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Letter: Do what's right; do something for the children

To the editor:

It's a cliché that we've become a politically polarized nation. We can't even agree on which news is "real" news anymore. Still, I've always hoped that, beneath this your-team-vs.-my-team mentality, we had some kind of moral compass, a set of values that we would uphold as Americans — or just as human beings.

But I'm afraid we've lost it.

We've started pretending that when "our" side does something morally wrong, if it fits a new law or policy, or if it might provide a means to an end, then it's OK. We've started excusing things that are inexcusable.

Right now, thanks to the current administration's new zero-tolerance policy, thousands of children are being separated from their parents at U.S. borders. They are being held in empty box stores and tent cities in the Texas heat, torn away from their families, confused and terrified. Toddlers and even infants are left to sob in cages while DHS employees are forbidden to touch or comfort them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is "nothing less than government-sanctioned child abuse."

How can we justify this? How can we hear about parents so desperate to escape violence and deprivation that they often walk for days over dangerous territory to reach our border, and then — even if they're requesting asylum, even when they present themselves at a legal border crossing, as our policies demand — the children they were trying to save are taken away, with no information about when or if they will be returned?

How can we see this and do nothing?

We claim to value life. To value family. To value justice. Do we only mean our own lives? Our own families? Because if that's all we mean, then these aren't values at all. They're just slogans we put on billboards.

It's possible to think that illegal immigration is wrong, and simultaneously to know that treating immigrants and children this way is wrong. So speak up now. Call your representatives. Use your vote. Remember that the truths we hold to be self-evident are bigger than any political party.

Do something.

Jacqueline West

Red Wing