Who we are and who we wish to be

It has been heart-wrenching to see the faces of children torn from the arms of their parents. And a recurring phrase has been, “America, we are better than this.”

I would love to be better than this. But, right now, we aren’t. The recent reversal of Trump/Sessions “zero tolerance” policy of family separation, really doesn’t end any of the underlying issues or concerns.

We are now left with many questions. Where are the girls and children of “Tender Age”? What plans are in place to reunite these children with their parents or family member in the U.S.? How many of these children have family members in the U.S. who are afraid to step forward to claim these children because they are also currently undocumented? Does the recently signed executive order pave the way for “indefinite detention” of families in facilities which are essentially prisons? Who has access to these facilities in order to insure that children are actually being cared for properly?

When will House and Senate oversight committees provide intensive hearings – televised – into not just the current conditions, but what is the status and situation of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who were already in federal custody from the migration surges over the past decade? What private, for-profit industries are bringing in millions from these policies and conditions? Who are the CEOs making millions from government contracts to warehouse families and children fleeing violence from their homes?

We as Americans deserve answers to these questions and others. But the current situation also brings a deeper question to the fore. What does it really mean to be an American? Do we really believe that White Americans are the only “real” Americans? What role does Christian Nationalism play in the continuing catastrophe of how we actually treat “the least of these”?

None of these questions will go away any time soon? It no longer matters who any of us voted for in 2016 or if we didn’t vote at all? The leadership in Washington and our state houses and the actions of this government now represent who we are. If this isn’t who we wish to be, it is on us to make sure it changes.

Rev. Elaine Silverstrim

Retired Episcopal priest