July 17, 2018

Zero tolerance

I try not to judge people based solely on their political philosophy. We’re all allowed differing perspectives on what might be the best way to move forward with all sorts of different topics. Difference in opinion has never been a reason for me to write someone off, especially as there’s usually at least one case that each side can point to in order to prove their point. Conservative economics have failed in Kansas. Liberal economics have failed in Michigan. It’s almost like we, as a nation with a plethora of culture and economies within it, can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution that would be all encompassing. I’ve believed that our differences should be embraced instead of shunned, not only for fear of an increased divide, but a fear that I could back myself into an echo chamber or my own construction by doing so.

The events of the last week though have brought me to a tipping point. I can abide by a difference in political leanings, I cannot abide by such a monumental difference in basic morality. For days I’ve been seeing people defend the actions on the border. Defending the torture of children. Brushing the blame off the only place it belongs – the Trump Administration. Pretending it’s anyone and everyone else’s fault, despite this being a new policy. I’m no longer able to reconcile such moral failings in others at a time when we are so dangerously close to the total loss of our soul as a nation. I cannot abide by people making excuses for the torture of children.

I’ve witnessed it stated that it had to be this way. That there is no other means to address illegal immigration but a zero tolerance policy that separates children from parents. Even as we’re sticking with a zero tolerance policy, POTUS has signed an Executive Order to keep the families together while awaiting deportation. Never mind that no other administration has been forced into ripping babies from the arms of their mothers, and then forced to order themselves out of it. Never mind that those in custody are seeking asylum from areas that we are largely at fault of ravaging in the first place. No, they say, this is the only way. But it isn’t. We could’ve used just an ounce of compassion for the least of us fleeing hardships most of us will never imagine and so I cannot abide by people making excuses for the torture of children.

I’ve seen it said, over and over, that congress needs to fix this issue. To a point, I can agree, but to put the blame on congress on an equal footing with this administration is to relegate the horror of the purposeful caging kids as a political pawn to an equivalent with not agreeing on a best means forward in regards to an incredibly complex issue. The White House made an active decision to separate and detain these children at unprecedented levels and The White House could have made an active decision to stop at any point. To pretend that Congress could push through a solution and thus stop this atrocity as quickly or as easily as Trump could just choose to end it is the wishful thought of someone needing to lie to themselves, and it lessens the objective moral failings of Trump and his administration. And I cannot abide by people making excuses for the torture of children.

It happened under Obama they say. This is false, of course, but even if it wasn’t, so what? SO WHAT? Because we didn’t know about it and it happened under a different administration we should be content to let it continue? Did you really think the “left” would suddenly be ok with this if you just say, “Obama did it”? Are you that out of touch with what’s right and wrong? Even if that lie is true, and this happened under the Obama Administration, I still cannot abide by people making excuses for the torture of children.

It’s the law I’m told. The law. As if the executive branch has no sway on how they choose to enforce laws. As if laws are the end-all be-all of morality. This particular argument is the worst to me. I’m not sure I’ve met a single person that hasn’t broken the law at some point. Further, we, as a nation, have a multitude of laws that we do not regularly enforce at all, let alone enforce in such a brutal fashion. “It’s the law,” is an argument from someone who is morally decrepit. It was the law that women could not vote. It was the law that black people couldn’t go to school with white people. It was the law that white men could own black people. It was the law in Nazi Germany that the Jews be rounded up into camps and exterminated. I mention this last one for a purpose, and it’s not hyperbole. People who can justify heinous acts by saying they were ordered to do it, or that it was the law, can and have used them as an excuse to commit crimes up to and including genocide, and if our moral fiber is so broken that we are torturing migrant children we are not far off from just that. I definitely cannot abide by people making this excuse for the torture of children.

I’ve been angry at my country before. I’ve disagreed with leaders from both parties and wished both sides of the aisle would be better, but up until this last week I’ve never been ashamed of my nation. Call me naïve but I didn’t believe that we could ever stoop this low in modern times. This administration is evil because only evil could do this to the most vulnerable of people. Only evil could lock up a screaming child and call them an “infestation.” I’m not sure why people want to try and make excuses for it. Maybe it’s because they want to lessen the guilt they feel for having voted for a man that could order such actions. Maybe it’s something else, but I no longer care. We’ve reached an impasse, a point where I can’t just shrug my shoulders and celebrate our differences, even though I may sometimes find it frustrating, because I will not abide by people making excuses for the torture of children.

Craig Spencer
Craig Spencer 4 Articles
Craig grew up in central Iowa and is a father of two just trying to achieve the cliché of leaving the world better for his kids. An active duty Army Veteran as an Ammunition Specialist. Hawkeyes and Raiders fan. Someone who loves debating people on the topics our parents told us never to discuss in public, politics and religion. Lover of all things hard rock but especially anything by Maynard James Kennan.

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