State Rep. Adam Kwasman (R-AZ11)

There is a reason Amanda Marcotte is so angry:

There’s been a major boneheaded failure already in these nascent attempts at pretending to have “compassion” for the migrant children and pretending that the desire to send them back is borne out of this “compassion”. Adam Kwasman is one of those frothing-at-the-mouth anti-immigrant state legislators in Arizona—naturally, he’s also running for Congress—and he was trying to strike the “I just care so much about these kids!” pose by describing what he said was a bus full of migrant children that he believed were afraid.

In pure politician bullshit mode, Kwasman said, “I was actually able to see some of the children in the buses. The fear on their faces …. This is not compassion.” He went on to imply that the Obama administration is somehow failing at “border security” and that being stricter about it in some abstract way would prevent the “sad” kids, presumably by allowing them to die quietly in the desert instead of make it across the border. Compassion!

There is, of course, a punch line. And do you really want to know?


So, right. Marcotte notes:

The problem is that the bus he saw was not actually a bus full of migrant children. It was a school bus full of kids on their way to a YMCA camp. Upon having the reporter tell him this, Kwasman flailed, saying, “They were sad, too.” He added, “People were not happy down the line.”

Come on. Really?

Perhaps this is an occasion for those more compassionately inclined to attempt to reorient the discourse.

Columbia weeps.

There is a reason Ms. Marcotte is so angry, and I think it fair to wonder who would not join her? It is not even a question of whether the best we have is the best we can do. Nor is it about whether or not this is the best they can do. Rather, it has something vaguely to do with, What … are … they … thinking? This is not healthy behavior. Even if we consider a more detailed critique, while the Republican state Representative from the Eleventh Legislative District and candidate for the First Congressional District in Arizona did note, “That’s an error by me”, look at what he was trying to stir up. And even his cruel attempt to exploit frightened children isn’t quite right:

The bus in question was a school bus filled with kids on their way to YMCA summer camp. If they had fear on their faces, it was likely because they were forced to leave their video games behind.

But alas, fear is apparently in the eye of the beholder, as 12News reporter William Pitts reported that the kids on the bus were laughing and using their cell phones to video the ridiculous display outside their bus window.

Furthermore, it occurs to me that in the case of an actual busload of child refugees there might arise a question of what makes them afraid. Certes, there is always uncertainty about what is actually going to happen, but this is also the part of the harrowing journey where they might be able to rest reasonably assured that they are not about to die. And then there is a random angry mob to greet them? And, yet, it all falls away because, apparently, aside from actually having gone to the protest, Rep. Adam Kwasman seems to have pretty much made up the rest. So, yeah. There is, to the one, the proposition of the lie itself. But more importantly, perhaps, there is also the fact of what attitudes Kwasman is pitching to. The Mother of Exiles honors no such cruelty.


Marcotte, Amanda. “Politician tells tall tale of a bus full of migrant kids, turns out it was a school bus headed to summer camp”. Pandagon. 16 July 2014.

Roberts, Laurie. “We should totally elect Adam Kwasman to Congress”. 16 July 2014.

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