At the Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference this past weekend in Boulder, Colo., a hotel full of publishers and editors grappled with the significance of a new round of ICE roundups announced for the very weekend of the gathering.
A portion of the programming was given over to DACA recipients living in fear of deportation to a country they never knew, or risked everything to flee. Their message resonated through the room like mournful howls in the desert. By phone, text and email, editors scrambled reporters in markets across the country to cover the coming ICE action. In Boulder, near the hotel, protesters gathered in a park and marched through downtown with their signs.
Trump’s ICE raids have led to the most egregious human-rights violations on American soil this century.
As it all began, Roxanne Cooper, current publisher of Raw Story, which is the largest operation in the association, and newsroom veteran of decades, sat at a café table and scowled.
“I don’t know,” she said. “It looks like a rope-a-dope to me.”
You know the rope-a-dope, even if you don’t.
It’s a tactic in which an actor tires out the opponent by allowing a salvo of offensive maneuvers that, ultimately, cause little to no damage to the actor while depleting the opponent’s resources. It’s how Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman.
It’s also, Cooper said, how President Trump is deflecting real threats to his presidency, notably the announcement of an appearance by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that neatly coincided with this newest round of ICE raids, as the last round of ICE raids dovetailed with Mueller’s last public statement on May 29.
This is not to say that Trump’s ICE raids are inconsequential — they have led to the most egregious human-rights violations on American soil this century and instill fear among undocumented people and their loved ones.
And it’s not to insinuate that the response hasn’t accomplished great gains, including training for those vulnerable, public awareness to the plight of immigrants, the quantum growth of the Siembra NC Solidarity Committee and a rising opposition to the machinations of the White House and those who enable them.
But if there is one ongoing theme to the Trump presidency, it the barrage of ridiculous actions that outrage good people everywhere. Between the tweets, the executive orders and the general absurdity, it’s hard to keep up.