By Arkansas Times’ “The Observer” (David Koon), June 14, 2018
If you can, cast your mind back to when you were very young and recall what it felt like to be separated from your mother and father. Not just playing in the yard or another part of the house, but truly, even for a moment, lost. Recall the vice crush of panic in your chest.
If you were ever a parent, remember the feeling of being in a public place, turning around, and finding that your child is gone. They’re squirrelly little suckers, and compact. Turn your head for a second and they can vanish like smoke, even if you’re the greatest parent alive. Remember that feeling. Remember the terrible possibility. Remember the vice crush of panic in your chest at the thought of “maybe” until you laid eyes on that child again.
If you are an American, understand the things that are being done at the border right now, in your name. Thousands of children ripped from the arms of loving parents and spirited away into the night, in your name. Mothers reportedly being told that their children are being taken to be bathed, only to learn minutes or hours later that they aren’t coming back, in your name. Parents being charged with the misdemeanor — yes, misdemeanor, same as public intox and spitting on the sidewalk — of illegally crossing the border, but being sentenced on the spot to having their children snatched from them, in your name. Men and women with the American flag on their shoulders are literally kidnapping children like witches in candy houses, in your name. American police officers, duly sworn, are committing the textbook definition of terrorism against little boys and little girls who will bear the mental scars for the rest of their lives, and they are doing so in order to act as a deterrent by demonstrating the inhuman, reptilian cruelty of which Americans are now capable, even to children. In your name.
If you have ever been a mother or father, imagine your child living in a corrupt and lawless land run by criminal warlords, in the kind of grinding poverty that isn’t just situational but generational, with no hope to ever escape. Now imagine that you know that somewhere out there, there is a line, and on the other side of that line is a land of bounty and safety where any person who works hard in the hot sun can earn a sliver of that bounty for themselves and their children.
If that were your situation, what wouldn’t you do to get your child to that place? Would you lie? Would you risk your life? Would you break the law? Would you commit a misdemeanor?
If you support this madness while claiming to be a Christian, you are not. You are a servant of the creeping darkness, cruelty and despair that Jesus Christ fought and shed his blood for all his short life here on earth.
If you have ever uttered or thought or nodded along when someone said, “Well, if they didn’t want their kids taken, they shouldn’t have brought them here,” you’re not a good person. You have become, in your gluttony and narcissism, a monster, too far gone to even possess an understanding of the sheer, stupid luck of being born here.
If you still claim to be a Christian, consider Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord thy God.”
If you cling to the passages in Leviticus about hating gay people, but skim past those about loving immigrants, you should cast that cross around your neck into the dust, because it’s just jewelry now. Have yourself a tiny gold basin made instead, the basin where Pontius Pilate washed his cowardly hands of savagery. Have yourself a tiny gold truncheon made, a tiny gold jackboot, a tiny dollar bill. These are your gods now.
If you believe that history and our children’s children will not judge us all in the same light as those who remained silent while black Americans were bought and sold, while Native Americans were slaughtered and their families crushed, while Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced into camps, you are wrong.
If you are not pissed, get pissed.
If you are not loud, get loud.
If you are not informed, get informed.
If you are not ashamed of your country over this, you should be.
If you don’t believe it can change, it can, if those who want to make America truly great again act as one and say: “Not in my name.”
Photograph of Samar Hassan: https://levantium.com/2011/05/07/i-am-samar/