Trump’s Ignoring Our Real ‘National Emergies’

  • If the caravan proceeds by foot, during the period of its journey 16,800 Americans will die from drugs.

  • In the period of the caravan’s journey, perhaps 690,000 Americans will become homeless, including 267,000 children.

  • In the period of the caravan’s journey, 8,850 Americans will die from guns, including suicides and murders.

  • In the period of the caravan’s journey, perhaps 9,000 Americans will die from lack of health insurance (people die at higher rates when they’re uninsured, although there’s disagreement about how much higher).

Maybe the real “National Emergy” is drugs, homelessness, gun deaths and lack of health insurance?

.. the issue isn’t really even immigration. Rather, it’s fearmongering. Scholars have found that reminding people of dangers makes them temporarily more conservative, so this kind of manipulation can be an effective campaign tactic.

Remember the 2014 midterm elections? This is a replay. In the run-up to voting, Republicans ratcheted up fears of a “border crisis” with terrorists sneaking in from Mexico to attack us, plus alarm about Ebola and the risk that the outbreak in West Africa could reach America.

.. Trump also tweeted then that if a New York physician who returned from West Africa developed Ebola (as he later did), “then Obama should apologize to the American people & resign.”

In the 2014 elections, Republican candidates ran hundreds of ads denouncing the Obama administration’s handling of Ebola. News organizations chronicled this “debate,” but in retrospect they were manipulated into becoming a channel to spread fear — and win Republican votes.

.. Yet Ebola, like the Central American caravan, is a reminder of the distinction between grandstanding and governing.

.. Obama’s technocratic Ebola program — working with France and Britain, plus private aid groups — may have worried voters, but it was effective.

.. the Ebola virus was contained and eventually burned out. Good governance often turns out to be bad politics, and vice versa.

.. Perhaps the approach with the best record is aid programs to curb gang violence in countries like Honduras, to reduce the factors that lead people to attempt the dangerous journey to the United States. Yet it’s not tangible and doesn’t impress voters. So Trump instead is talking about an expensive wall and about cutting aid to Central America, even though this would magnify the crisis there and probably lead more people to flee north.

.. I fear that we in the media have become Trump’s puppets, letting him manipulate us to project issues like the caravan onto the agenda.

.. Trump is right that, although there’s no evidence of it, “there could very well be” Middle Easterners hiding in the caravan. It’s equally true that the Easter Bunny “could very well be” in the caravan. Speaking of Easter, Jesus Christ “could very well be” in the caravan.

.. So let’s stop freaking out about what “could very well be” and focus on facts. Here are two:

  1. First, the Caravan won’t make a bit of difference to America.
  2. Second, we have other problems to focus on, from drugs to homelessness to health care, that genuinely constitute a “National Emergy.”

The Great God of Depression

Nearly 30 years ago, the author William Styron outed himself in these pages as mentally ill.

.. why, he asked, were depressed people treated as pariahs?

A confession of mental illness might not seem like a big deal now, but it was back then. In the 1980s, “if you were depressed, it was a terrible dark secret that you hid from the world,” according to Andrew Solomon, a historian of mental illness and author of “The Noonday Demon.” “People with depression were seen as pathetic and even dangerous. You didn’t let them near your kids.”

.. Readers were electrified by Mr. Styron’s confession in part because he inhabited a storybook world of glamour. After his novel “Sophie’s Choice” was adapted into a blockbuster movie in 1982, Mr. Styron rocketed from mere literary success to Hollywood fame. Meryl Streep ..

.. Mr. Styron had never wanted to become “the guru of depression.” But after his article, he felt he had a duty to take on that role.

.. His famous memoir of depression, “Darkness Visible,” came out in October 1990.

.. Mr. Styron’s curiosity about his own mind, and his determination to use himself as a case study to understand a mysterious disease, that gave the book its political power. “Darkness Visible” demonstrated that patients could be the owners and describers of their mental disorders, upending centuries of medical tradition in which the mentally ill were discredited and shamed.

.. His book became required reading in some medical schools, where physicians were finally being trained to listen to their patients.

