This essay is not about political rights and wrongs or choosing up sides between Donkeys vs. Elephants. We all should have awakened this morning and become outraged once we saw the photograph of a father and daughter dead, face down in a pool of water. The father, Óscar Alberto Martínez, 25 and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria are a vivid example of what happens when rancorous political behavior overcomes common sense. The details and heartbreaking circumstances are more than one can bear but the response is maliciously disappointing.
I watched Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin berate his fellow members of the Senate for their failures to act. Johnson the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Committee, seemingly fought back tears as he described the horror of a less than two-year-old dead trying to reach the shores of a country that promised the world it would take in those “yearning to breathe free.” Quickly the media turned to Donald Trump chastising the Fed Chair Jerome Powell, disputes over the interpretation of what ‘names’ the Iranian leader called the American President, and will the Democrats attack each other during the next two days of debates.
I am fully aware of the trope, “walking and chewing gum at the same time” but have the deaths of a brown immigrant man trying to save his drowning daughter left us so jaded that it only requires a 3-minute A-block on cable news… “let’s leave it there.” I remember the graphic pictures of Kim Phuc, known as the Napalm Girl and how they galvanized decent Americans opposition to the mistreatment of innocent victims of the Vietnam War. The salute by John Kennedy Jr. as his assassinated father’s casket passed, reminding us that the children will save us. The photos of Coretta Scott King, with her children in tow, dramatically and defiantly showing courage in the face of her husband’s murder
After all those incidents, including the fight over Elian Gonzalez, children have reminded us of our humanity. That humanity has been lost, or worse yet negotiated, over petty fights about who loves America less. Children reportedly are being denied the basic hygiene that prisoners of war are afforded. Small children, as young as 7, are being tasked with doing the jobs of adults; to secure the daily safety of toddlers and babies.
Where are we America?
Over and over I have issued a clarion call for real Americans to take to the streets in peaceful protest, not just on sunny days or when we are shamed into action. I may sound like an old timer longing for a past that is thankfully gone, but I also am part of a generation that when we saw kids gunned down at Kent State University we rose in unison and did not stop until things changed. I am part of a generation that marched and yelled and screamed and, in some cases, burned down buildings after the murder of Dr. King; that was wrong and a loser’s reaction. Violence is never an answer but loud, sustained, and unrelenting protest to the status quo is a winner.
Vote in protest in 2020 for Change.