For Election Day

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. It's important that you vote, if you haven't already. It's going to be a long day, so be ready. I'm thrilled that so many of you are paying attention to this midterm. While I have your attention, I want to tell you that this happens every two years, and I really hope you'll keep paying attention every two years, instead of just every four. We need you for all election cycles.

It'll be a long night of watching election returns. There will be cheers and tears, and a lot of pent-up energy will be released. Please be mindful of where you are, what you're doing, and how you'll be received. Set good examples for your children, and for the people who are new to the electoral process (either because they're just 18, or because they're now paying attention).


Be gracious in defeat, be humble in success. Use these feelings as motivation for the next election cycle, or the upcoming Legislative Session. We will all have things to fight for, or fight against.

I've spent many election cycles being happy at one level while devastated in another. Keep in mind that someone can be happy that their Presidential choice won while crying over the loss of a County Commissioner. We have the capacity to grieve for a loss in the US House while celebrating a win in the State House.

Part of what keeps me involved in the electoral process is knowing that at the end of the day on Tuesday, the clock resets. November 7 will be the beginning of the next election cycle. We'll learn what we can from this round, and move on to the next.

Above all else, be kind. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to run for office. I know the kinds of sacrifices you're making, and the amount of energy it takes to make it through election night. Thank you for your bravery and persistence.

I wrote this about Primaries, but it still applies: 
To the losing team: It’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to take some time to lick your wounds, and get some rest. Please, come back to the party and find a way to funnel your energy in another direction that helps move us all forward. We need you. This is a long game, and we’ll all be on the losing team at some point along the way. Be kind.

To the winners: Resist the urge to say “I told you so.” It doesn’t help, and it will come back to haunt you. This is a long game, and we’ll all be on the losing team at some point along the way. Be kind.

I invoke Wheaton's Law, and Kurt Vonnegut's quote: 
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”

Written by Susan Shelton, Texas FDW


Unequal Pay Hurts American Families

Equal pay for equal work sounds like common sense but for too many women across this country, the gender pay gap continues to be a problem. We are telling our girls that they are just as good as the boys, yet we still pay men better than women.

Paying women less than men hurts American families and reduces their ability to afford necessities such as food and shelter. Sadly, in this economy, it takes two incomes to make ends meet and families across this country still struggle at the end of the day. It is even worse for single parents trying to raise their family on a single income. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, mothers are the sole breadwinners in approximately 35.57% of households in the United States.

Even educated women are at risk for unequal pay in the workplace. If a man and woman who are equally qualified get the same job, the woman still only earns 92 cents for every dollar the man is paid. Often, it seems that you must be three times as qualified as a male co-worker for the same position. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reports that a woman must have an additional academic degree to achieve equal pay with men. Over a lifetime, unequal pay can add up to a over a million dollars and that money could be better spent securing a family’s financial future instead.

Compounding this problem is the fact that most low-wage high-growth jobs such as home health aides, personal care aides, and food preparation workers are held by women. Not all individuals are benefitting from the current economy and wages continue to be stagnant for women. Furthermore, the American Association of University Women has determined that for every $1 men make, women make 80 cents in the United States and we rank 42nd in the nation in gender pay equity. This inequity is harming our families and placing women at a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to provide for their families.

We should not have to tell our daughters that this country does not value women and that they should expect to earn less than their male colleagues. They deserve to be treated the same as the boys and paid the same for equal work. It’s time that America steps up and starts to put words into actions with equal pay.

Written by Mary Kuehler, Idaho Democratic Women

World of 45

Never in the history of America, can the Presidency be compared to a soap opera.  This current administration has all the makings of a Presidential sitcom.  But what else can you expect when the leader of the country was once called the “King of Reality TV.”

The Trump administration has brought more drama to Americans than the Kardashian’s or the “Real Housewives of (whatever city)” ever could.  Since taking office the Trump administration has given us the Mueller Investigation into Russian interference, the plight of Stormy Daniels, hiring of individuals with no experience, firing of individuals that disagrees with him, a secret group in the white house that are there solely to restore law and order to America, Omarosa (again, just when we thought she was gone), the West family values on prison reform (and other stuff that leave us scratching our head), and the list of entertaining items just keep going.

