“Sometimes truth transcends party.”
I am not Christian, but I am familiar with the Old and New Testament. I have read about Jesus and his beliefs, and this much I know...he would have been horrified at what is happening at our borders today. Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to justify the policy of separating families by a misinterpretation of the Bible. To use the Bible or any part of religion to justify separating a child from his/her parent is beyond blasphemous. To quote James J. Martin, a Jesuit priest and secretariat of communications for the Vatican, "It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. Do not use the Bible to justify sin."
If you have read my blogs through the years, you are aware of my belief that every argument has two sides, and compromise is our greatest weapon in most cases. I understand the need to protect our borders from people entering illegally, and although I believe we should open our arms to the world’s hungry and oppressed, I understand the need to do so in an orderly fashion. Unfortunately, what our government is doing now is the opposite of orderly. To rip a child from his mother’s arms causes chaos for everyone involved and proves we have learned nothing from our most horrifying actions of the past.
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, after American settlers pressured the federal government to remove Native Americans from the Indian lands in the Southeast. They, wanted more land available for European (Caucasian) settlers, so the Native Americans were forcibly relocated. Many were separated from loved ones, suffered from disease, exposure and hunger, while the government took over their land. This Trail of Tears is looked back on in horror, and yet here we are again, showing the inhumanity we had hoped to have overcome.
The Civil War abolished the practice of slavery which had been legal is some states since the formation of our country. Families were separated, children were sold to the highest bidder, and our government allowed it to go on until the mid 1800’s, when our country was almost torn apart over the rights of one person to own another. We look back on it now and wonder how it could have been, and yet here we are again, separating families and showing the inhumanity we had hoped to have overcome.
During the Second World War, our government saw fit to build internment camps right here on American soil. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were relocated and incarcerated in these camps according to various sources. Families were torn apart, with many losing everything of value that they owned. According to the Semiannual Report of the War Relocation Authority, for the period January 1 to June 30, 1946, sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. Looking back we vowed that we would never allow ourselves to act in such a manner again, and yet here we are again, separating families and showing the inhumanity we had hoped to have overcome.
It might be comforting for us to place the blame on the immigrants fleeing Mexico and Central America for a better life. After all, if they love their children they shouldn’t risk crossing our border now, with all of the new laws in place. Unfortunately, these people don’t have access to newscasts that tell them what the United States has become. They make this arduous journey over land with their children, to escape the gang-fueled violence, extortion and recruitment of the children they love. They are coming to ask for asylum and instead find themselves separated from those babies they are willing to risk their lives to protect.
I have not been sleeping. I know what is happening in this country I love is wrong, but I don’t know what I can do to help. I read the stories of children crying for their parents and realize we have a long way to go as a country before our inhumanity is overcome. Donald Trump is one man who is presiding over a country of supposed checks and balances. How can so many leaders in his party allow this to go on? How can so many men and women put their jobs and political desires over the welfare of innocent children? How can those that claim to represent me get it so horribly wrong?
I am heartened by Republicans like the Bush family, who speak out in an effort to pull their party back on track. I fear the demise of our two party system and support the Republican Party whose ideas and existence, along with those of the Democratic Party, represent what is best about America. That Republican Party, along with our country, has been hijacked, and unless we work (and vote) together to hold on to this country that has so proudly been represented by a statue that welcomes all to our shores, we will lose more than our humanity...we will lose the very soul of America.
I have to believe that we are better than that, and Jon Meacham’s book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, was a good book to read this week. He inserts a glimmer of hope with his beliefs, and hopefully we will get through this too.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.