agenda and keeping his base loyal to him. And the sheer gravity of such assault is monumentally jaw-dropping. According to the Toronto Star’s Trump lies database, he’s made at least 1,726 certifiably false statements since becoming president as of 2018 at an equivalent of 3 lies a day. When the New York Times compared Trump’s lies to Barack Obama’s, they found a huge discrepancy in that in his first 10 months as president, Trump told 6 times as many lies as Obama did during his entire presidency. Maxine Waters also told MSNBC in response to her critics, “As to the Chairman’s comments about civility… let me just say that every reasonable person has concluded that the president of the United States of America has advocated violence, he has been divisive and he has been the one that has caused what we see happening today.” If there is anyone who fails to uphold any rendition of civility in today’s American political landscape, it’s Donald Trump.

Now if Stephanie Wilkinson had kicked out a run of the mill Trump supporter out of her restaurant, any public outcry on civility over the incident might’ve been well-deserved. After all, Wilkinson told the Washington Post that she has regular politically conservative customers all the time and has no problem serving them. She kicked out Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen because she’s a public official working for Donald Trump and playing a critical role in his administration, As White House press secretary, Sanders’ job makes her especially complicit in Trump’s egregious agenda. Because her boss constantly lies, a major part of her job is defending those lies whether covering for them, deflecting them, or lying herself to cover them. Because of Trump’s uniquely hostile approach to telling the truth, just doing her job makes Sanders uncivil according to Rawls’s terms. As the Trump administration attacks the very heart of the US democratic political system, Sanders’ repeating and defending her boss’s lies is a vital part of this scheme.

As voters, we have a responsibility to confront incivility that threatens democracy rather than prioritize letting senior government officials dine in peace. When asked why she kicked out Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of her restaurant, Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson meant exactly that when she told the Washington Post, “This feels like the moment in our democracy where people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.” In other words, Wilkinson acted to punish a political official for a specific set of severe wrongs, not to harm an average customer whose political views she happened to disagree with. Wilkinson’s actions at the Red Hen should be seen as a way to hold political elites accountable and force them to answer for their actions. For ordinary citizens rarely have the opportunity to do that. Given that the next elections are months away and the next presidential race is in 2020, Wilkinson doesn’t have much of an opportunity to punish the White House for its egregious behavior going on right now. In addition, Wilkinson had no intention to be a culture warrior and wasn’t looking to divide Americans against one another. In fact, it’s unlikely she didn’t even want this incident to go public or inspire copycats. One of her employees posted about it on Facebook and Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought the matter wider attention on Twitter. If it weren’t for these postings, nobody would’ve known. Kicking Sanders out of the Red Hen would’ve just been a modest act by a private citizen to hold a public official accountable or a way of registering dissent on how the government conducts itself. Kind of like when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, which is consistent with Rawls’ view of civility. And it’s exactly the kind of confrontation that Maxine Waters was talking about and encouraging people to do when she said, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Like Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus kickstarting the Civil Rights Movement, Stephanie Wilkinson’s refusal of service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a political statement that could even be a way to bring about change. In fact, there’s evidence that inflicting personal punishments on political leaders does cause them to grapple with their actions and even change their behavior. Though I think it might be unlikely in Sanders’ case. One looked at fines for skipping important committee meetings that were imposed on legislators of the French National Assembly. Looking at the fines’ effects as well as the impact of it being widely publicized on a legislator skipping out, the scholars found the fines “strongly increase their committee attendance both after the private experience of sanctions and after their public exposure.” Thus, there’s reason to think that public officials in the private and public eye do mind being sanctioned. And since the United States is in the middle of a particular political emergency with the failure of America civil discourse as a democratic practice, a little impoliteness of the right kind can help restore it. Thus, in this debate over civility, Maxine Waters is correct.

Nonetheless, controversy erupted over the Red Hen incident and Maxine Waters’ comments made critics seize on how they both undermine the idea of civility. In wake of Waters’ comments, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News, “The people who claim tolerance seem to be the most intolerant in this process. We need civility in this country, but the idea that you’re asking people to go forward, that becomes very dangerous and it becomes a risk inside our country as well.” House Speaker Paul Ryan asked Waters to apologize, saying that “no place for that in our public discourse,” while neglecting to critique Rep. Steve King for promoting a Neo-Nazi. Donald Trump tweeted, “Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also criticized her, tweeting, “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.” Former Obama adviser David Axelrod also expressed his disagreement with Waters’s tactics and called people to organize and volunteer to convey their discontent with the Trump administration. Former Obama Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued that driving people out of different businesses is a tactic echoing historic segregation policies.

However, what Maxine Waters’s critics miss in her remarks could be said best by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, “In exercising her constitutional right to freedom of speech at a recent rally, Congresswoman Waters did not, as she has made clear, encourage violence, like President Trump has been doing since the election. She, instead, encouraged Americans to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly by letting President Trump and members of his Administration know that separating young immigrant children from their parents is not who we are as a country.” It’s quite clear that when Waters urged attendees to keep “push[ing] back” she referred to the attention-grabbing incidents where Trump administration officials were subject to public confrontation. At worst, she encouraged people to create a public nuisance heckle and protest Trump officials in public on their off-hours in an effort to hold them accountable. And since Donald Trump has gone all his life without having to grapple with any real consequences whatsoever, we need to hold him and his swamp cronies and enablers accountable in whatever way we can.

Nonetheless, such talk over “civility” among Republicans is just a masked tactic to tell anyone who dare confront, protest, or challenge Donald Trump and his administration to shut up. In other words, I don’t think their beef isn’t that Stephanie Wilkinson and Maxine Waters weren’t being civil in their words and actions, but that they were actively resisting at all. Since I remember when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest police brutality and racism. He was being civil in his grievances but his actions pissed many white football fans decrying he was disrespectful to police, to the troops, and the American flag. But the true reason was that white people had a problem with black people protesting on matters that don’t affect them. Besides, Trump supporters don’t care about civility among their own ranks, since many have been terrorizing people on line and through white supremacist demonstrations like last year’s Charlottesville rally.

White Americans had the same problem with Martin Luther King Jr. in his day for protesting racial segregation since 63% of whites had a negative perception of him back in 1966. And it wasn’t just King as a person, but also his commitment to direct action, many white people frequently described as fundamentally threatening civic norms. One Chicago Tribune anti-King editorial reads, “Families ordinarily would be enjoying the chance to sit on the front porch reading the paper, to sprinkle their lawns and work in their gardens, or to go to the park or beach. Instead, they are confronted by a shuffling procession of strangers carrying signs and posing as martyrs. The spectacle is repulsive to right-thinking people.” In sum you can translate this piece as, “Can’t those rabble-rousers leave Chicagoans alone and enjoy their weekend in peace?” Of course, King understood these calls to civility for what they were as attempts to shut down or at least slow the movement for equal rights. And they served a moral cover for the immoral laws he was protesting as the civility of segregation was upheld by threats of violence. His “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” to moderate white religious leaders in Alabama who encouraged their congregations to reject King since they saw him as an outsider disturbing the South’s peaceful atmosphere. King’s famous letter spoke directly to these calls for a more “constructive and realistic” response to oppression where he denounced “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” King knew the status quo was never as peaceful as it appeared to white Americans and existed precisely was because society had created enough legal and social mechanisms to enforce inequality and oppression without obvious acts of state violence and extrajudicial terror. While civility and nonviolent resistance works as a form of protest, but only in combination with the background threat of much less civil tactics. While civility is nice idea, it should be a reward for securing a more just nation. It’s not the surest way to achieve justice and can be a method denying it. Unfortunately, those longing to return to an era of centrism, consensus, and civility usually don’t grapple with the way those ideas have historically worked to protect the powerful and sustain the status quo.

An Assault on Decency

While I was on my Minnesota vacation, everything in my country seemed like going to shit. Before I left Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the family separation “zero tolerance” policy. Though tempting to hail such measure as a victory since overwhelming public pressure and outrage forced him to do it. But the notion that Trump has “ended” family separation is a questionable matter of law. Children are still in detention camps with no sign of seeing their parents again who now face criminal charges and deportation for illegal entry. Despite that most of these migrants’ choice to enter the country illegally is more akin to Harry Potter’s choice to cast a patronus against a Dementor attacking his cousin. Most of these families were desperately fleeing violence in Central America and have already gone through the legal channels for seeking asylum. Yet, border patrol agents either turned them away or told them to come another day. Sure, they knew they were breaking the law by crossing the border. But they didn’t have much of choice to do so. And as Harry later found out, these people were essentially tricked into doing so by spiteful authority figures who hated them. There is no established protocol to reunite families and sign that his administration plans to do so. Nor does Trump’s executive order ban the practice. Rather, it merely directs the Department of Homeland Security to detain migrant families together instead of separating them. Such policy also poses legality question as well. Should courts overturn it, it’s entirely possible that family separations can start again.

However, the “backlash works” analysis also skips a more fundamental political question. The disturbing truth is that huge number of mostly Republican Americans were willingly to back such separation policy. In fact, they’re even more excited about the underlying policy of arresting every undocumented immigrant crossing the border a la “zero tolerance” policy giving rise to family separations in the first place. What’s most telling about this dark and cruel incident isn’t Donald Trump stepping back in the face of public outrage. It’s the millions of Republicans willing to support an obviously cruel immigration policy. In turn, points to perhaps the deepest problem in American politics in the Trump era, which is the lethal conjunction of white identity politics and partisanship has made the Republican Party willing to sanction injustices that had previously been unthinkable in modern America. It’s as if politics seems to justify anything at this point for them. As long as they get what they want in the culture wars, they’ll sell their souls to supporting a sociopathic authoritarian demagogue who cares nothing for them regardless of whoever gets hurt, how much he undermines American values, or the damage he’s caused in these United States.

