Connections: The Shadow of the Wall

700 migrant children have been taken away from their parents at the border since October

Two small daffodils forced themselves out in the greensward between the sidewalk and a picket fence in front of an old East Hampton house on Main Street about a week ago, and I admire them as I pass by. 

The house never seems occupied, and the daffodils have come by chance, which makes me realize that I admire come-by-chance, ostensibly tough blooms more than cultivated ones, scattered or in bunches. I admit to being pleased that there are several kinds of narcissi now in bloom in my yard, and enough to cut and bring indoors. But I enjoy those that have popped up here and there without help (except perhaps from the weather) even more, including some on the lane in front of the house.

Children aren’t daffodils, but I nevertheless think my inclination where flowers are concerned somehow translates into a metaphor for how I feel about children who have been separated from their parents while being processed at Homeland Security stations along the southwest border. A wall, a fence, a flower bloom­ing where it has been told it shouldn’t . . .

According to The New York Times, officials recently confirmed that about 700 migrant children have been taken away from their parents at the border since October, and that more than 100 of those children were less than 4 years old. Four years old!

The Department of Homeland Security is quoted as saying that families are “not separated to deter illegal immigration” but to “protect the best interests of minor children.” As far as I am concerned, this is not just double talk from the Trump administration, but a dark, dangerous doublespeak that is meant to obscure the truth of a policy that is horrifying and inhumane. Perhaps we would best call it doublethink, to borrow a word from Orwell’s dystopian book “1984.”

Taken from their families, these children will have to be tough to survive. Daffodils don’t need much more than air, sunshine, and rain, but children must be fed, clothed, loved, and nurtured.

At one point, the Trump administration let it be known that it was actually considering taking children away from their parents as a means of deterring migrants from crossing our southern border. I ask: Could our leaders disgrace themselves — and our country, and us, the citizens — more by even considering such a cruel policy toward children?

The Trump administration’s lack of compassion for the well-being and dignity of human beings is a reflection of Mr. Trump’s own narcissism, and this degrading state of affairs should by now be painfully evident to all Americans, even those who have always in good faith supported the Grand Old Party. 

If ever there was a moment for the scales to fall from the eyes of people of integrity who made the mistake of voting for Mr. Trump, is this not it?