The King of Reality TV, would probably be more comfortable in the White House if there were TV cameras following him 24/7.  However, Homeland Security probably wouldn’t allow it, since to follow the President that much would expose secrets that could threaten national security.  Let’s think about it, suppose we knew from watching TV, what the President thought, did, ate, slept, who he doesn’t like, and just kept the drama going on and on.   We as the American public would get sick of the saga of 45.   It’s a good thing he does not have a reality TV show in the White House… Oh wait, I forgot….he has twitter.  Twitter has become the President’s personal show.

When the President sends out a tweet at 3am, it’s not because he can’t sleep, it’s because he feels that no one is talking about him and his ratings are going down. 

But, what is the true price that Americans have paid to be entertained?  Most of the regulations passed under President Obama have been repealed, EPA has become less regulated, we have a very conservative Supreme Court (remember that’s a life time appointment), trying to make it easier for companies to drill in national parks, and other forms of de-regulation that this administration has passed all while we were being entertained.

We can’t blame the President for all the things that are occurring to the United States of Corporate America (sorry about the typo I meant the United States of America….or did I?).  Most of us have learned in school, that the United States Government was divided into three separate branches, to serve as a check and balance.  That was a great theory, which worked in the days before we got a billionaire entertainer for President and a Congress that was elected by the people but only cares about corporate subsidies and kickbacks. 

This November, it’s time to reform and repeal the current Congress, state legislators, and anyone else running for an elected office, who’s views and values are not beneficial to America.  We have brave men and women that took a peek behind the veil, and are running to make a difference against the odds. 

We can’t let the entertainment of 45 distract us from what’s really happening to our country.  It’s time to energize, strategize, and vote.   However, we can’t just vote for anything (that’s how we got the Trump saga).  We must stand up and vote Blue.  I’m going to wear a plain blue shirt to the polls to show my solidarity, for a movement (not a wave because waves come and go, but movements are the things that promote change).  A movement that says we are not asleep, we are not entertained, and we are going to take a stand to take our country back.

Written by Mozella Bell, Louisana FDW

I Believe Christine Because I AM Christine

Written by Melinda Jacobs Colwell after Standing Up on the main street in her community (be aware that there is graphic language used)

“Kids, put your sweaters on. Stay in the car while I put the blanket out. Don’t get out of the car yet. It’s not safe.”  It’s never safe. Supplies are lugged to the corner. 6 posts and signs are hammered into the ground. I like the force of the hammer hitting the posts. I’m thankful it rained recently.

The nerves in my stomach jump in time with my skin as I set them up on their blanket. They’ve each got an umbrella, they say to keep the sun off their faces. I hope it also shields them from the words hurled at their mother as they sit 15 feet away. “Here’s a cartoon and a snack, babies. I will be right over there. I love you.”

I grab my sign in each hand, sliding it down to the bottom and with one big breath, I step to the edge and I lift it above my head. And the wound is opened. It’s there for all the world to see. It’s gaping and bleeding – can they see?

It is just me. Alone.

The tears fall. As I hold the truth above my head, the tears come and I won’t wipe them away. They are the world’s and I want them to see them. I am silently screaming and howling with the pain. The wind is blowing, trying to take my words and make them disappear. It doesn’t want to see them. It doesn’t want to know the truth. I won’t let it. I am stronger than the wind.

One honk. A wave. Another honk.

And then it comes. I knew it would. GET OUT! GO HOME! They find their mark. Deep in my wound.

A honk. Two honks. Another wave.

And so many eyes averted. Does my pain, does the world’s pain, scare you? Do you feel it in your stomach? Does a part of you know you are standing with me? That I stand here, naked, for you?  Another innocent who couldn’t find the words or was afraid of the consequence of them. Is that you? I see you peek glances out your window as you beg silently for the light to change so you don’t have to face my pain, your pain, anymore?