While most Americans strongly oppose Donald Trump’s family separation policy, Republicans generally support it by a significant margin despite there’s a substantial minority who don’t. After all, massive margins of them usually favor Trump. Yet, this still means that millions of Americans back a morally grotesque policy separating children from their parents for an unknown period of time, possibly permanently. The fact most Republicans seem to favor this unconscionable “zero tolerance” policy illustrates the degree to which Trump’s position and partisanship has shaped Republican moral thinking. What’s more depressing is that the debate over family separation policy in its relatively early stages. So there’s a good reason to believe if Trump returns with the idea, Republicans will be more likely to support it, not less. If there is a moral crisis in American politics these days, it’s that a large contingent of Americans are willing to support morally indefensible policies from a sociopathic and unrespectable man for the sake of “law and order” or “national security.” Despite that a moral repugnant “zero-tolerance” policy at the border achieve neither.

Yet, if you doubt such shift in public opinion will happen, consider Republican opinion on the infamous Muslim ban. When Donald Trump first announced his proposal for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslim immigration in December 2015, scores of prominent Republicans including his future Vice President Mike Pence condemned the idea in roughly the same moral indignation some Republican leaders have used to discuss family separations. A poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC found GOP primary voters evenly split on the idea. But when it became clear Trump was likely to become the GOP standard bearer in March 2016, things changed. Exit polls from 5 states comprising of Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois, found that Muslim ban support among 2/3 of Republican voters. When Trump actually implemented a version of the now infamous Muslim “travel” ban in January 2017, Republicans overwhelmingly backed him with 84% support according to a June 2017 poll. Hell, despite court challenges and its flagrant unconstitutionality on grounds of religious discrimination, the US Supreme Court still ruled in favor of it.

So what happened with the Muslim ban? Obviously, the clearer it became that supporting it was a core Trump position, the clearer it became that being a Trump supporter in good standing required backing the travel ban. When Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and later president, Republican partisanship became more about backing this unrespectable man. Of course, such behavior isn’t unprecedented among a president and their supporters. Since the more closely a policy is identified with the president, the more people from the president’s party are willing to support it. As Texas A&M professor George C. Edwards III told Vox, “The president’s association with a policy is an especially powerful signal to those predisposed to support his initiatives. By reinforcing his partisans’ predispositions, presidents can counter opposition party attacks and discourage his supporters from abandoning him. In addition, co-partisans appear to be resilient in returning to support after periods of bad news.” Under a normal presidential administration, this isn’t a huge deal. But when the president is a vile sociopath who only cares about enriching himself and his corporate backers while doing the minimal to convince his base that he’s on their side by enacting cruel policies that really don’t help anybody, you have a national crisis in American moral values on your hands.

Fortunately, the family separation debate didn’t actually go on for very long so far. Thus, public opinion didn’t have time to harden along partisan lines. The Trump administration sent mixed signals about what to think of it. Sometimes they claimed it’s a shame and the Democrats’ fault (despite it really wasn’t). Other times they justified it as necessary to deter more undocumented migration. Under these conditions along with the moral shock from headlines feeling fresh and some prominent Republicans like Laura Bush willing to condemn the policy, it’s easy to see why Republican voters felt comfortable opposing Donald Trump this time.

Yet, despite all that, millions of Republicans still supported this morally egregious policy of ripping children from the families and putting them in cages at a relatively significant margin. However, suppose the Trump administration resume family separations while Donald Trump provides a sustained defense in public appearances and tweets. Chances are that Republicans most likely will rally around him the same way they came to support the equally morally obscene Muslim ban. And what’s truly scary is that if Trump stayed the course on this one and allowed the media and public outrage to dissipate, he might’ve gotten away with it.

Nonetheless, if this was just a matter of partisanship and Trump support, it wouldn’t be the very assault on decency that it is. But it’s not. Rather it’s by going after overwhelmingly Latino immigrants from Central America, Donald Trump is playing on his political home turf like it’s “Mexicans are rapists” all over again. In 2015, two political scientists named Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal published a book looking closely at the way mass Latino immigration was shifting American politics. According to Abrajano in the book’s summary, she and Hajnal concluded that the influx of Latino immigration had driven a large number of white voters into the Republican Party. This effect appears to track media coverage. When people in the news talk about the threat posed by Latino immigration such as Donald Trump talking about how Latino migrants are responsible for gang violence, Republicans benefit. Another group of researchers polled white Americans on how their view of diversity affected their likelihood of voting for Trump. They found that when whites were reminded that America was becoming an increasingly black and brown country, they were more likely to support Trump and favor immigration restrictions.

This is the crux of the moral crisis of the Trump era in a nutshell. The most Un-American and morally reprehensible parts of Donald Trump’s presidency such as his crackdown of undocumented immigrants, the Muslim ban, his shocking moral equivalence during the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia tap into the forces that are the most responsible for making him president. While stories of separated families in the media have wracked neutral observers’ hearts, Trump’s most hardcore supporters (like white supremacists and the Alt-Right) may very well have the opposite reaction. This intersects in a particularly dangerous way in partisanship for if Trump can maintain his hardcore base’s support enough to retain majority GOP support, he won’t need to immediately cave. And the longer and harder he fights for a policy, the more support for it will become GOP orthodoxy.

Disturbingly enough, it’s an established fact Donald Trump’s racial politics are genuinely popular with millions of white Americans who have significantly supported such vicious and morally inexcusable policies like the family separations at the border. It’s also a demonstrably and theoretically so that the GOP’s partisanship strength can enable Republican presidents to attract their party base’s support along with its political establishment. Both facts mean that despite the depravity of everything he says and does in the White House, Trump will always get the Republican Party to back his attacks on members of minority groups, given the time and effort. Indeed, ending family separation for now is a good thing and it’s understandable for liberals to pop the cork and call it a win. But the fact the separations happened at all and that millions of Americans were perfectly fine with them should trouble us all. This is especially since many of these children ripped from their parents will have to grapple with the traumatic implications for the rest of their lives.

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has resorted to his race-baited fearmongering. During an event on Friday, June 22, 2018, he returned to his old argument about undocumented immigrants, highlighting families who lost loved ones to crimes committed by them. While losing a loved one to a crime is tragic, Trump held this emotionally charged event on “permanent separation” certain families have faced to undocumented criminals in an effort to shift the focus of the immigration conversation from family separations at the border. Granted there are undocumented immigrants who commit crimes. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that Trump’s event with these families is just a publicity stunt to capitalize on their tragedy. First of all, undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native born Americans and more likely to be crime victims due to their lack of protected status making them unable to call the authorities. But undocumented criminals pose no more a danger to society than their counterparts with legal status. Had many of these families experienced a loved one killed by a legal immigrant or US citizen, Trump wouldn’t be parading them for his own ends to smear an entire group of people as violent criminals to justify his morally inexcusable policies against them. As he said in the event, “We’re gathered today to hear from the American victims of illegal immigration. You know, you hear the other side. You never hear this side. These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens. These are the families the media ignores.” I’m sure anyone who loses their loved ones to undocumented immigrants are featured on the local news and maybe a spot on a Fox News show since they devour stories revolving around nonwhite murderers killing white Americans, undocumented or otherwise. Yet, here Trump seems to paint undocumented criminals as a special kind of evil they’re not which is an effective way to dehumanize a vulnerable population.

Even worse, not only does Donald Trump often blame congressional Democrats for “weak” immigration laws, his hardline stance on immigration makes it practically impossible to even the most bipartisan legislation for comprehensive immigration reform. Hell, he’s even in complete disagreement with members of his own party on how to solve immigration problems that he created. This isn’t an accident. As the crisis at the border puts the Trump administration under fire from humanitarian groups, Democrats, and even many Republicans as the biggest story in the nation, there’s a belief among senior White House officials, including the dead-eyed longtime adviser Stephen Miller, that fostering controversy is a winning strategy for them and that it will galvanize conservatives ahead of the November elections. Trump’s actions regarding ending DACA while sabotaging any chance for Congress to pass a bill protecting Dreamers is a glaring example.

Yet, that’s not the worst of it. In the wake of the family separations outrage, Texas US Senator Ted Cruz introduced legislation that would halt family separations and double the number of immigration judges from 375 to 750 to process detention cases more efficiently as the system has been backlogged for years due to a judge shortage. . In response, Trump extensively and derisively laughed off the idea of expanding the immigration courts as part of a plan to end the crisis, asserting that asylum seekers’ lawyers coach their clients on what to say so they’ll be allowed to stay in the United States. He said, “We have to have a real border, not judges. I don’t want to try people. I don’t want people coming in.” On Sunday, June 24, 2018, he tweeted, “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.” Apparently, Trump doesn’t think the immigration backlog is a problem. In fact, he doesn’t believe that undocumented immigrants should have a right to present their cases to immigration judges at all.

Since the Supreme Court has repeatedly maintained the due process requirements of the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments apply to everyone regardless of legal status, including undocumented immigrants. Thus, theoretically, if you deny anyone due process, you deny everyone due process. Not to mention, denying due process flies in the face of America’s basic democratic and moral values. At an immigration standpoint, this means we’re all undocumented immigrants because your documents are useless if you can’t show them to a judge while being identified as a suspect is the same as being guilty. For without due process, the government has all the power while the individual, citizen or otherwise has none.

