The level of verbal discourse in this country has reached a new low with the issue of illegal immigrants entering the country’s consciousness because some have been separated from their children. This issue is worthy of a discussion to have as a country. That being said, the level of debate has reached a demeaning and harmful low as some are invoking language and taking actions that are not only improper, but downright uncivil and un-American.
This column does not debate the issues, but rather confronts the behavior of certain individuals. We can all agree that families showing up at our border looking to enter America is a problem that needs to be dealt with by our leadership. This problem has existed for a long while being confronted by the last administration, but has accelerated in recent months. You may think that it is being handled poorly by the current administration, but stooping to some of the name calling and imagery is beneath us as a society.
When you invoke the term “Nazis,” you automatically lose unless the people involved adhere to and believe in Nazism -- and that is rare today. Your political opponents are not Nazis and our current government officials are not comparable to Nazis in the treatment of immigrants.
If you have not been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., I suggest you go. I was honored to serve four years on the Museum’s oversight council. Alternatively, you can stay in your home and watch Schindler’s List. After doing either of these, you would feel ashamed for comparing our leadership and government officials to the inhumane behavior that took place during the Holocaust.
Even if you believe the worst is happening at our border, the parents and the children are being well cared for. They are being clothed, fed three meals a day, and provided housing with indoor plumbing and exercise facilities. They have medical care and they are safe from drug dealers and gangs. My God, this is the United States of America. To accuse any American of acting in the same manner Nazis treated Jews and Gays and other hated groups is beyond the pale. Just stop it. People who invoke “Nazis” as it relates to the present day demean themselves and our country as a whole.
Here is another epithet that has been used recently – internment camps. What we have on our border are not internment camps. Internment camps are how we held Japanese-Americans during World War II.
I am not going to preach about how that policy was adopted by a Democrat. That would be wrong. We were in the middle of a war where we were viciously attacked by a foreign government. There was a judgment made and to Monday-morning quarterback the decisions is too simplistic.
Those internment camps are one of the dark stains in our history. We ripped Americans from their homes because of their family heritage and forcibly put them in camps, restricting their freedoms for years. It was a vile un-American act. This is a completely different situation with people who are not American citizens trying to enter our country illegally and then we are forced as a country to house them and care for them while our government complies with the laws that have been established by our Congress and reviewed by our courts.
To use the term “internment camps” minimizes the egregious action taken by our government close to 80 years ago against Japanese Americans. It demeans the people who were affected more than it describes the actions taken by our government today. Just stop it.
It seems to be an in-vogue ‘thing’ to march into restaurants and disrupt the meals of patrons who oppose your political viewpoint. We all have issues about which we are highly motivated, but that does not give us license to march into someone’s business and attack patrons while they are trying to have a moment of quiet peacefulness.
I understand DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is the target du jour. She was confronted by a hostile press. That is why we have a free press. To march into a restaurant and agitate in front of other patrons makes one look like an immature fool. That is not how we address our concerns in a civilized society. You may believe this issue justified that behavior, but it does not. Just stop it.
Lastly, going to a public official’s home because it can be found on the internet is just not right. Going into someone’s neighborhood, disrupting their family and neighbors because you disagree with a policy position they have taken reeks of dysfunction on the part of the protesters. Just think if that were done to you. Believe me whoever participates in this errant behavior harbors policy positions repugnant to others. That is not how we communicate in a civilized society. Whatever your policy concerns are, this behavior at people’s homes is not justified. Just stop it.
It may be that some people don’t understand we have had heated disputes in this country since we started. Remember Shay’s Rebellion? Or think about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They were vehement rivals. But they acted so civilly they died on the same day -- the Fourth of July. Nothing that is going on today warrants the current behavior despite the hysteria that has been whipped up in some people’s minds. Nothing.
Here is another thing. What would happen if something really legitimately challenged our democracy? Have you ever heard of the fable about crying wolf? When we need people to react, they might sit on their hands and not take it seriously.
Where will this behavior lead? The natural extrapolation when alternatives are exhausted is some form of violence. That is what history shows us. We need to grasp the magnitude of these actions and adjust before it degenerates into violence.
Take a deep breath. Remember we live in the U.S.A. and be thankful and be gracious to the people with whom you disagree and then they will be gracious to you. Then vote when you have a chance for people who support your positions. That is how we settle our disagreements in this republic.