“Silence gives consent,” according to St. Sir Thomas More.
I cannot remain silent in the face of evil. I don’t know how anyone can.
This new policy (and it is a NEW policy) of separating families at illegal border crossings is pure evil. Trump, Kelly, Nielsen, and Sessions will be judged one day, but as for me, judgement day is today, and I will not be silent. I tossed and turned again last night. My outrage has given way to pure heartbreak and it is difficult to think of anything else.
One doesn’t have to be a witness to or a survivor of Hitler’s Nazi Regime (or any other oppressive regime) to be able to learn from history, or see similar patterns. My two take-aways from my college course “Hitler and Nazism” have stayed with me all these years, “If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes true. And the more absurd the lie, the better.” And, “Evil is allowed to be committed when good people sit idly by and do nothing.” Trump and his staff are liars and they are committing evil, unthinkable harm. Trump and Sessions’ “zero-tolerance” policy has little to do with party politics, it is a policy devised by power-hungry, self-serving men bent on creating a dictatorial state. In a Forbes article from 2013 Jim Powell describes how a democracy can easily, over time degrade into a dictatorship. He uses the example of Germany in the early 20th C and how “[The Nazis] became the largest political organization in Germany, and by January 30, 1933, with the help of a little blackmail, Hitler emerged as Germany’s chancellor – the head of government. He proceeded to consolidate unlimited power before anybody realized what was happening.” Sound familiar?
Consider that Powell wrote this article in 2013, long before the 2016 presidential election. Below is a list of his bullet points at the end of the article which should make any American shudder:
- Bad economic policies and foreign policies can cause crises that have dangerous political consequences.
- Politicians commonly demand arbitrary power to deal with a national emergency and restore order, even though underlying problems are commonly caused by bad government policies.
- In hard times, many people are often willing to go along with and support terrible things that would be unthinkable in good times.
- Those who dismiss the possibility of a dictatorial regime in America need to consider possible developments that could make our circumstances worse and politically more volatile than they are now – like runaway government spending, soaring taxes, more wars, inflation and economic collapse.
- Aspiring dictators sometimes give away their intentions by their evident desire to destroy opponents.
- There’s no reliable way to prevent bad or incompetent people from gaining power.
- A political system with a separation of powers and checks & balances – like the U.S. Constitution – does make it more difficult for one branch of government to dominate the others.
- Ultimately, liberty can be protected only if people care enough to fight for it, because everywhere governments push for more power, and they never give it up willingly.
The current policy and crisis at our southern border requires some honest perspective and real action if we are to protect our liberties and provide aid and comfort to those in need. Fr. James Martin, S.J., editor of America Magazine, has issued an article full of links on ways to help turn our outrage into positive action. Lots of other civic and faith-based groups are doing the same thing; making it easy for us to make our voices heard and come together to help the most vulnerable, refugee children at our doorstep.
How I wish I could go to the border, or go to Washington D.C., but that’s just not realistically possible. If you’re like me, instead find a local event that you can make time for. I just learned of one in Jensen Beach, Treasure Coast Mall entrance on US 1, 11:00am-1:00pm, Saturday, June 30th.
That’s the action part….. Now for some perspective to contemplate on prior to taking action:
At yesterday’s presentation at the Motherhouse in Adrian, Sr. Tarianne, OP read a beautiful poem called “Home” by the Somali-English poet Warsan Shire. Listen to it and image yourself in a situation where your home is “the mouth of a shark” or where “you only leave home when home won’t let you stay.”
Fr. Richard Rohr’s reflection this morning also needs to be considered:
“Searching for and rediscovering the True Self is the fundamentum, the essential task that will gradually open us to receiving and giving love to God, others, and ourselves, and thus to live truly just lives. Grace builds on nature; it does not avoid or destroy nature. You are created in the image of God from the very beginning (Genesis 1:26-27). This is the basis for God’s justice: Since everyone is made in the image of God, then we need to recognize, honor, and respect the image of God in everyone. No exceptions.”
My prayer is that we may all discover and honor the image of God in ourselves and others, especially the most vulnerable.