In practice, denying due process to suspected undocumented immigrants would make all Latinos living in the US subject to the kind of hell akin to what those in Maricopa County were subjected in Joe Arpaio’s sheriff days. Except that instead of corrupt sheriff deputies putting them in a horrifying tent city jail with pink underwear, they’d be arrested by ICE and sent up on a one-way ticket to the country they at least allegedly came from. Many US citizens have already been arrested and/or detained under suspicion of undocumented immigration due to racial profiling by law enforcement. Because so many Americans already associate a Latino presence in their communities with undocumented immigration, especially where there aren’t many of them. Despite that a Spanish-sounding name and brown skin mean nothing as far as legal status is concerned. Do away with due process for undocumented immigrants and Latinos caught in ICE’s crosshairs will be unable to prove their legal status to a judge to challenge that claim. Even if they’re in the US legally or are a native-born US citizen who has lived in the country their whole lives. We should also take into account that 90% of those arrested in Arpaio’s deportation raids had legal status. But that didn’t save them for being suspected for illegal entry and having their constitutional rights violated by their local sheriff because they were Latino. But thanks to due process, Arpaio’s victims were able to prove his rampant abuse with racial profiling to get him convicted.

Nonetheless, this debacle over the family separations at the border demonstrates that supporting Donald Trump means leaving your spine and conscience at the door while having the gall to defend the morally indefensible and torching anything remotely relating to decency as “weak” or “reeking with political bias.” Though there is no question that Trump is a divisive figure, I am deeply afraid of the morally reprehensible policies his supporters are willing to tolerate and even agree with. As deeply disturbed I am about their loyalty to a man who will sell them out if he hasn’t already, I really want to believe they have some semblance of a political conscience or at least principles that they’d never be willing to compromise like the basic notion of democracy, equality, liberty, and civil rights. I want to believe that as polarized our country is that I have some common agreement with these people on key American principles. Not because I am a white woman who’s been alienated by her extended family, friends, and community by jumping on the Trump Train which almost cost me my access to Medicaid last year. But because I really find it difficult to believe that millions of Americans would be willing to sell their souls to support a vile and unrespectable man who’d put US Democracy in danger just to enrich himself with the presidency. Nor do I want to believe that the United States is so broken that the very notions of basic human decency become the source of heated political contention. However, I’m not so sure of even that anymore since Trump’s acolytes seem to stand by him despite all the morally egregious things he’s said or done, even if they previously seemed virtually unthinkable. And ideas I’ve long been taught and believe as basic principles of morality and American democracy now seem politically controversial.

There is no question that having Donald Trump as president poses a grave danger to the United States and the world since he’s a narcissistic sociopath with authoritarian ambitions who has no respect for the country he leads, its values, its institutions, or its people. Yet, what I fear most is what his presidency is doing to this country’s soul since a large contingent of Americans have embraced him as their champion because he says whatever inflammatory screeds they want to hear. And no matter what inexcusable thing he says or does as president, they loyally stand by him and enable his destructive behavior and policies against those who stand to suffer the most. But his entire presidency has been an assault on decency since Trump is an unrespectable man who has absolutely none as his moral degenerate words and policies reflect. Yet, the question isn’t whether his actions and rhetoric define who we are which they sort of do and since our country isn’t innocent from human rights violations separating families. But whether he embodies what we Americans want to be as a nation, which I fervently hope isn’t the case. For while Trump projects an image of strength, business know-how, and patriotism to his supporters, I see him as a manipulative swindler, shameless fraud, spineless coward, pathological liar, and an unrepentant bully with self-delusions of grandeur who has to surround himself with sycophants to enhance his gigantic ego and viciously rage on Twitter or settle petty scores when he doesn’t get his way. To me, Trump embodies the worst of America that it’s fair to see him as the current face of evil in the modern American life. As he stages his assault on decency along with the American values we hold dear from the White House, we must resist him at every turn as citizens. We must not normalize or legitimize his presidency. Nor let his destructive words and policies that undermine democracy with each passing day drag us through the mud. Donald Trump may be president, but he must not receive the respect his office entails him. Because he’s not a man deserving of such recognition or worthy of being referred to as “President of the United States.” His morally bankrupt character makes him only worthy of our scathing contempt and criticism that we should make known wherever he goes. And we must shame his followers to remind of our disgust over their support for such an unrespectable man they think is on their side as he stabs them in the back with his empty promises.

The World According to Stock Photography

antonio-guillem-girl-winning-good-news-stock-photography

While much of my blog has been filled with posts teeming with outrage over what my country has become since President Pussy-Grabber was sworn in to encouraging ICE to separate families at the border and putting children in cages, tent cities, and concentration camps, we should try to maintain our sanity with some fun now and then. No matter how hard it might seem to be. Nonetheless, like Lord Hamsterhair Cheetohead lately, stock photography is everywhere since it consists of photographs that can be licensed for public or commercial use. Whether used in marketing, advertising, or design as long as it’s not illegal or harmful, many graphic designers, web designers, and other professionals frequently take advantage of stock images to fill their design needs. Anyway, most often you’ll find stock photos on professional websites and greeting cards. In fact, it’s a whole industry which started in the 1920s as a way for professional photographers to market outtakes from commercial photo shoots. But many pro photographers today take photos exclusively for stock purposes since a large portfolio can earn a considerable amount of money each month from selling their images through a photography website. Even if the photographer doesn’t add new photos on a regular basis. Still, they have a reputation for being notoriously cheesy and generic with bland happy faces in their diverse workplaces of harmony and in their seemingly perfect but bland families. But there are some stock photos that are too ridiculous to explain or don’t seem to have any applicable purpose whatsoever. So for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of crazy stock photos. By the way, some of these might not be safe for work.

  1. “Do you know how to work this thing?”

I’m sure these guys have no idea to function as a news crew. Or they’re just goofing off.

2. Anyone can be a princess.

However, this guy seems to be really pushing the envelope. Still, he rocks the red sash.

3. So what do they call if you cross a dog and a frog?

Yes, I know it’s photoshopped. But you have to wonder about the mad scientist who’d create this freak of nature.

4. It’s been said his brains are made of noodles.

Granted, I love pasta and noodles. But this isn’t the kind candlelight dinner I’d want to participate in.

5. Not all snails travel at a snail’s pace.

This one practically gallops. Oh, wait, why does this one have legs?

6. Apparently, The Shape of Water didn’t get a stellar reception on a small budget.

This is why using CGI is important. Because simply kissing a fish is just ridiculous.

7. There are centaurs and there are these.

Somehow a horse head with a human lower body doesn’t look so good. And I think the centaur would agree with me.

8. Some chick just got puffed.

Guess someone decided to get a large blue fro. The other can’t help but stare.

9. Apparently, Swamp Thing decided to leave the swamp and get a regular job.

Though he’s got a tendency to track in leaves now and then. Here you see him fetching a file.

10. When you’ve been in a car wreck but the boss insists you show up for work on Monday.

Yeah, you can’t really do your office job after you’ve been injured in a number of places. But I guess his workplace doesn’t have paid sick leave.

11. When you’re robbing the place and want to show some color.

From Outbound: “A jaunty cravat makes any robbery a special occasion.” And here he’s stealing a hard drive.

12. Bertha always saw herself as a queen.

She’s even wearing a pink dress and a tiara. But she thinks she looks fabulous.

13. This astronaut has a flight to catch in space.

I see he’s got his luggage with him since he can’t do his laundry at the ISS. Still, why is he wearing a space suit?

14. It’s nice that Jerry has decided to make dinner tonight.

Heard his secret sauce is from an old family recipe. It’s said to include a tablespoon of arsenic, a teaspoon of strychnine, and just a pinch of cyanide.

15. This dog breed is known as a Jacques Rousseau Terriere.

He’s easy to distinguish from the Jack Russell with his curly mustache, his taste in French bread and wine, and his penchant for berets, paintings, and arthouse films. And he doesn’t care for pretentious cheap dog food either.

16. Apparently, the mime has just managed to escape from the jaws of death.

And by “jaws” I mean large chomping mouth of teeth you’d find at a dentist’s office. Doesn’t seem thrilling does it?

17. Seems like this chimp is quite the chatterbox.

“And then I told him, ‘Dude, chill down. It’s not worth flinging your poo over.'”

18. Didn’t know you could play frisbee with your pet turtle.

Apparently, they’re really great at playing fetch for some reason. Don’t really see why since they move like, well, turtles.

19. Wonder how many pictures did they take of him?

Even this kid is baffled. And he sat for the other pictures.

20. Her face is a little cracked.

Let’s hope that her delicate eggshell face cracks don’t lead anything to spill over. Because that would really make a mess.

21. Wearing a watermelon helmet changes everything.

This is especially when you’re wearing goggles and stick your tongue out. Wonder if he’s high on life.

22. And now, a stop-motion version of Romeo and Juliet by director Wes Anderson.

Yes, it consists of two people wearing animal masks and dressed in hipster clothing. Don’t think this will go well for Wes. Unless he casts Owen Wilson as Friar Lawrence.

23. With romantic dinners, there are just some foods you shouldn’t make out with.

Sharing a kiss during a romantic dinner a la Lady and the Tramp is romantic. Sharing a kiss during a chicken dinner is just plain disgusting.

24. Crazy Larry will clean your car and keep it nice and polished.

But don’t you leave anything in it. Or else he’ll take it and pawn it off for some extra cash to support his meth habit. He’s also had an infamous reputation with the ladies and a record of sexual misconduct.

25. During desert nights, beware of the fierce and dreaded cattysnake.

Known to hang around pumpkin patches for some reason. But while they may be cuddly, their bites are deadly.

26. “Take that, you pathetic puppy!”

I kind of feel bad for the dog here. I mean how is anyone going to take him seriously after getting the crap beat out of him by a guy in a banana costume?

27. When your baking has caused your stove to burst into flames but you don’t have a care in the world.

The smoke detector is on the fritz like crazy. But instead of getting the fire extinguisher or calling the fire department, he’s watching the stove burn with a glass of wine.

28. Want to eat a slice of bread with nails?

Of course, you want to eat that. Because you’d find swallowing all those nails as painful as hell.

