I’m writing this via my phone as I’m locked out of my blog everywhere else (long, exceedingly annoying story), so please forgive any typos or incoherence.
We had a lovely Father’s Day celebrating Tom and talking to my dear father and getting good time with T’s dad at the beach last week. And yet the whole day was tinged with a decidedly black cast by the fact that the Trump administration has torn more than 2,000 kids from their parents at the Mexico-US border as they staggered across seeking asylum. They have a legal right to do so, and we have a moral obligation to offer safety, and yet, we are treating them as less than human, as burdensome garbage.
People don’t leave their homes unless they really have to. Unless they’re terrified or being abused or endangered or are deeply desperate due to poverty or violence or the like.
Today, able to hug and love the children that made us parents, we took the boys to a protest at the White House on behalf of the #KeepFamiliesTogether movement. It was all I could think to do in the face of the rage and impotence I felt and continue to feel.
The stories coming from the border are horrible. An infant ripped from its mother’s breast while feeding, taken away, the mother not told where. Who is feeding that baby now? With what? How?
We see photographs of sobbing toddlers, kids with sheets of foil as blankets, behind chain-link walls. Cages of sorts. We are told they get one hour outside a day, that the folks who staff the detention center are not allowed to hug or comfort them.
We read reports about strangers caring for the younger kids in their cells, teaching others how to change diapers.
We hear lies about family separation being law. It is NOT law.
We hear that NOT ONE Republican senator has signed on to co-sponsor Senator Feinstein’s Keep Familes Together Act, and so it languishes, as do the children, the babies in detention camps in our own country. One father killed himself last week just after being forcibly separated from his children; he couldn’t stand it.
A tent city has been proposed. In Tornillo, TX. A TENT CITY! In America! Is no one in the disgraceful White House with a heart? Does no one wonder what traumatizing people might reap? On our souls? On our safety?
And so we made another protest sign, filled a bottle with ice and water, and parked ourselves in front of the White House.
When will we reach bottom? When will any Republican running for re-election grow a pair and scream “ENOUGH!” At what cost does this hate and bigotry and destructive nationalism come? I fear we don’t even know yet.
Rise up, call your senators and congressional reps, donate to organizations helping at the border, be kind. Keeping families safe and together shouldn’t be political or partisan.
This morning, before I called my dad, I told my boys about a Father’s Day decades ago. Dad was attending an Episcopal church then, and I went with him that morning. A parishioner named John was there, bereft and lonely. Dad invited him home for lunch with us, no head’s up to Mom, and at our table there was room and plenty and love.
I hope that someday this country can actually be great. Can actually offer the promise of hope and dreams and opportunity and love. We're falling so short right now. I am ashamed and sorry and scared.