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What We Learned This Week As Important As What Angers Us

June 20, 2018

I read lots of history.  Have done so for decades.   I would argue that never in our national story–not even with President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and the years which followed–have we experienced such a soulless and senseless event in America as that which we have witnessed over the past week.

Donald Trump created a massive problem by wanting to use children as leverage for his political games.  The optics were dreadful, and since the only thing which matters to Trump is the way it looks on television–recall he wanted a Secretary of State who ‘looked the part’ for the evening news–meant that the outrage which was making for 24/7 coverage forced his hand.

Let’s be clear, however. Trump did not need to sign anything to stop these disastrous separations. All he needed to do was call Attorney General Sessions and Homeland Security and say STOP!  Trump saying he signed an Executive Order means he is still using these children as hostages, as weapons in his personal tantrum to get what he wants.

Consider that Trump wanting credit for ending his own diabolical policy is akin to the menace in a Batman film expecting the key to the city for finally stopping the destroyed dam from completely ruining everything.

Trump stated, “we want to be compassionate”.  But the question needs to be pounded home again and again, then why did he abuse those children?  No matter what he does from this moment forward he will forever be remembered as the person in the Oval Office who traumatized children and only pulled back when the publicity—his prized ratings–turned sour.

But let us also be clear on something most important about our role as citizens. This was a time not to be silent.  This was a moment when our collective voices had to rise.  And we did with a mighty blast of righteous anger.

What we have learned from the past days is most important.  Our calls to congress, the images from the press (which were photos from DHS), the outrage from the Pope down to the grocer who bagged my items this weekend and was simply too sad to give words to his feelings, all added to the weighted judgment about these children. What we have seen, by the connection to our humanity, is that American democracy can survive–but only if we fight Trump.

Without our continued mobilization we will not survive a complicit Congress, or a Republican Party which can not find its way even when the most dreadful events unfold.  The voice of the nation–as demonstrated over the past days–is a most crucial and meaningful check on a dangerous and reckless man.

Now we must be steadfast and demand that the government reunite the children and parents who have already been separated. We need to be mindful of  those children it’s lost track of, and demand action.  The press will continue to report because the atrocity committed will not be over even if the separation policy ends.

We can not, and must not, keep those seeking amnesty detained indefinitely. We must still always think about the Statue of Liberty and the light she holds for immigrants coming to America for a better life. That is our national story.

I deeply thank those who did not forget it these past days.

I make no apologies for being old-fashioned, humane, and steeped in our national story.  May it forever be the way of this land.

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