29. You’re never too old to have fun.

Since when do they have rocking horses in adult size? And since when do old men enjoy going on horsey rides?

30. When you just have to get that last selfie while your friend is about to be burned for a human sacrifice.

“I know you’ll be burned to death, Kyle. But for now, let’s remember the good times before I get the hell out of here.”

31. “Greg, I don’t think you get the meaning of ‘Casual Friday.'”

I mean he’s showed up with messy hair and no shirt. And I’m not sure if he’s even wearing pants or shoes.

32. “Ahhh, grass!”

Yes, she enjoys lying in the grass. Then again, she could be murdered in the middle of nowhere.

33. “Wanna see my pineapple dance?”

Funny, how that one pineapple is conveniently placed in her crotch region. Not to mention, she’s wearing a winter hat.

34. When you’re in a tender embrace with your significant other but are considering other options.

Indeed, they’re hugging each other while checking their phones. Guess that’s modern dating nowadays.

35. “Help! I’m trapped in a jar with exclamation points!”

And I guess she’s trying to figure her way out of there. Though she might be running out of ideas.

36. “Answer the question or I’ll shoot!”

Not exactly the best way to deal with the big questions. Shoot first never works well.

37. “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Business Man!”

Flying in the air faster than a speeding printer and more powerful than a server filled with memoranda. Flying through the sea of finance and willing to save the day from a calamitous paper jam.

38. Presented The Bachelor: Equine Edition.

Watch a bunch of mares compete for the heart of this dashing stallion at this lavish stable. Or as it’s better known: Study Duty.

39. Since she was a little girl, this demonic goblin had a dream to dance.

Here she does her Black Swan dance for the Transylvania Ballet Theater. Graceful isn’t she? Wonder if she’d do well with Gollum.

40. Ever heard of Wendy of Wendy’s? Turns out she has a brother named Wendell.

He’s a certified public accountant at some firm in Cedar Rapids. They don’t talk about him much.

41. “If we should go down, we’ll die together.”

For God’s sake, the two have guns pointed at each other? You can guess they’re going to blow each other’s brains out eventually.

42. A well-dressed mouse should always stand for a portrait.

Though why she has human hands, I have no idea. Though she strikes a regal pose.

43. If you can’t get Bill Nye the Science Guy, here’s Lab Guy Larry.

He’s kind of a poor man’s Bill Nye. Except way more careless and prone to bites from skeletons.

44. This nun seeks prayer and meditation under the sea.

Don’t know how she can be underwater without scuba gear. Not to mention, look serene in that heavy habit.

45. This pampered pooch always has to shop till she drops.

Carrie Pawpaws just has to have those designer dog collars. Not to mention, those fine rawhide bones and squeaky toys.

46. After a career terrorizing Gotham City, the Joker decided to work for Wayne Enterprises as an accountant.

Now whenever he wants to terrorize Gotham, he just embezzles money and commits insider trading. Because white-collar criminals seldom get punished.

47. Open wide for this puffer fish.

Uh, those fish are actually poisonous. So trying to eat one like that is a very easy way to die. But this woman doesn’t get the memo.

48. This boxer has become the reigning champion of his sister’s bedroom.

Or he might just have a girly taste in decorating. You never know. But he doesn’t seem bothered by it either way.

49. Some days you just need to relax with some Post-It Notes.

Notice she has nothing written on them. But she doesn’t give a damn since she’s in her happy place.

50. When you find out that your longtime crush is in a relationship on social media.

Indeed, she feels dead inside. But she can’t really look away. I know she’s getting carried away. Yet, get her time.

51. “Thank God, I saved the crucial paperwork!”

Still, when you’re out in the water, saving the paperwork is the least of your worries. For God’s sake, you’re better off trying to find dry land.

52. “Now, class, when I ring the bell, settle down and I’ll give you candy.”

Not sure if employing Pavlov’s techniques will help. This especially goes if they’re in high school.

53. “Sit down, class, let’s get busy on those physics problems.”

If I had a teacher like that in school, I’d suspect I was in a porno. And that one of my classmates was about to fall victim to statutory rape. Then again, it’s best not to judge by appearances. But come on, would any school let a teacher dress like that?

54. “Sit down, kids, it’s time to learn.”

I guess you won’t have a good time in this guy’s class. Behave or he’ll introduce you to his friend, Mr. Longstick.

55. In the future, people will spend hours marveling and contemplating on corn.

Now I know where that family got their idea for their crazy futuristic corn people Christmas card. Didn’t know it was from a stock photo that made no sense.

56. “All right, don’t move! This is a raid!”

Man, armed robbers and murderers really do start young these days. Also, don’t mind the hand above. My guess is that person is dead.

57. You’ll always have a good time in a string quartet.

Yeah, I don’t think it’s like Sex and the City with stringed instruments and old timey costumes. Yeah, I know it’s really crazy.

58. When it rains, she barely touches the chair.

This stock photo was brought to you by the power and imagination that comes with brown acid. Because someone must’ve been tripping balls to come up with this photo idea.

59. “Paint me like one of your French girls.”

Maybe he should take off his clothes first. Then again, it would still be kind of silly. Except if he had rock hard abs. But I can’t imagine that.

60. For some reason those trapped in jars will either panic or try to get out.

The businessman is especially panicky. The construction worker’s just scaling the walls.

61. I’m positive she’s going out with a bang.

Because that’s what happens when you light a dynamite stick with a cigarette. It’s sure to be explosive.

62. “Oh, shit, I’ve burned the chicken!”

Yet, she’s not wearing oven mitts. While smoke is coming out of the oven.

63. Walk on the moon? That’s so 1969.

So this astronaut has decided to bike on the moon. Not sure if the tires will retain air in the vacuum of space.

64. This Christmas Santa is ditching his sleigh and reindeer for a magic jet.

Because he needs a more efficient way to deliver all those presents on one night. Unfortunately, Rudolph and the other reindeer may not see it that way.

65. Is there a fire? Call the fire lizard.

Well, maybe if the fire is confined to a small tree. Comes complete with his red hat and fire extinguisher.

66. Don’t have a defibrillator? A pair of irons will do.

Still, he seems very excited to use them on his patient. Kind has crazy eyes and a weird smile. This doesn’t look good.

67. Introducing Captain Waggles of the U.S.S. Doggypaddle.

Here he is with a lifejacket and fingers up. Wait a minute, dogs don’t have fingers.

68. It’s said those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

And that people who work in glass offices with glass dividers shouldn’t have sex on the job. Let’s hope neither are married with families.

69. When you’re a TV, it’s always dinner for one.

And I see she’s looking at a TV screen. Kind of twisted if you ask me.

70. Didn’t know that farts can leave a cloud of gas.

And it’s drifting to the flowers. Well, at least we aren’t around when the cheese was cut.

71. “Hello, darkness, my old friend….”

Yet, he lies in his bed on a sheet cake which will get his face covered in icing. But he’s laying awake in existential dread and loneliness.

72. When you’re in the buff and you need to feed your cat.

Notice how the fridge door is conveniently placed over him. Just so he can give his cat some meat.

73. “Okay, let’s put our helmets together.”

Yet, they’re clad in high heels and dresses. Not exactly what you’d wear on a motorcycle.

74. Chipmunks like to get it on at the copier.

Don’t know about you. But I’ve got a feeling those at the office will be seeing some chipmunk porn sometime in the near future.

75. Today’s Special: Head.

And she’s in a styrofoam tray covered in plastic wrap. Just like meat at the grocery store.

76. Seems like her lower body isn’t attached to the rest of her.

Yet, she seems to awe at that after the magician sawed her in half. Unfortunately, he couldn’t put her back together.

77. “Excuse me, you dirty whore, but that’s my boyfriend you’re fucking.”

The guy’s like, “Honey, you’re early. Nancy and I were just having a discussion on….adoptions.”

78. Sometimes you can type what you want from the screen.

And the cat’s just staring dumbfounded at the screen. Like it must’ve accidentally drank a milk dish with acid.

79. “Wanna share a cold one with me on the road?”

This guy’s getting so busted if police pull him over. Because drunk driving is dangerous and has killed people.

80. If you want to keep your kids safe on the internet.

My mistake. If you see your kid in night-vision goggles and a tinfoil hat, you best send your kid to a therapist. Otherwise, he might grow up into a full-blown conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones.

81. This guy really wants to see what’s in this laptop.

On the bright side, at least he can’t steal your online data. Only commit deliberate physical sabotage.

82. Behind a dumpster in an alley, an astronaut seeks a horse genie.

The genie grants the spaceman 3 wishes in exchange for a lifetime supply of hay and sugar cubes. Also it shits gold.

83. Someone’s in deep denial on their baldness.

Since he’s using a comb that he doesn’t need. Because he already shaves his head.

84. “All right, Eileen, let’s settle this with an umbrella fight on the roof.”

However, they’re attempting a showdown during a thunderstorm. Not the smartest thing to do, especially if lightning strikes one of them.

85. Here’s the new face of Wall Street Finance with an office at Suite 666.

Still, ladies, I’d stay away from that guy if I were you. Since his looks could kill while his demonic eyes show he’s up to no good.

86. “Jason, I didn’t know your dick was that huge!”

Please don’t tell me that guys look at each other’s dicks in the men’s room. Because I don’t know what to make of this photo.

87. You’d almost swear he takes after his father.

The resemblance is so uncanny. Maybe because they photoshopped the dad’s face to the son.

88. This takes getting canned to a whole new level.

Having to work in a trash can must really suck. But this guy’s taking it in stride.

89. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Malware.

Apparently, wizards can now use and repair computers. While Harry’s not hunting dark wizards, he’s working part-time as an IT guy at the Ministry of Magic.