.. Mr. Styron also helped to popularize a new way of looking at the brain. In his telling, suicidal depression is a physical ailment, as unconnected to the patient’s moral character as cancer. The book includes a cursory discussion of the chemistry of the brain

.. In the 1990s, bookstores were crowded with mental-illness memoirs — Kay Redfield Jamison’s “An Unquiet Mind,” Susanna Kaysen’s “Girl, Interrupted” and Elizabeth Wurtzel’s “Prozac Nation,” to name a few. You read; you wrote; you survived.

.. When he revealed his history of depression, he inadvertently set a trap for himself. He became an icon of recovery. His widow, Rose Styron, told me that readers would call the house at all hours when they felt suicidal, and Mr. Styron would counsel them. He always took those calls, even when they woke him at 3 in the morning.

 

 

Here’s what psychologists say are 3 factors present in every suicide

“In every suicide there is ‘thwarted belongingness,’ where the person has lost a relationship that was significant,” Brickley said.

He said an example would be a teen who had four close friends and one pulled away.

The second thing that is present in every suicide is the belief that the person’s loved ones will be better off and suffer less pain if the victim dies rather than lives, Brickley said.

If a teen is consistently getting in trouble or getting bad grades, that teen might think his family would be better off without him.

The third factor is a mind-over-matter state that someone has to be in to actually take their own life.

“Someone has to physically be able to handle the method in which that person has chosen to die,” he said.

Separating children from their parents isn’t just immoral. It also threatens our national security.

The American Public Health Association wrote that the trauma from such separation could lead to alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, obesity and suicide. (While the White House says the policy will end for future migrants, it will still affect the thousands of children currently in custody.)

.. But even for those who believe immigration lawbreakers deserve punishment, there’s another argument against separating children from their families: national security. The government’s policy puts the United States at risk, in both the short and long term, by breeding a generation of children with psychological problems and a population elsewhere that reviles us. Traumatized children are prime recruits for extremist groups.

Their children and children’s children grow up in the shadow of, to use the language of 9,300 mental health experts, shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds.” As adults, these traumatized children are significantly more likely to have encounters with law enforcement.

.. An extensive body of literature documents how early childhood trauma creates cycles of violence that can destabilize whole nations.

.. most “deterrence” interventions, including jailing and family separation, actually triggered increased terrorist attacks.

.. In North America, the survivors of forced attendance in American Indian boarding schools have seen the effects reverberate for years. Scholars in Canada have drawn causal links between boarding school attendance (sometimes for children as young as 3) in the 1900s and elevated levels of depression, drug use and criminal behavior two generations later.

.. Native American women sent to boarding schools as girls were six times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts and had a 57 percent higher rate of alcoholism as adults.

.. A 2016 study of 15,587 adult children of incarcerated parents found that separating children from parents directly increased interactions with the criminal justice system, including drug abuse and gang affiliation.

.. Syrian children separated from their support systems are “more likely to become

  • the youngest laborers in the factory,
  • the youngest brides at the altar, and
  • the youngest soldiers in the trench.”

.. The individual suffering of older children is immediately consequential to our security because incarceration centers have become recruiting grounds for armed groups. Trump’s favorite boogeyman, the MS-13 gang from which so many Salvadorans fleewas founded in Los Angeles prisons. The United States is keenly aware that young people can be easily radicalized while imprisoned

.. We have seen the radicalization of incarcerated youths firsthand. One of us, Steven Leach, spent years working with South African juveniles awaiting trial. These youths did not all enter detention as organized criminals, but without exception, among those who worked with Leach, each left prison a member of the gang.

..  A similar problem emerged in the internment camps of the Anglo-Boer war, in which British soldiers detained civilians to deter guerrilla campaigns by Boer insurgents. Approximately 115,000 people were held in the camps between 1901 and 1902; 22,000 Afrikaner children died. More than a century later, that horror remains at the forefront of the Afrikaner imagination

.. He leverages lies to stoke fear here: “We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!

..Naturally, this feeds radical anti-American sentiment and promotes nationalism abroad when the U.S. is most in need of alliances to solve global problems.

.. There is now strong evidence that punitive deterrence strategies don’t work, no matter how burdensome they are.

.. punishments between 2000 and 2015 effectively reduced economic migration from Mexico but had negligible impact on the population the administration is targeting with its current policy: asylum seekers fleeing violence.

The report points out that there is no consequence worse than death and violence at home for these migrants.

.. If these are people we want as enemies, we had better be prepared for a multigenerational war.