The State Department Picked the Very Worst Time to Offer Family Travel Tips

What could go wrong?

Chris Kleponis/ZUMA

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The State Department’s offer seemed benign and well intentioned: to share best practices for families planning to travel abroad with their children. The problem was the timing.

The Facebook Live event, which was dubbed “Family Travel Hacks,” was widely slammed Tuesday as tone-deaf amid outrage over the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that is separating an average of 65 immigrant children a day from their parents at the border. The initiative, which was also announced on Twitter, was quickly “ratio-ed“—given far more comments (presumably negative ones) than likes and retweets:

Despite the unfavorable initial response, the State Department went ahead with the live event. On Facebook, the initiative received an even harsher reception.

“What tips do you have to beat the heat for toddlers imprisoned in a concentration camp in Texas in 100+ degree heat?” user Matt Schneider asked. “And what type of baby pajamas will go best with a tin foil blanket?” (As of this writing, Schneider’s comment is the event’s top comment.)

“Awww it’s so fun to fly with your kids,” another commented sarcastically. “Your kids who are safe and sound and not locked away in a cage away from anyone and anything they’ve ever known.” 

“Is the orientation seminar for children before or after they are torn, screaming from the arms of their parents?” one asked.

Some questioned whether the State Department was trolling critics of the administration’s aggressive new immigration policy. Unsurprisingly, the employees at the State Department running the live event opted to reply only to users asking for travel tips in earnest.

The mounting outcry over the Trump administration’s immigration policy is showing no signs of slowing down, as Democrats, former first ladies, the United Nations, US governors, and some Republican lawmakers all speaking out against it. One social media campaign to help reunite families separated at the border is on track to exceed $6 million in donations after launching only days ago.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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