People Going Bugf*ck Insane About The Kiddie Jails Going Bugf*ck Insane FOR WRONG REASONS.
Theologian Russell Moore expressed concern like a common human being yesterday about the appalling conditions of Donald Trump's kiddie jails. Evangelical hack Jerry Falwell Jr. didn't appreciate Moore's negative TripAdvisor review and scorched him on Twitter.
This was bizarre even for Falwell, the born-again Trump disciple. Moore is a preacher. We'd expect him to feel bad about the mistreatment of children, even brown ones. That's reasonably on brand. Imagine if Paul McCartney tweeted something about "the love you make" and Ringo snarkily responded, "Have you ever made a payroll? Were you ever stressed about quarterly shareholder reports?"
Falwell thinks it's unfair to criticize the fine folks running Trump's Pleasure Islands unless you've walked a mile in their jackboots. That's apparently also the position of online retailer Wayfair. The company reportedly sold $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to government contractor BCFS. It was sent to a "facility" in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that will detain up to 3,000 migrant children. Wayfair made $86,000 from the deal, more than enough to buy a few toothbrushes.
Last September, Wayfair sold furniture to another Texas kiddie jail that held more than 2,500 children. It was shut down in January because of "serious safety and health concerns." This alone should be an impeachable offense. Anyway, a letter signed by 547 employees politely asked Wayfair not to involve itself in anything so gross. The response from CEO Niraj Shah was farcical.
Really, what is this shit? "As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate." Wow, way to aim high. Sheesh, they should've gone with Falwell's response to Moore. It was deranged and hostile but pleasantly free of corporate double speak.
These guys sell furniture not tanks. It's easy enough to avoid shady government contracts. Wayfair even has a sweet sponsorship deal with "Property Brothers." The company's doing all right. Once the tortured children are out of the bag, there's no continued benefit in general war profiteering. This is first year business school stuff.
Wayfair has two separate defenses for its actions, both of them lousy. There's "diversity of thought," as if supporting concentration camps is just a legitimate difference of opinion. Then there's Wayfair's supposed "standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers." This isn't a minority couple looking for "just what they need and so much more." The ghouls who run detention centers for children aren't a protected class. Wayfair is also tap dancing on thin ice when it claims it's dealing with people "acting within the law." We're not sure how true that is, but we're certain nothing ethical or moral is happening there.
Employees at Wayfair's Boston headquarters are planning a walkout today at 1:30 p.m., and people across the Twitterverse have declared their intentions to boycott Wayfair's pricey furniture. Stock prices dropped when news broke of Wayfair's kiddie jail dealings. This is all a big mess.
Some conservatives have predictably defended Wayfair's business model.
Yes, sir, your argument is insane.The Resurgent
Erick Erickson demonstrates some mighty fine faulty logic: If people object to Wayfair profiting off the misery of children, they must support children's continued misery. It's weird. Conservatives are usually the ones who complain that people on welfare are going to the grocery store in brand new hover cars to buy steak-fed lobster. Shouldn't they object to the government wasting $200,000 on bedroom furniture when it simultaneously argues that it can't afford basic hygiene products and decent child care?
For the record, our position is that children shouldn't sleep on concrete floors. They shouldn't be separated from their parents. And they shouldn't be caged like animals. We can do better.
Wayfair employees who are participating in the walkout urge the company to reconsider its position and to donate its kiddie jail profits to RAICES, a non-profit that provides legal aid to immigrants.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.