There are two reasons why ICE agents rip crying kids away from their parents, and “Orders are orders” is not one. The two reasons are because it makes the Rippers feel powerful and because they like it. If they didn’t enjoy it, they could refuse or quit.
“Following orders” is neither excuse nor explanation. Nazi perpetrators said “If we didn’t they would have sent us to the front.” Well — you were “soldiers,” and millions of your countrymen fought the Russians while you stayed behind safe, bullying, torturing and murdering. No one in the German armed forces was ever punished for refusing to murder people. Soldiers who declined were given other duties (while eager volunteers took their place). No one is forcing these agents to behave like monsters. If Nazis could decline, so can they.
The really scary thing about the Trumpists is that there are tens of thousands who would love to take part in savagery, love to watch parents and children cry, love to be guards at camps set up to hold “undesirables” where they could act like gods.
And, just as certain but even scarier, there are thousands who would willingly perform state-sponsored mass murder, if only someone would give them the opportunity.
We are now standing on a cusp. The president-who-would-be-king is taking the stand that he is totally and absolutely above the law, and we now must hope that some Republican senators and congressmen find a spine, some testicles and a conscience.
I hold little hope.