90. When you have to return to work from a business summit at a nudist colony.

Yeah, that has to be embarrassing. And he only has a briefcase to cover his genitals. Too bad everyone else will see his butt.

91. “Come on, y’all! Let’s take the tennis court back from the jocks!”

With a tennis racket in one and an AR-15 in the other, Bridget leads the punk tennis revolution. It was a glorious moment for goths, punks, and emos everywhere.

92. At the office some men may deflate and lose their spines.

And here is a 100% accurate depiction of a Republican Congressman in Trump’s America. If you’re represented by one, it’s time to vote them out of office in November.

93. Ever have to be deep in thought against a toilet in the middle of the desert?

From Bored Panda: “This is the state of mind one enters at 3am after having crawled home from that awesome night out, spent the last half hour hugging the bowl, then suddenly you become the universe, the whole universe and everything in it.”

94. “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Where’s Life Alert where you need it? Also, Grandma’s not coming to Christmas this year.

95. “Must sniff donut sugar..”

Seems like someone has a problem with white powder donuts. Someone better give her an intervention.

96. Old people enjoy their retirement with a gun over a rabbit that’s cared for life.

It’s only a matter of time until they get the gun back together and shoot the rabbit dead. So run, bunny, run! Or it’s kill the rabbit and rabbit stew.

97. The Lord taketh, the Lord poseth for selfie.

I can’t even list all the things wrong with this. Also, can I see a selfie of Jesus with his disciples at the Last Supper?

98. Now you can surf the net while riding the waves.

Still, I don’t think he’ll fare so well when he has to ride the big wave. But at least he’s sent his 3rd quarter expense reports.

99. “Just one more picture before we shut the trunk for our escape.”

Luckily for Marvin, his kidnappers were dumb enough to post a photo of a him in a trunk and brag about abducting him on social media. So police will find him and bring him home in no time.

100. When you’re baking cookies while trying to survive the fallout from the apocalypse.

Though the cookies might be a bit radioactive. But sometimes that’s a risk you must be willing to take in the bunker.

Do We Have Any Decency?

The more we hear about the Trump administration’s immigration policies of taking children from their parents, arresting their parents, and taking the kids into custody, the more they sound too cruel to be real. And the Associated Press has acquired internal Department of Homeland Security data covering the program from May 5-June 9. During this time, 2,342 children were taken from their immigrant parents on the border. That’s an average of 65 kids per day separated from their families and often sent to foster homes or held in detention centers. This might actually be an undercount since these numbers only reflect families separated when parents were sent to criminal custody for prosecution on illegal entry. Families presenting themselves for asylum by coming to a port of entry before being separated weren’t included.

While the family separation policy may be new, it’s nonetheless building on an existing system that attention to family separation has brought more awareness to the underlying problems within the US immigration system that have been going on for some time. For the past several years, a growing number of Central Americans have been coming into the US without papers who often are families seeking asylum. Asylum seekers and families are both accorded particular protections in US and international law, which make it impossible for the government to simply send them back. They also put strict limits on the length of time, and conditions, in which children can be kept in immigration detention. When the Obama administration attempted to respond to the “crisis” of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border in the summer of 2014, it put hundreds of families in immigration detention, a practice which had basically ended several years before. But federal courts stopped the administration from holding families for months without justifying the decision to keep them in detention. So most families were eventually released while their cases were pending. In some cases, they disappeared into the US rather than showing up for their own court dates.

As we speak, the Trump administration works to detain as many immigrants arriving in the United States without papers as possible. Even if they’re seeking asylum, which they have the legal right to do. But because a decades-long court settlement requires the government to release children from immigration detention “without necessary delay” parents taking care of them would have to be released as well. However, by sending parents into Justice Department custody for criminal prosecution, the Trump administration forces itself to separate parents from their children. Because kids can’t be detained with parents in federal jail, they’re treated as “unaccompanied alien minors” as if they crossed the border alone. Thus, as their parents are languishing in federal prison awaiting trial and sentence, the children are sent into custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services. As far as Trump’s cronies are concerned, this is a fitting punishment.

Yet, their logic overlooks the fact that when asylum seekers try to follow the law by presenting themselves at official border crossings to ask for asylum, Border Patrol agents often tell them they can’t come in. This isn’t an accident. For at multiple ports of entry in Texas to California, the Trump administration tells asylum seekers that they don’t have room to process them today which keeps people waiting outside for days on end without any indication as to when they’ll be allowed to seek asylum legally. According to reports, some asylum seekers are being physically blocked from setting foot on US soil, which would give them the legal right to pursue an asylum claim. So what choice would that leave them but to cross the border illegally and present their asylum claim to Border Patrol instead? And even families trying to seek asylum at ports of entry can’t be assured they won’t be separated anyway. While the Trump administration claims that it only separates families entering legally if they’re concerned about the child’s safety or feel there’s insufficient evidence that the adult is their legal guardian. But it’s not clear how they make that determination and there’s no proof they’re abusing that discretion either.

However, family separation is neither sudden nor arbitrary. The Trump administration claims it’s taking extraordinary measures in response to the temporary surge it’s entirely possible that this will become the new normal. From October 2017 to May 2018, it’s reported that at least 2,700 families have been separated at the border thanks to its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Though it doesn’t seem like all families apprehended by Border Patrol get separated, the pace might be picking up. The Trump administration has stepped up detention of asylum seekers (and immigrants period). But because there are such strict limits on keeping children in immigration detention, it’s had to release most of the families caught. So their solution has been to prosecute large numbers of immigrants for illegal entry, including in a break from previous administrations, large numbers of asylum seekers. That allows the Trump administration to ship kids off to ORR than keep them in immigration detention.

In theory, unaccompanied immigrant children are sent to ORR within 72 hours of being apprehended. They’re kept in government facilities, or short-term foster care for days or weeks while ORR official try to identify their nearest relative in the US who can take them in while their immigration case is being resolved. But in practice, the system dealing with unaccompanied immigrant children was already overwhelmed, if not outright broken. ORR facilities were already 95% full with 11,000 children held as of June 7. And according to the New York Times, the government, “has reserved an additional 1,218 beds in various places for migrant children, including some at military bases.” In fact, the agency has been overloaded for years since its 2014 backlog precipitated the child migrant, “crisis” when Border Patrol agents had to care for kids for days. An American Civil Liberties Union report released in May documented hundreds of claims of “verbal, physical, and sexual abuse” of unaccompanied children by Border Patrol.

There are also questions about how carefully ORR vets the sponsors to whom it ultimately releases children. A PBS Frontline investigation found cases where the agency released teenagers to labor traffickers. ORR told Congress in April that of 7,000 of children it attempted to contact in fall 2017, 1,475 couldn’t, which led to allegations that the government “lost” children or that they’d been handed over to traffickers. Though for the most part, it’s more probable that the families the ORR wasn’t able to contact deliberately decided to go off the map. Unaccompanied children who came to the US mostly consisted of teenagers with close relatives here to reunite with. According to a 2014-2015 Office of Inspector General report, 60% of unaccompanied kids were sent to their parent and 99% went to close friends or relatives while 1% were put in long-term foster care.

However, this isn’t true of children coming to the US with their parents who don’t have to be old enough to make the journey on their own and are separated from them. For ORR isn’t used to changing diapers. In May, the New York Times wrote that the government put out request proposals for “shelter care providers, including group homes and transitional foster care,” to house children separated from parents. One organization is placing children with Maryland and Michigan foster families and plans to expand to several other states. Some have fostered unaccompanied children but they’re not used to children who’ve just been separated from their parents.

While some families have been reunited, the Trump administration is sending very mixed signals about how families could be reunited and whether it’s even trying to make that happen at all. According to one ACLU lawsuit over family separation and immigration detention, a DOJ official told the judge that, “once a parent is in ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] custody and the child is taken into the Health and Human Services system, the government does not try to reunite them, and instead attempts to place the child with another relative in the United States — if the child has one.” But ICE and DHS claim that once parents finish their criminal sentences for illegal entry or reentry, they can reunite with their children in civil immigration detention while pursuing their asylum case. Nor do they seem to have a system to bring families back together. One flyer in Texas given to parents offered a number to call to locate their children. Yet, the number was wrong and didn’t lead to ORR. In fact, it was an ICE tip line. Even if a parent can call ORR and the agency can identify their child, they may not be able to call the parent back. Since immigrants in detention don’t have phone access (though federal judges urged the government to provide them so they can find their kids). Some parents face deportation without their children while some children are getting sent back without their parents.

In response to the outcry, Donald Trump has responded to criticisms on family separations, by claiming that a “Democratic law” requires him to do it, and that if Congress doesn’t like it, it can change the law. However, that is just Trump’s way to deflect blame and avoid responsibility since that statement is simply not true. Because there’s no law requiring immigrant family separations. The Trump administration had made the decision to charge everyone crossing the border with illegal entry and the one to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see that they qualify. They’ve been asking Congress to change laws granting extra protections to families, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers since it came into office. And they’ve blamed them for stopping Trump from securing the border the way he’d like (with a big stupid wall which won’t contribute to anything beneficial whatsoever). Furthermore, these aren’t necessarily “Democratic laws” either with a law addressing unaccompanied children passed overwhelmingly in 2008 that was signed by George W. Bush. While restriction on family detentions is the result of federal litigation. In this context, the law isn’t forcing Trump to separate families but keeping him from doing what he’d really want to do like sending families back or keeping them in detention together. So he’s resorting to Plan B.

