Since Jeff Sessions chose to invoke biblical scripture as a way of defending ripping children from the arms of their parents (a passage that was once used to justify slavery) here are the words of Jesus, from Matthew 24:40-45:
“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
To be clear, Jesus was not saying that any one person was less than someone else. He meant the most vulnerable among us. Surely, children fall into that category. Even those who never read the Bible know that Jesus ministered to the poor, the disenfranchised, the outcasts. And for those in the current administration who keep spouting off about “laws” and “government policy” let’s also remember that Jesus, regardless of your religious beliefs, was an innocent man who was tortured and killed because he defied the governing body of that time.
I don’t think it’s an accident that this nightmare we are going through, with children being torn from their mothers’ arms and put in wire enclosures where no one is allowed to hold and comfort them, is happening in such close proximity to Donald Trump’s lovefest with Kim Jong Un. This president has made his affection for dictators chillingly clear. He has praised Kim, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and of course Vladimir Putin, while then showing up at the G-7 summit in a snit and proceeding to act like a petulant child, insulting our closest allies (or at least the countries that used to be our allies.)
One of Kim’s tactics in North Korea is to control reproductive rights. Forced abortions are carried out with utter brutality; women have their bellies stomped on or are fed motor oil. One of Hitler’s tactics was to separate families. Dictators know that to control people you need to weaken them. They aim for the softest spots, the places that will cut the deepest, that will hobble them, drive them to their knees, render them helpless. Aiming for the children does just that. The Honduran woman whose baby was literally taken from her breast as she was breast-feeding could barely speak she was so distraught. Multiply that by thousands, and you have a country that is so wounded it can’t fight back.
When Donald Trump said that in North Korea, the people “sit up at attention” when Kim speaks and added, “I want my people to do that,” he wasn’t joking, no matter how often he tries to say he was. The tell is in the phrase “my people.” Only a dictator, or a dictator wanna-be, would use that phrase. Donald Trump isn’t all that intelligent, and we know he has little or no knowledge of or interest in history. But what he does have is an instinct for ruthlessness. What he does have is a talent for aiming for people’s soft spots. He’s done it to individuals, and now he’s trying to do it to an entire country.
The outrage we’re feeling must not end. No matter how many tears we cry, no matter how we shudder at the wounds these parents are suffering when their children are taken from them, no matter how we feel like we’re breaking when we see the photographs of children in cages, we can’t break. If we do, we’ve lost this country and the humanity that America is supposed to represent. We can cry, we can fall to our knees, but we need to get up again and remember that one man does not define this country, and we are not “his people.” We are Americans, and we don’t rip children from their parents and put them in cages.