Yesterday afternoon, as expected, Donald Trump announced the end of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, which allowed for young people brought to America illegally as children to be granted work permits until such time as Congress could get its shit together to pass legislation that would prevent the mass deportation of 800,000 people who've never known any home but the United States. Or, rather, Trump sent out a man to do it for him who, just two years ago, publicly heaped admiration on a 1924 immigration law advocated by eugenicists to keep Jews and Italians out of the United States.
Obama has kept mostly quiet since Trump's inauguration, as he insinuated he would. But during his final press conference, the president imagined a time where he might feel obligated to speak up. He talked about systematic discrimination, voter suppression and freedom of dissent. But very specifically, he talked about DACA:
“And for me at least I would put in that category, efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them someplace else. When they love this country, they are our kids, friends, and classmates, and are now entering into community colleges and in some places serving in our military."
And so, with Monday evening's news that Trump would rescind the executive order, rumors abounded that Obama intended to break his silence with a Facebook post detailing his thoughts. If nothing else, remember that, in Obama's world, Twitter is for comfort, Facebook is for indignation.
Soon after Jeff Sessions waddled back into his hutch following the announcement of DACA's demise, Obama posted his post, calling the decision "cruel," and saying (full text here):
"Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages."
Realize that this is not a man easily harried. It's a man who, as leader of the free world and contemporaneous American icon, quietly weathered years of mindless obstructionism, subtle and flagrant racism, and the demented howls of a lunatic reality television star who somehow got a not-insignificant chunk of the electorate to go on a Carmen San Diego-like hunt for Obama's birth certificate, only to see said lunatic succeed him and replace all his tasteful decor with chipped gold leaf and posters of clowns. This, ladies and gentlemen, has taken unthinkable levels of sophrosyne. You couldn't do it. We couldn't. And sure, it was pretty easy to spot and identify with the quiet rage so obviously bubbling beneath the surface at various points of his presidency, but rarely did Obama outwardly appear anything other than calm and collected. So ignoring for now the sad fact that there is a greater number of eloquent, coherent sentences in this Facebook post than have been uttered, tweeted or mashed onto a wi-fi-less Thinkpad during the entirety of the still-young Trump administration, this is Obama's version of angry, post-presidency. In order to understand and replicate the process of bringing the 44th president out of tender slumber and into the public discourse, I've put together a quick Complete Idiot's Guide to Pissing Off Barack Obama...
To prove what a big man you are, show people the letter Barack wrote you as you ignore its sound advice and destroy everything your common office stands for with a combination of malignancy and haplessness.
Go out of your way to needlessly threaten the lives and futures of 800,000 law-abiding Americans because there's a chance your approval ratings won't dip below 36 percent if you do.
Use the term "the compassionate thing to do" while doing so.
Oh shit, that did it.