Some Trump administration officials say they’re prosecuting immigrants and separating families to stop people from illegally coming to the US between ports of entry. This argument sounds like common sense since it allows the administration to avoid awkward legal or moral questions on trying to keep people out of the country. Yet, there’s no evidence this strategy works. While rolling out the “zero-tolerance” policy in early May, they claimed a pilot program along one border sector reduced crossings by 64% but they haven’t produced the numbers backing it up. Not to mention, as I described earlier, the Trump administration’s sending mixed signals about whether it wants people to use ports of entry to seek asylum legally. Since some asylum seekers have been separated from their kids doing just that while others were encouraged not to. Though they’ve promised to prosecute anyone who submits a “fraudulent” claim, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he suspects many, if not most, asylum claims are fraudulent. The statistics the Trump administration uses to back up that there’s been a “surge” since las year sometimes count both people getting caught by Border Patrol between ports o entry and those presenting themselves without papers at ports of entry for asylum. The implication is that the current crackdown will reduce both. This implies that a point of this policy is to stop families from entering the US seeking asylum, period.

If you want to know how the Trump administration is justifying family separations at a legal standpoint, they simply claim that criminal defendants don’t have a right to have their children with them in jail. But the question is whether they have the legal authority to put asylum-seeking parents in jail awaiting trial to begin with, knowing they’re splitting them from their children. Human rights organizations including the United Nations have argued that prosecuting asylum seekers as criminals violates international law. Yet, no presidential administration has agreed with that interpretation since the Obama administration prosecuted some asylum seekers as well, just not as often or with the Trumpian dedicated zeal. However, federal courts have ruled that it’s illegal to keep an immigrant in detention in hopes to deterring others, instead of making an individual assessment on whether the immigrant needs to be detained. That might pave the way for advocates to fight back against family separation or at least force the government to start helping families get reunited after their parents have been separated. In the ACLU’s lawsuit victory in June, the judge made it clear that he believed that if the allegations against the administration were true, they might very well be unconstitutional on violation of family integrity, which courts have found is implicitly part of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of “liberty” without due process of law. Though it has favorable odds, that doesn’t mean the case will succeed. Unless something else happens to change the policy before then, any opinion will be appealed and will likely go to the Supreme Court. Still, even if the ACLU does succeed, it won’t stop family separations at the border. The lawsuit argues that it’s unconstitutional for parents in immigration detention to be separated from their children. But not that it’s unconstitutional to charge parents with illegal entry and take them into a separate criminal court. A victory would merely obligate the federal government to reunite parents with their children once they’ve served their illegal entry sentence. Yet, whether the government can actually do that is another question. And for families, that’s less preferable than not being separated at all.

Though the Trump administration presents its crackdown as a temporary response to a temporary “surge” of illegal border crossers, it’s simply a return to normal levels of the past several years after a brief dip in 2017. To assume that the administration will be satisfied with border apprehension levels in a few months and wind down the aggressive tactics it’s started to use would be foolish. If we had a different president running a different White House, the outrage family separation has generated would result in the policy coming to a quiet end or at least curbed. Since it’s galvanizing not just progressives but also conservatives as well. But Trump’s administration rarely backs down from something because people are mad about it. More often than not, Donald Trump takes it as an indication he’s doing something right, even if he’s not. While Democrats scramble to propose bills limiting prosecution and separation, the issue isn’t inspiring the bipartisan momentum that Trump’s decision to end DACA last fall did. Thus, it’s extremely unlikely that Congress will pass a law stopping family separations at the border. And when it became clear the Trump administration was engaging in widespread family separations, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s vague and inaccurate comments on sending the kids to “foster care or whatever” were especially telling.

It’s possible that the Trump administration simply won’t have the resources to keep this many people in detention for so long or to keep prosecuting more and more people for a crime that’s already overwhelming federal dockets. Since ICE’s detention centers are already running out of space. Indefinite family separations will almost certainly overwhelm the already precarious system dealing with migrant children. Border Patrol and ORR won’t get the resources they need to address the new jobs they’re asked to take on by treating children separated from parents as “unaccompanied” kids. Yet, it’s also possible it’ll simply burn through the money it has and demand Congress for more in the name of protecting the US from an illegality invasion. The Trump administration knows it’s separating families and doesn’t believe it’s their job to reunite them.

Nonetheless, the cruelty of the Trump administration’s policies is almost impossible to imagine. Could you understand the parent separated from their child having no real sense of seeing them again? Could you comprehend the child stuck in a country whose language they don’t speak and in the care of strangers while their parents are gone? Such pain is incredible and traumatizing to experience. One Honduran man killed himself in his detention cell after Border Patrol took his 3-year-old son. CNN reported of Border Patrol agents ripping a breastfeeding woman’s infant daughter from her arms. A New York Times story tells of a boy who wouldn’t shower for 2 days or change his clothes after being separated from his parents and placed into foster care.

Yet, as much as the family separation crisis is about immigration policy and our country’s values, it’s also a health crisis. Separating parents and their children comes with considerable health risks. Every bit of a child’s health depends on a foundational relationship with a caring adult like their parents. When they’re separated, kids’ stress hormones start working overtime and are constantly on red alert. This causes disruption in the way that neural synapses connect with each other in their brain architecture. That can lead to developmental delay. Traumatized children develop speech slower, their motor skills don’t come along as quickly as they should, and they have difficulty creating proper attachments to other human beings. The younger the child is and the longer they’re in this kind of situation, the more difficult it is to reverse it. These experiences can have lifelong consequences like affecting a child’s ability to learn, being more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, and possibly could be at a higher risk of heart disease or cancer when they become adults. When a breastfeeding mother is torn from her infant, her breasts can be swollen and painful, which can develop to mastitis where the remaining milk can evolve into breast abscesses that must be removed via surgical drainage. Then there’s the fact that whatever children are telling social workers, doctors, or clinical psychologists at the border can be shared by ORR with DHS and federal immigration authorities. Under any other presidential administration this wouldn’t be a big deal since families were typically reunited during the Obama years. But under Donald Trump, the policy is increasingly used to detain or deport undocumented minors.

Donald Trump has implied that his justification for separating families seeking asylum, and his restrictionist ideology for even legal immigrants, is to prevent the United States from enduring what’s happening in Europe. For he falsely claims, immigrants there have brought with them a wave of violence that’s driving up the crime rate (except it’s not). He’s often referred to such outlandish claim as “politically incorrect” but that’s not it. Since he and key members of his administration are embracing what used to be a fringe theory held by the furthest of the far right. To these white supremacists, they argue that white people are being “systematically” erased by their inferiors, and thus require an influx of white babies and new white immigrants (at the exclusion of nonwhite immigrants) to survive. To some, white Americans and white culture, are threatened by a slow-running “genocide” via demographic replacement. Though this theory is just a bunch of racist bullshit with no historical basis whatsoever, it has adherents in the alt-right (which they evoked in Charlottesville with “You will not replace us”), across conservative media, and even in Congress and the White House. But such ideas are old, rooted in scientific racism and fears of interracial sex and babies once held by Woodrow Wilson and white supremacists alike. But now they play apart in creating government policy.

Donald Trump’s racism may be that of a 72-year-old man who thinks five nonwhite teenage boys should be executed for raping a jogger despite DNA evidence to the contrary. But his external racism is heavily influenced by adherents of an ideology that believes whiteness is the essential character of America (it isn’t), with direct and detrimental impacts on discussions regarding immigration policy. More importantly, Trump’s language and policies echo a worldview holding that whiteness is more valuable to participation in the American experiment than anything else, even a deep and abiding belief in American ideals.

While most of the GOP might not be comfortable using terminology like “white genocide” and “racial realism,” because many conservatives don’t share those views. They may see Donald Trump’s comments as elitist, unkind, divisive, and fly in the face of American values, even if racial issues aren’t on their priority list. But many on the right don’t see it that way as Jeff Sessions implements racist policies in the Department of Justice while Brietbart fans the flames of racial discord with “black crime” article labels and stories about imminent dangers posed by nonwhite immigrants. Nonetheless, Trump’s adoption of these racist views of the alt-right is at the core of the current immigration debate and has a direct impact on his immigration policy. In addition, it’s making the dealmaking process virtually impossible with Democrats and Republicans who desperately want to avoid any arguments racializing immigration policy. They want the debate about immigration to be about border security and genuine threats to American security, since it makes compromise imaginable even possible. But the debate over immigration is actually about a belief that nonwhite immigrants pose an existential danger to America and Americanness as a whole and that “demographics” require nonwhite immigrants to be expelled while white immigrants can be welcomed with open arms. You can’t negotiate with people who believe that an America letting in people from “shithole” countries isn’t the America they know and love. Despite that an America letting in people from “shithole” countries is exactly what America was built on for why else would millions Americans be here?

Keep in mind that Donald Trump’s core argument on his cruel and inhumane immigration policy is that reducing the number of foreign-born people living in the United States will leave native-born people richer and safer. This is full of crap which unfortunately many white people embrace. While Trump delivers concrete and material benefits to wealthy business executives in the form of tax cuts and industry-friendly regulations, what he’s offering to his white working-class backers is that cracking down on foreigners will solve their problems and that his willingness to suffer the condemnation by cosmopolitans is a token of dedication to their interests. In reality, it’s just a way for him to keep his working-class voters supporting him without doing anything to solve their real problems and possibly allowing his corporate allies to screw them over in the end. The kids held hostage are in large part, pawns in a game by which Trump is trying to coerce Democrats into backing sweeping reforms to legal immigration. The core of these reforms is to simultaneously switch the United States to what he calls a “merit-based” system, essentially raising the average educational attainment of legal immigrants while also cutting the overall number of immigrants. Yet, the net impact of this means reducing America’s GDP by about 0.3% in the long run while reducing overall GDP much more than that because the population is lower, meaning a more difficult time supporting the country’s retirement programs. Besides, immigrants contribute a lot to the American economy in way their native-born counterparts take for granted.

