Monday, June 18, 2018

The Children Are Listening

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Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen*

I know families who try to cross the border illegally from one country to another usually have compelling reasons for leaving their homes for the unknown. Often these reasons are a matter of life and death. Often there are no laws to protect them. 

I also know immigration is a complex issue. Countries have borders and those borders have laws to protect them.

Reports of our current response to breaches in our southern border are reprehensible. If reports are accurate, it is not the first time our actions have been vile. We have a long imperfect history mingling heroism and horror. Running a country is messy.

But I fear our most current heavy-handedness could prove to be a major downfall.

For when parents seek sanctuary with their children, and then that sanctuary uses isolationism and imperialism as a mandate to wage a crusade, to imprison the parents and abduct the children, the sanctuary finds itself transformed into the new enemy. 

Children have a way of growing up. Even in the worst of circumstances. And these frightened, disenfranchised, traumatized children will no longer be children. They will ripen quickly into mature and malignant fruit, poisoned by hatred, hardened into resolve, and potentially bent on revenge. 

Because they are listening. And they won’t forget. 

We have seen this before the world over. We have experienced the long-term effects of bad policies generations later. But in a decade or two, instead of being an ocean away, the new generation of US haters will come from right next door. 

After all our braggadocio and big stick wielding and pandering to mammon under the guise of gospel.... Who, oh who, will save us? Who will save our children? And will our own children even deem us worthy of saving? 

After all, they are listening, too. 

*Children Will Listen - Into The Woods - Stephen Sondheim 

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