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No One Who Locks Up Children Should Be Able to Have a Nice Dinner at a Mexican Restaurant

10:45 AM PDT on June 20, 2018

[dropcap size=big]“H[/dropcap]ave you listened to it?” a woman yells at Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen. “Do you hear them crying?”

“Shame on you!” she yells ferociously.

Nielsen’s head is lowered, presumably to her cell phone. She looks like she could be bowing in shame, too.

Last night around dinner-time in Washington DC, the Trump cabinet member responsible for carrying out a plan of separating refugee children from families at the U.S.-Mexico border, sat down at a Mexican restaurant called MXDC Cocina Mexicana — a block from the White House — and tried to eat.

MXDC Cocina Mexicana is the kind of place that has been popping up in office districts across the country the last ten years or so, red or blue state. It sells something called Lobster and Corn Guacamole for 15 dollars. Taco orders start at 11. There are brussels sprouts on the menu for no good reason.

Diners like these are sleek, Mexicanish, dark. Underlying the appeal is that they are geared to contemporary cocktail-hour tastes. In Trump’s Washington, it must be popular. Because no matter how racist or hateful you are, everybody in the U.S.A. loves Mexican food.

Somehow, the Democratic Socialists of America were tipped off. In a video posted by the group’s DC chapter, the activists are seen approaching the secretary’s table and letting it rip.

“What’s your salary? How much do you make locking up children?”

“How many more kids are you going to lock up?”

Watch the whole thing. It’s surprisingly satisfying. It’s also curiously long. Nielsen doesn’t get up and leave for several minutes. Her plate looks half eaten, and she was probably hungry after having spent the day justifying the policy of locking up kids and throwing them in dangerous hell-holes.

Most other people in the restaurant seemingly understood the irony and stood by. Also looks like the same goes for the restaurant staff — which, by any measure of reasonable probability, includes Mexican immigrants.

The dinner-crashing story by the DSA led national morning news programs on the major networks. People will be seeing this, an example of dignified yet direct civilian statements of displeasure at a policy that is cruel and inhumane no matter how you slice it.

But Nielsen is only one of many figureheads. Think of all the senators, House members, and all their chiefs of staff. Think of all the agents at the Border Patrol, at Customs and Border Protection, at Immigration and Customs Enforcement — normal people with normal houses who suit up every day and carry out these separations.

Think of the next time the public servants who are complicit in these actions head out to a relaxing dinner at a “cocina mexicana” in your city. Put another way, WWABD — What Would Anthony Bourdain Do?

[11:03 am UPDATE: President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order ending the practice of separating children from families on Wednesday afternoon, reports say. Check back for more.]

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