Then again, Donald Trump’s core pitch on immigration is always more about fear than economics, but here too, his politics are a disaster. While he often states how immigrants bring crime to this country, study after study shows he’s wrong. Mostly because immigrants legal and otherwise commit far fewer crimes than their native-born counterparts since they have a higher incentive to obey the law. Though gangs like MS-13 do exist, virtually everything Trump has done on immigration is counterproductive to addressing the problem of transnational organized crime. In its final years, the Obama administration ordered immigration services to lay off the vast majority of undocumented immigrants and target their efforts at apprehending violent criminals. Obama’s goal ultimately foiled by the courts and Trump’s election was to give work permits to millions and then have immigration law enforcement on the gangs Trump claims to be fighting. But immigration enforcement didn’t like the idea of being turned into some kind of auxiliary police force. They successfully stymied Obama’s efforts to concentrate on violent criminals, helped get Trump elected, and now we hear things like deporting 62-year-old permanent resident over a 20-year misdemeanor and a Kansas professor who’s lived here for over 30 years over a 2012 traffic violation instead of focusing on gang members. Even worse, by doing things like canceling Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of long-settled immigrants (like DACA), Trump is expanding the universe of nonviolent undocumented immigrants and making it that much less likely that law enforcement resources will be used against violent criminals.

Obviously, tearing children from their parents’ arms doesn’t poll well. But that doesn’t mean it can’t work for Donald Trump. His white working-class base sees a world where cultural elites have marginalized their concerns in favor of caring a lot more about the problems of immigrants and minorities because they see a zero-sum battle for attention and sympathy in which caring about immigrants’ problems means neglecting their own. Except that’s really not the case at all. Though such voters may not necessarily approve of the cruel treatment of Central American asylum seekers, but at the end of the day, the message that Trump is perhaps excessively cruel to foreigners emphasizes the notion he’s on their side. Except that he’s not because Trump knows how to deliver concrete wins to interest groups he cares about whether that’s letting health insurance companies discriminate against those with preexisting conditions, letting financial advisers deliberately give clients bad advice, letting chemical companies poison children’s brains, or delivering tax cuts that push profits to record levels. By contrast, nothing he’s doing on immigration will help anyone or anything. He’s got no answer to the rise of asylum seekers and is seeking broad policy changes that will lower wages and incomes. Anyone who knows a thing about Trump’s career, knows there’s absolutely nothing to suggest he has an aptitude for or interest in genuine problem solving. He’s a flimflam man who’s had to pay out $21 million for civil fraud in his fake university lawsuit before taking office and is now facing a new fraud lawsuit over his fake charity. This cruelty, too, is just a fraudulent branding scheme meant to make people who resent immigrants think he cares about them when he doesn’t. Immigrant kids will pay the highest price of all this deception. But in reality, nobody is going to gain, except Trump himself.

Yet, while Donald Trump and his administration may be bereft of common decency, ethics, or empathy, that doesn’t mean we have to be. While American history has incidents where non-white families have been forcibly separated, that doesn’t mean we have to put up with it. Nor do we have to tolerate immigration enforcement putting children in tent cities or cages. If we don’t want this family separation policy to define who we are as a nation, then we must speak out on this appalling cruelty and make our voices heard. Otherwise, do we have any decency?

Goal Worthy Soccer Fans from the FIFA World Cup

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Okay, I know the Men’s US Soccer Team won’t be in Russia since they didn’t qualify. But Women’s US Soccer Team will qualify for theirs since they win the World Cup in their tournament almost every time.

This week marked the beginning for the 21st FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia which had rights since 2010 that was way before all the collusion, cheating, and human rights abuses. Since my country the United States didn’t qualify, this isn’t a huge deal outside diehard American soccer fans. But since its founding in 1930, the World Cup has been the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world as well as the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, even exceeding the Olympic Games. So it’s a very huge deal. And since it’s so widely watched around the world as soccer is one of the most popular sports, you’re granted to see plenty of crazy fans since a lot of countries take the sport very seriously like you have no idea. I mean have you ever heard of soccer hooligans? They exist. You also hear all kinds of crazy stories in soccer violence that make you scratch your head. And they thought American football fans were insane. Anyway, while most of my readers are American, there are plenty of viewers from other countries. So any post I do for the World Cup is mostly for them. Now for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of crazy soccer fans and their elaborate costumes worth blowing your vuvuzela over. Enjoy.

  1. Don’t worry, Russia’s soccer fans aren’t that crazy.

Well, this guy seems friendly though he might just like large grandiose hats. Hope the other fans are all right.

2. Look out, here comes the Swiss cow brigade.

They have plush cows on their hats. And they’re even wearing shirts for Team Switzerland. Odd since I thought they’re supposed to remain neutral.

3. You can tell this soccer fan is a proud Mexican.

Since he has the image from his national flag. But he’s also showing what his country will do to its rivals in the tournament. Cue the eagle killing a snake.

4. The Russians are up and ready to rumble.

They’re all wearing armor and headdress. Though I highly doubt that the war bonnet is part of their culture. Still, they look pretty awesome.

5. Sometimes you just have to send in the shamans.

This guy is from Ghana, by the way. And I think he might be doing a ritual from his culture though I doubt it. But you never know.

6. These Japanese fans are absolutely psyched for the World Cup.

Here they’re wearing pins of the World Cup trophy. Not sure why Japanese fans would wear these outfits.

7. Ladies, may I give you some delectable soccer fans from Greece.

As you can guess these nice-looking guys are dressed up as their country’s most famous dish. You know, Greek yogurt.

8. Bet you’ve never seen a Swedish woman like her.

Okay, that’s a guy. But he’s nonetheless wearing a horned helmet with braids.

9. It’s time for the Chinese fans to get the large drums out.

Well, they may not be as crazy as the others. But they seem like they’re performing a ritual with these large drums.

10. This Brazilian is all covered in flags.

You’ll see more Brazilian fans in this post. Since soccer is absolutely huge there. And yes, this costume is ridiculous.

11. Can’t cheer for the World Cup without Christ the Redeemer.

Well, the World Cup was held in Brazil that Year. Nonetheless, this guy has a rather interesting hat.

12. You’d almost think this American soccer fan is out of this world.

Too bad he won’t be in Russia. Since the US Men’s team didn’t make it. But he rocks in blue hair.

13. Here comes the Honduran Mayan king and his court.

They all have painted faces. Yet, the guy on the far left has a funky headdress.

14. Never thought I’d see a Colombian elephant before.

Okay, this isn’t the best fan costume I’ve seen. Yet, kind of has a combination of both pathetic and terrifying.

15. If you’re from Pakistan, get a load of this hat.

Yes, he’s wearing his country on his costume. Because he cares so much about his team to look this ridiculous.

16. A Dutchman always dreams of a World Cup win.

For some reason, there are a lot of crazy Dutch fans at international sporting events. And yes, he’s wearing large glasses, a pimp hat, and an orange Hulk hand.

17. In the Netherlands, it’s not over until the fat barmaid sings.

Sure she might seem straight out of Wagner if she wore a horned Viking helmet. But this Dutch lady goes for the orange.

18. The Japanese blue frog salutes the team.

Didn’t know what this guy’s significance is. Still, wouldn’t want to run into whoever they are.

19. Seems like Dutch Air brought in a whole flight crew.

Actually they’re just fans dressed as a flight crew so their team lands on a win. But compared with other outrageous Dutch costumes, this is low key.

20. Apparently, George S. Patton has decided to show up.

God only knows what Patton would say in a World Cup soccer match. Still, you can see where the look came from.

21. Apparently, the French fans decided to dress like Vikings.

I think they’re based on Asterix cartoons, which are reputedly popular there. But don’t ask me.

22. Irish World Cup fans always go for the green.

These guys paint themselves green and wear Irish flag wigs. And yes, they’re ready to rumble.

23. Want to see a couple of Argentinian zebras make out?

I don’t get the zebra thing since Argentina is in South America. But the guy seems a bit taken aback here.

24. This Ivory Coast fan can always make an impression.

You know he’s on stilts since no guy can be that tall. But he knows how to draw a large crowd.

25. Apparently, this Brazilian warlock has decided to take a picture.

Because giving children nightmares should get in the way of enjoying a soccer game. And yes, he’s wearing that outfit for Halloween.

26. These leprechauns are urging Team Ireland make it.

However, while these Irish may dress as leprechauns doesn’t mean Americans should do so. Because they find depictions of leprechauns outside their country very offensive.

27. Seems like this Brazilian has his beard really tied.

Not sure how this guy deals with the discomfort. Then again, he’s only wearing his beard for the tournament.

28. You can’t misidentify these all-American women.

I’ve heard the idea of wrapping oneself in an American flag. But painting akin to one just takes the cake for me.

29. Check out the glasses on this Danish guy.

Yes, he’s wearing soccer glasses. Because he has Danish soccer on his mind. Not sure if he’s eating a Danish.

30. This Dutch bear has high hopes for the World cup.

I’m sure he’s in an orange bear costume with the World Cup trophy. Not sure about the significance of that.

31. You might not want to mess with this masked Japanese fan.

Yes, that mask is creepy. Though I have to admit it goes well with the hat.

32. A Brazilian lady must have a big bow at the World Cup.

And yes, the bow is green with yellow polka dots. She even ahs 2014 glasses, too.

33. Wonder who’s in the Ghana box.

Apparently, a fan who’s just as mystified. Still, I wonder how that person got out of that after the tournament.

34. These Japanese fans are looking quite blue lately.

I mean their faces are painted blue and have blue hair to match. However, they seem quite excited seeing their team play.

35. This Swiss man always loves to blow his horn.

He’s brought his trumpet and funky hat. And yes, it has 2 bright Swiss balloons.

