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Can America survive a second term of Trump?

With US government lawyers defending Trump policies towards migrant children, the drowning of a toddler and her father, Yvonne Ridley asks if Donald Trump is taking America to hell in a handcart

As a journalist I have worked for some controversial figures over the years, but as long as I was allowed to do my job without undue editorial interference I was happy to continue.

However, everyone should have an ethical red line which can be quite challenging when there’s a mortgage or rent to pay and food to put on the table.

So I will not be too harsh in my judgement of American lawyer Sarah B. Fabian who has already received death threats and abuse for defending the Trump Administration’s inhumane position on immigration.

However I would advise Fabian to start looking for a job elsewhere because her position as a foot soldier for the Trump camp is, I would submit, destroying her respect and credibility.

Her appearance before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, in a case about how the federal government is legally obligated to treat migrant children who are in custody, has already gone viral.

During the hearing she tried to explain “safe and sanitary conditions” over the handling of migrant children who are being held in detention.

Fabian suggested that the federal government may not be required to provide soap, toothbrushes or beds for detained migrant children.

That did not play well with the judge who knew only too well the challenges of being held in prisons. Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima, a former Marine, was held as a child in a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

Clearly disturbed by Fabian’s defence he pressed her further: “It’s within everybody’s common understanding that if you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, that’s not ‘safe and sanitary. Wouldn’t everybody agree to that? Do you agree with that?”

I don’t know if the judge received soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush during his own detention but I most certainly did when I was held by the Taliban in Afghanistan just after the horrific events of 9/11.

If the so-called most evil, brutal regime in the world as both the then US President George W Bush and British leader Tony Blair called the Taliban, could keep me in toiletries, clean clothes, a flush loo and power shower then surely the so-called leader of the free world can do the same for some innocent children.

But it seems not according to human rights lawyer Elora Mukherjee who told journalists this week:  I have been representing and interviewing immigrant children and their families in detention. Most recently, I was in Brownsville, Texas, interviewing children detained at Casa Padre last July.

“In March of this year, I was in Homestead, Florida, interviewing children detained there. Both of those facilities were very controversial and have received a lot of coverage.

“Last week I was in Clint, and the conditions we found were appalling. In 12 years representing immigrant children in detention, I have never seen such degradation and inhumanity. Children were dirty, they were scared, and they were hungry.”

So this is the sort of treatment which Fabian has attempted to defend. After being humiliated in court trying to justify the cruel actions of the Customs and Border Protection agency, may be it’s time for Fabian to reflect on her own future.

The video here has been watched more than 20 million times and reveals how she stopped short of saying it wasn’t really up to the Trump government to provide toothbrushes, soap and beds to migrant children.

But as she squirmed around the subject, and her apparent inability to clarify for the judges exactly what she was trying to say, Fabian became the Trump administration’s piñata over the disgusting treatment of migrant children at the border.

Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, called on Fabian to be “fired and prevented from ever holding another government job.”

I still have a mortgage to pay and a crust to earn but these days I work for myself which is a great deal less complicated and much more rewarding spiritually.

However my conscience still keeps me awake at night as I wonder where our world is heading. Last night I was haunted by the images of Julia La Duc’s harrowing photograph of 23-month-old Valeria and her father, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, who both drowned trying to cross the border from Mexico into the US.

Having trekked from El Salvador, their dangerous journey came to an abrupt end as they tried to overcome the currents of the river. Lying face-down at the water’s edge the toddler’s arm can be seen draped around her father’s neck.

The photograph is indeed shocking and has caused moral outrage around the world. Just like the absence of toiletries in the CBP camps and cages, the time has come when America must face the consequences of its own brutal policies.

The moral decay has everything to do with the Republican Party, and the conservative movement which propelled Donald J. Trump in to the White House.

He is devoid of morals, values, and ethics; a man without any hint of humanity having pursued a hedonistic lifestyle and ruthless business streak chasing money and women.

Today I would urge the American people to watch the video of a government lawyer trying to defend Trump’s policies on innocent migrant children before looking at the photograph of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria.

The so-called leader of the free world is about to drag your country to Hell in a handcart over his heartless policies, continual war-mongering and lack of humanity. Pull back from the brink and make sure he does not have a second term in The White House … for all our sakes.

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