Are you a Republican? A Democrat? An independent? A Libertarian? We may think of ourselves as any one of those, but the truth is we’re really none of them; we are, instead, just human beings who have the constant opportunity to create and re-create ourselves. The only genuinely important question is: Who are we really? Are we making the world a better or a worse place? Do we make life harder or easier for each other, regardless of beliefs, color or any other label?
Do we even need political parties? Are they a way to bring balance to the various issues confronting us or have they become, instead, ways to divide us, box us in, or define us with just one word? I can’t think of a better time to seriously ponder that question than right now as we see chaos developing all around us in pretty much every area of life.
Exactly what do we stand for? How can we tell right from wrong? Who’s lying to us? How can we even tell? How best do we use our intelligence and ability to reason, to be responsible and to care? Hiding behind dogma or “groupthink” will no longer suffice. God, the universe and our own consciences are holding our feet to the fire, demanding that we take responsibility for everything we do. By asking what the world would be like if our general behavior and beliefs were universally practiced, we can get a pretty good grasp on how large or small we are.
Taking a good, hard, long look at ourselves in the mirror as we reflect on our words and actions gives us a darned good picture of our presence as either a benevolent or malevolent force. Do we lift others up? Do we reach out with our hearts, or do we simply judge and dismiss the difficulties and sufferings of others? We seem to be becoming dead inside.
When we contemplate that our own beloved country has broken its covenant as a Christian nation by intentionally breaking the bond of parent to child and, in that barbaric act, also broken the hearts and psyches of thousands of children and their parents who will never be made whole again, we can no longer hide from the ugly truth of a government gone wildly astray, far removed from the mandates of our Constitution and our religion.
Did you see the online video of the little boy being reunited with his parents? Many assumed that the boy’s unresponsiveness proved they were not his parents. But, anyone who has been in the mental health field, particularly as it applies to children, recognized the boy’s normal and heartbreaking result of trauma. Rather than seeing it as a staged scene or proof that he was with strangers, those of us who have spent time in the juvenile field saw the horror of what has already been done, irreversibly, to these little ones. I cannot allow my mind to think about the ongoing, relentless suffering and damage our government is doing to these little beings and to their frantic, distressed parents, especially now that we have been told that no system was tracking the children and parents so they could be reunited.
We can no longer duck the question of, “What have we become?” It should be evident to everyone what we are and that our history of claiming the high road of Christianity while embodying the practices of cold-hearted cruelty and injustice is pure hypocrisy.
When did we become so detached, so self-righteous? Doesn’t all we are taught boil down to “love one another”? To those who say that terrorizing tiny human beings is justifiable because their parents broke the law, just remember that laws are always manmade and often run counter to human decency and spirituality. There are times that it is not just our choice to break a law, but our duty as Christians.
I shudder children having no one to protect and comfort them, no one to answer their calls or cries, no one to hold them when they need their family. How could we? How can we? Why are we not out marching in the streets until every last child has been given back to those who loved him or her into existence? If we have the technology to put a man on the moon and create nuclear weapons, we surely can have the same planes, trains, trucks, buses and automobiles that drove these families away from each other turn around and drive them back. Or, better yet, just select some NFL stadium and bring them all together in one space where they can seek each other out and end the torture none of them deserved. If we think we’re the greatest country in the world, let’s prove it -- now.
Marianne Stanley is an attorney, college professor and former journalist who is a former resident of Houma.