36. An Australian fan can’t go without an antler kangaroo?

Okay, that’s pretty weird. And I see the guy wearing a mask as if he doesn’t want an embarrassment.

37. Sometimes you just have to spread your wings.

There’s one guy from Colombia whose costume is so elaborate, people just have to pose with him. And no, I don’t think he can fly.

38. With these French fans, it’s all for one and one for all.

Since they’re dresses as the Three Musketeers. With feather hats from the 17th century and all.

39. These German women are hopping mad.

What’s the deal with the bunny ears? I don’t understand it since they seem quite ridiculous.

40. This Brazilian soccer fan debuts in his new flag suit.

He even has striped tights, big glasses, and a funky hat to match. Let’s give it for this guy.

41. Best you don’t get this German devil lady angry.

Fortunately for her, the German team won in Brazil in 2014. Yet, she has braids matching the flag colors.

42. A Brazilian woman can’t show up without a tall feather hat.

Well, Brazil is known for its colorful pageantry, especially in Rio. Yet, at least her headdress sparkles.

43. What the hell are those weird Dutch guys in Mohawks doing here?

Don’t ask me. I have no idea why they have these muscled guys here. Must be a Dutch thing.

44. An Aztec Emperor should always wear the most elaborate headdress.

If his team doesn’t do well in the World Cup, then he will have his priests rip the players’ hearts out. Nonetheless, he’s also a fan of tacos.

45. Looks like this Roman soldiers gung ho for Team Italy.

By the way, Italy didn’t make it in this year’s World Cup either. So you won’t see this Roman gladiator anytime soon in Russia.

46. You’ll get a big hand from this Australian.

Helps if he’s wearing a wide hat and a flag cape. But the large hand stands out.

47. You’d be pressed not to be endeared with these Icelandic Vikings.

Indeed, Vikings never wore horned helmets. But that doesn’t stop these guys from cheering and singing.

48. Best you beware of the dreaded Colombian Tiger.

Okay, he’s more like a carefree guy with a flamboyant headdress. Love the feathers.

49. Speaking of headdresses, the Italians get theirs on.

Sure I don’t think they have anyone in the culture wear these outlandish hats. But they’re nonetheless colorful.

50. You can tell these Germans are here for the soccer.

Since they’re wearing soccer ball suits. And I’m sure they’re both filled with a lot of air.

51. Mexico is really on a Chile pickle.

Okay, this fan is wearing a Mexico pickle hat. Still, it’s kind of hilarious no matter how you look at it.

52. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Spanish Zorro.

He’s in one of those body suits with a hat and mask. But he’s all for his Spanish team.

53. This man wears a horned helmet for Team India.

Just when did the Vikings visit India? Because I never heard about that in the history books. Still, he carries the look with dignity.

54. These American guys show up to the World Cup in their star-spangled silk robes.

Well, Americans have always treasured their penchant for comfy clothes. But these guys seem to take this at a whole new level.

55. Perhaps the Dutchman would like to bang the drum.

Yes, I know he’ll probably offend Native Americans looking at this with his feather headdress war bonnet. But at least he’s not in his home country in early December.

56. A World Cup victory can always make anyone feel like a king.

Well, he’s German fan who’s probably overjoyed in Brazil. Still, got to like his royal red robes.

57. Captain America is a man on a mission.

Okay, he’s not the Captain America. But he nonetheless has the iconic shield along with the stars and stripes on his suit.

58. This South Korean likes a good cigar now and then.

Kind of reminds me of an anime character. And chances are, he probably is. Though he’s from South Korea.

59. Only the Dutch would wear wigs of orange foam.

Their funky wigs even have flags of the Netherlands on them. And yes, the Dutch seem to go all out.

60. Sometimes it’s best you don’t mess with Mexicans in elaborate headdresses.

Not sure if he’s Mayan or Aztec. But he won’t be happy if his team loses. Still, his headdress rocks.

61. Darth Vader seems to be on the Argentinian side of the Force.

Since he believes that winning the World Cup is Argentina’s destiny. Else, he’ll force choke them.

62. Didn’t know that Pope Francis was at the World Cup with his fellow Argentinians.

Okay, Pope Francis wasn’t there. It’s just a guy in a mask of him. But I’m sure he’d like the tribute since he’s an avid soccer fan.

63. This Italian warrior is ready for the soccer challenge.

And he’s clad in blue armor to show it. Hope he’s lucky that he’s not the attraction in the gladiatorial games.

64. You don’t know nothing about the elusive Mask.

However, he’s here for Team Brazil. Nonetheless, this is a fitting costume in regards to the color scheme on the Brazilian flag.

65. She’s got two sombreros and not much to cover.

And you can see them conveniently placed over her boobs. Oh, and she has fringes, too.

66. At the World Cup, you can’t beat the zeal of the Orange General.

He’s a Dutch superfan. And yes, he’s clad in orange, a terrible color to wear in combat.

67. Heard of cheeseheads? Well, here are the Swiss cheeseheads.

You can see they got this idea from Green Bay Wisconsin. And they gave the notion a unique touch for the World Cup.

68. I give you Watermelon Man.

Here he is posing for a selfie. Has a quite pleasant face if you ask me.

69. Apparently, Russian fans like seeing their players ride dragons.

One has a hydra. The other has a red dragon. But both look quite formidable and whimsical.

70. This American fan is so badass, he even has his own dinosaur hand.

I’m sure Hollywood is working on a movie based on him as we speak. Because he certainly has the action movie look to him.

71. Without the orange you’d think these two came from Las Vegas.

Well, the Dutch never disappoint with their outrageous fans. Though I like the feather headdress.

72. Even hombres can rock in sombreros and Mexican dresses.

You have to admit these dresses are very colorful. And that these men rock in them.

73. Who’s supposed to be the creepy head among the Argentinians?

Maybe it’s one of the players. But it’s the stuff of nightmares nonetheless.

74. This Colombian fan knows how to impress.

This was all the way from 1990. And he’s dressed like a bird carrying 2 flags.

75. Seems like this lady likes to dress in the Union Jack.

She’s there to support her English soccer team. Also, this is from 1970, by the way.

76. These women from Uruguay have some unique choices in headwear.

It’s to imitate the sun emblazoned on their flag. And yes, they certainly stun.

77. Behold, the majestic feathered eagle warrior.

This fan has his arms outstretched in feathered wings. Like the Aztec warriors of pre-Columbian history.

78. Check out that horned creature all the way from Ecuador.

Sure this guy has his arms outstretched. Yet, you can’t help but keep your eyes on him and his strange head.

79. Apparently, Bert and Ernie are rooting for Team Germany.

Though Bert and Ernie are actually American characters from Sesame Street. Guess they have an international following.

80. Might want to watch out for those clowns from Ecuador.

One of them is the Joker from the Dark Knight. You know what destruction he’s capable of. Why so serious?

81. You can’t see anything more regal than these English lions.

Well, the lion has a special place in English iconography. Though they have crosses on their faces to show.

82. Seems like these Italian pilots have landed.

Each is dressed in a flag color. And they’re wearing old timey pilot hats to match.

83. The Eggman always knows how to make an entrance.

He’s a South African superfan with a huge headdress decked with eggs. Wonder how he manages to keep it on his head.

84. It’s not just humans who get swept up in World Cup excitement.

This basset hound is dressed in Brazil’s colors and wears a fro. And it seems quite attentive to the game in the stands.

85. You don’t want to see this Mexican when he’s angry.

But the Hulk certainly knows how to don a red sombrero. But please, don’t make him mad.

86. This Dutchman comes with his own veggies.

He’s even wearing a hat with carrots and a radish. So he won’t go hungry.

87. A Portuguese superhero must know how to rock a scarf and mustache.

Well, a superhero has to stand tall even at a soccer game. And yes, he has Portuguese flag insignia where the Superman logo would be.

88. Mexican Superman would never miss a soccer match for his country.

But keep in mind his main nemesis is Donald Trump. Because the guy’s a full-blown narcissistic sociopath and white supremacist.

89. Looks like one Mexican came to the World Cup on a donkey.

Don’t worry the donkey is part of the costume. Yet, you wonder how many seats he’ll take up in the stands.

90. During American games, you can never have too many Elvis impersonators.

Indeed, Elvis Presley is an American treasure. That’s why you have these fans in sequins to watch a US soccer match.

91. These English knights are up and ready for battle at the World Cup.

A few of them even have their faces painted. Still, wouldn’t want to wear all that mail in June.

92. These fans from South Africa know how to support their team.

Yes, South African fans can dress in crazy costumes, too. Though the one in the large glasses takes the cake.

93. It’s during the World Cup when some Ecuadorian fans don elaborate masks.

Not sure about the cultural significance of these outfits. Must be a Pre-Columbian thing.

94. You’d almost think these Americans have heads full of corn.

Well, our country grows and consumes a lot of it. So it’s only fair if you ask me.

95. Wonder what’s with the pot on his head.

As you can see, this guy is from Ghana. But his pot seems like it’s filling with smoke.

96. Man, this Brazilian has large, uh, soccer balls.

Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking. Still, Brazil is a big place for soccer as it’s always been.

97. All Mexicans at the World Cup, hail your Emperor Montezuma.

Well, he certainly has the outfit nailed. Still, best not to make him mad or he’ll give you a nice drink of water.

98. This American woman always wraps herself in a flag.

She even has a sign for Hope Solo. Though she’s not exactly America’s sweetheart if you ask me.

99. My fellow Americans, say hello to President Theodore Goalsevelt.

He’s a superfan who’s dressed like Theodore Roosevelt. But he’s more into soccer than big game hunting.

100. A big head of hair always requires a large comb.

And you can see that with this Brazilian fan who seems like a used car salesman from Las Vegas. Still, like his large glasses.