Donald Trump has just signed an executive order reversing the Clinton era policy of separating children from their illegal migrant parents at the southern border of the United States. While this policy has been in operation since the 1990s, it was only in the last month that it caught the attention of American media and the political class.
Ultimately, the issue is one for the leaders of the US to decide and under immense media and political pressure, the US President has taken the matter into his own hands and changed a policy based entirely on a public pressure campaign rather than his own apparent line of thinking which favours an increasingly tough border policy.
What this proves is that on issues effecting the well being of humans who happen not to be US citizens, public pressure campaigns can in fact get policies changed, especially in an election year. When one thinks that George W. Bush illegally invaded Iraq just over a year before facing re-election while Tony Blair did the same only two short years before facing the UK electorate, it beggars belief that anti-war campaigns have been so ineffective at reversing policies that slaughter millions, destroy entire regions and all the while unleashing the most barbaric forms of terrorism in places where there once was little or none.
Irrespective of one’s views of America’s border policy, even those who believe it to be inhumane must admit that it did not result in the deaths, terrorism and destruction of the US led wars on Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and the hybrid war against Syria.
While millions of people marched against the Iraq war throughout the world in 2003, far more than have gone on demonstrations against the controversial child separation policy of the US border authorities, it nevertheless had no effect on US policy in the Middle East. In fact, the amount of wars and number of troops committed across the Middle East by the US and its partners only increased since 2003.
Why then did the anti-war marches fail while the pro-migrant movement accomplished its goal? The reason is simple. While masses of protesters can control the streets and non-corporate air waves, the corporate media in the United States that is willing to take a side on issues like migration is unwilling, unable or not wanting to go up against the pro-war factions of Washington. The same is true even for most so-called independent minded politicians in the US, almost all of whole lose their independent streak when it comes to war, with retired Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, his son Senator Rand Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders being exceptions in the wilderness.
While corporate media is losing viewership at a rapid pace among the wider public and the young in particular, among the policy making class, there is still a tendency to literally view the world through a bubble and refuse to look at non-corporate or non-western originated media for any other purpose than to mock, sneer and at times, attempt to censor.
It is because of this, that the kind of invisible connection between the narrative of mainstream media pundits and politicians can lead to meaningful policy change while this is not the case when it comes to anti-war issues that the mainstream media in the US tends to either ignore or berate (before ignoring).
In this sense, the political-media complex has worked to insure that the issues that are important to the boardrooms of CNN and MSNBC are those which are important to the politicians who can then pressure a reluctant President to change a policy he previously appeared to support.
It is only when politicians begin to take non-corporate western media sources at face value rather than look for conspiracies (aka Russian meddling) which do not exist, that the growing number of people opposed to war might be able to affect policy change. Until then, the anti-war voices of millions were be ignored, while the loud but comparatively quieter thousands of voices raised against America’s border policies will be heeded.
The solution for anti-war protesters is to not give up but to shame the part-time humanitarians who cried at the thought of strangers in a strange land being separated from their families, yet who say nothing when families living in their ancestral homes are separated from one another by the force of a bomb – never to be reunited. If you think that America’s long standing border policy was inhumane but do not feel similar things towards the families America’s military slaughters in their own home – then you do not have a heart after all…but you probably have a high definition television.