We live in dizzying times. After weeks of insisting that he could do nothing, because the law is the law, President Trump ended the policy of separating children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.
Did he have a change of heart? Is this executive order simply one of a number of ways to manipulate his way to what he wants? Does he have a plan or a vision?
I confess that I do not know, and I can see any number of scenarios which might be possible. Or I may be looking for a method where there is only madness. As I watched the news last night, I felt incredible weariness. I feel like I've been working on immigration issues, particularly those that revolve around Central America, for over 30 years now, and we haven't improved the lives of anyone. Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador may have slightly less repressive regimes and civil wars may be over for the moment, but civilians are still being terrorized on all sides.
I also see my brain stuck in its usual rut. No matter how many successes my brain sees, it always thinks about ways that improvement is still needed. So let me take a minute to express joy at the end of the evil policy of family separation.
I don't use the word "evil" often. I'll use any number of other words to express negative aspects, but I reserve the word "evil." This policy was evil, pure and simple--not misguided, not wrong, but evil.
I wasn't sure that this administration would be influenced by our collective outrage. I am glad to see that hearts can be softened, even if it's for reasons of optics, not morality.
I realize that a letter from someone like me, an ordinary citizen trying to cobble together a middle class existence, doesn't bear the same weight as others. I suspect that the Pope's outrage didn't soften administration hearts either. I'm not sure what did. The thought of damage to those running in 2016 elections? The counsel of first ladies, present and past?
I realize that those families will be held in those tent cities that went up. I'm not happy about that either, but I've always had problems with my country's repressive immigration policies. But at least children will not be ripped away from parents.
I am still fretful about what new outrages may be in store. But I'd be more frightened if we hadn't been able to solve this issue, if we were still separating families at Christmas of 2018, if no one had been able to intervene.
I am happy for these examples of what it takes to defeat evil, even if the fight is far from over. We wrote letters and e-mails and made phone calls; some of us went to the border to record what was happening; a wide variety of groups both religious and secular raised voices against evil; on and on I could go--and this time, we've won a victory.
This morning, let me pause to take a breath, to say, "Good job." Let us always be a force for peace and justice in the world. Let me pray: give us the strength for the next onslaught. Let us not be overwhelmed at the size of the task of caring for the poor, the outcast, the oppressed. Onward!
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