It was not as long ago as America would like to admit that it was legal to enslave a whole race of people.
So, too, was it legal to deprive that same race of people the right to vote. The right to use public accommodations.
It was, in fact, perfectly legal to kill them.
So, too, was it legal to deprive an entire gender of Americans from being able to vote.
Legal disenfranchisement was not only the law of the land, but it was defended most vigorously by the most powerful of the land.
Today, African Americans live in a world that is much different than their predecessors prior to 1865.
However, while slavery ended, the decree that removed their physical chains did not end their oppression and repression.
Not until 1870 and the enactment of the 15th Amendment were African Americans guaranteed the right to vote.
It took until 1954 for legal segregation to be illegal.
It took until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for all state and local laws allowing for segregation to be superseded by federal law.
Not until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted did the federal government finally ensure that the rights guaranteed to African Americans in 1870 could finally be fully exercised.
It wasn’t until 1920 that American women were guaranteed the right to vote by the 19th Amendment.
What began as a nascent movement in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott finally culminated in Congress and the President passing and signing into law 72 years later a constitutional guaranteed to stop laws from prohibiting women to vote.
Fast forward to today, 2018, and an American in which nearly 2,000 children from other nations have been forcibly removed from the care and the custody of their parents at our nation’s southern border.
They have not only been taken away from their parents, but they are being warehoused in abandoned retail stores, and their parents have little to no information about what has happened to their children.
These are children just like our children. They laugh. They play. They cry. They become fearful and terrified.
They are also children who will become traumatized and remember what the most powerful nation in the world did to them and their family.
We are told this is begin done because the Trump Administration is simply enforcing the law.
Yes, it is true, their parents have violated American law and border security.
Yes, it is true, that the previous Administration arrested and detained entire families who illegally crossed our borders until the courts forbid them from doing so.
Yes, it is true that Democrats – and Republicans – and all of us as Americans – have failed to find common ground to resolve our broken immigration laws in this country.
No, it is not true that the most powerful person on the face of the Earth, President Donald J. Trump, has no ability to stop this violation of human rights from taking place in our country.
I have read, watched and listened to the comments by the President and those who serve him that they are only doing what is required if them under the law.
I have read this comment from from Stephen Miller, the Senior Policy Advisor for the President:
“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement…It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”
Putting aside this Administration’s willingness to enforce some laws, ignore others, dispute the validity of more and simply fail to recognize the legal standing of a lot of other things in America, listening to them defend the immoral separation of children from their families violates the very American Exceptionalism I believe in as an American.
The” We’re only enforcing the law” is what those who enslaved whole races of people, and deprived an entire gender of their rights, in America used to say.
The “We are a nation of laws” excuse given by the President’s spokesperson the other day was enough to make my head spin as this Administration dangles pardons over the head of any number of people who are currently charged with any number of violations of law.
How about this Father’s Day, Mr. President, do something that any Father should do: Stop terrorizing children by directing American authorities under your control to wrest them way from their own Fathers.
Do it today. On Father’s Day. Call whoever you need to call. Simply tell them you messed up.
If you want, if it makes it easier, tell them I messed up and that you are doing the right thing by stopping this violation of human rights from continuing to take place.
Stop this childish and horrific defense of your actions by claiming your hand was forced. That you want to use what you are doing as a negotiating tactic. That you are only enforcing the law.
Enforcing a law that is unjust, immoral and against our values as America is not Presidential.
It’s also not something any Father would, or should, ever do to children.
This Father’s Day call up somebody responsible for making it happen, Mr. President, and tell them to go get the children and put them back in the arms of their Fathers.
Be a Father, Mr. President.