More honks. Thumbs up. Smiles. Encouragement.  

Why do these hurt as much as the bad? Why does it hurt as they see me? As they acknowledge my pain? I guess it’s like any wound. Even the things that will ultimately heal, will hurt first.

As he leans out the window, “There’s NO evidence!”

And I know this. There is no evidence from when I was 14 either. I remember very clearly how alone I was that day the 21 year old held me down and ground his erection against my stomach and asked what I was going to do about it. There is no evidence.

“YOU are the problem!” from the safety of his car. “I feel sorry for your kids! You are fucking them up. They have an insane Mommy. You are crazy! I am so sad that your kids have you.” His words hit my heart as he gestures to their innocence 15 feet away and I know, I know, I do this for them. I lay bare and bleeding so maybe one day they won’t. One day the world will value them for being.

He continues to yell to my silence, hanging out his window and I step closer to the street, hoping to draw his gaze back to me, away from them. I fear his voice will reach them. That the ugliness will pierce their innocence. I stand as a silent shield. I glance and hope their cartoon has not ended. They’re safe. They are in their own world. I’ll face this one so they can enjoy theirs.

Cars line up behind him at the light. I know they hear. His assault continues and as the light turns green, I follow his track with my sign, silent, until he can no longer safely hang out the window. My silent screams follow him. He will remember.

Behind him, a woman gives two honks of support. Another wave.

The good goes in. It scrubs me from the inside. It hurts. But it’s necessary to clean the wound. To get the bad out so that it may heal. The tears continue their path down my face, down my neck, wetting the collar of my shirt. And I know. I know these tears streak a path down my body and solidify. They become the steel in my spine.

“You are a horrible MOM!” They know where to strike. They know my love is great. My love is why I’m here. So they seek to destroy it. Why do they all laugh as they try to wound me? Why is it only men? This is not a question I need an answer for. I know.

Double honk. A wave. More thumbs up.

I don’t speak. I can’t smile. I stand silent with my truth, and the truth of too many, and send up thanks for those people who see me. Who see truth. The world isn’t all bad. I have to believe that there are others who feel seen by my truth. I have to believe.

A wave. A honk. Another honk.

Their eyes are straight forward, staring at the light. Avoiding me. I make them uncomfortable. Truth is uncomfortable. It’s easier for me to remain unseen, quiet. I am not comfortable either. But I can’t stay quiet and I can’t adjust for theirs. The world is not concerned for my comfort. My arms are tired. My muscles beg to be relieved. But my sign must stay above my head, marking me for the world to see, to mock, to judge. But it will be seen.

“He’s innocent!!!” “Fuck her!” A hand goes out the window, middle finger extended toward me.

In their voices, I hear friends and family. It pushes the dagger deeper.

He comes. He brings pizza and gathers the kids to take them home. Tears streak my face and I wish he would stay. Silently asking. Stand with me. Stand with us all. But he leaves with the kids. I know they’re safe. I’m not done yet. There is still daylight.

“I’m proud of you.” They say. But there is no pride in this. I did not want this. I do not want to stand here naked for the world to see. I did not want the truth ripped from the bowels of my consciousness and relived over the last two weeks. There is no pride here.

“Yeah Kavanaugh!! WOOHOO!” “VOTE KAVANAUGH! YEAHHH!!!”

I’m sorry, Anita. I’m sorry we are not better. I’m sorry we have not grown since you spoke your truth. I’m sorry you must relive yours on repeat, like an eternal Groundhog’s Day. I’m so sorry.

Averted eyes are louder than the screams. Women who turn their faces or snarl in my direction.

It starts to drizzle. I feel the drops light on my skin and look to the sky. Still daylight. I’m not done.

A window rolls down. “Go, woman! Thank you!” she says. And then smiles sadly “But you know what’s going to happen, right?”

I know. I know my truth will not change the direction the world is going. Will not bring justice to the victims of his past, or the innumerable victims of the future as he takes his place on the bench. But I can’t be quiet.

“How late will you be here?” she asks. “I’ll be right back.” An angel. I pray she will return.

“Yeah Kavanaugh!!”

These glance off my body. My arms solidify in their hold. Relief comes when I push them higher to the sky. My body strengthens and I stand tall as I see a line of cars coming down the street. I brace myself.

Honks. Cheers. Thumbs up.

And she’s back. My angel. She parks in front my car. She gets out. She’s brought her daughter. She smiles as she comes up to me. She sees me. She puts her hand out to shake mine and I ask if I can hug her. I need to feel connected. I need to feel grounded.  She asks “Are you a survivor? Me, too” “Do you need a break? Can I help you hold your sign?” And I want to cry. Connection. Compassion. Humanity. We stand together. The three of us.

Honks. Waves.

And then across the street, a car stops and lets a woman out. The car drives off to turn around. She starts to cross the street and I think, another angel. My heart starts to soar.

“YOU ARE VILE! You can’t be here with this bullshit!” She screams. “You are a disgrace! I was raped. This woman is a LIAR!” as she points to my sign. Her hatred is visible in her shaking. Her whole body hums with it. I am silent. She stomps to the edge of my signs, within 3 feet of me, as I stand behind them, my truth held above my head. She screams as cars line up at the light, watching. Watching it happen. It feels raw. I can’t even comprehend all the words she hurls.

“SHAME ON YOU!”

I see her pain.

“Fuck you! Fuck all of you!”

I hear her pain.

“I was raped. I came forward. He was arrested and jailed. This woman is a LIAR and you are the problem with this world!”

I am scared but also want to hold her hand. I stay silent.

She gets as close as she can, but she can’t cross our line of truth. It holds her back. We are shielded by truth and silence as her tirade continues.

“FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!” As she crosses the street. From across the street, she turns again, “YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! You are what is creating this entitled victim mentality! FUCK YOU!” And she crosses the street the opposite way, to her waiting chariot. I ground myself to the earth and breathe.

It isn’t just men after all.

I am thankful for the angels who stand beside me. We stand. Us three. Together. Her daughter talks of just turning 18. She just registered to vote. There is pride and excitement in her voice and in her eyes. And I am hopeful for what will come. For all those who will grow up in this time and pick up the reigns that I shamefully neglected for too many years. Her mother is proud. And I am, too, for this woman-child who will be the catalyst for change.

She shares she doesn’t feel safe here. In our town. She’s been here 5 years. “You know you’re fighting a losing battle here, don’t you?”

Is the battle already lost? I question it daily. But a text from my sister: “You stood and for all of the pain, you found another.” And she’s right. We cannot lose. We stand. Together.

Honks. Cheers.

 I feel the scab starting to form over the wound. It is not healed. It won’t be for a long time. But it’s started. The sun has dipped and we don’t have much light left. It’s time to pack up. I pull the stakes from the earth and imagine they are the daggers in my body, hurled by ignorance.

We exchange names, a photo, and they help me drag my things to the waiting car. We load it and say our goodbyes. The night is not done with us yet.

As we get in our cars, a man walks down our side of the street. He’s holding up his phone, taking video of us all. He gets in front of her car and captures her license plate. He goes to the driver’s  window, where her daughter is driving and takes shots of her face. He moves to my car, smiling, snarling, as he tapes my license plate, and to my window for my face.

 I ask for what purpose.  I step out of my car. Foolish, but still the same, I do. He’s at the back of my car now, still taping. Smiling at me. Smirking. Confident in his place in the world. I ask again what purpose?.“First Amendment Rights. Just like you and your foolishness. I will die to protect that right.”And he laughs.

And with that, the scab is scratched off and the wound bleeds anew.

I get in my car and drive away. Two and a half hours I’ve been gone. Or has it been 36 years?

I’m only two miles from home. I will be there in less than five minutes.

I need to hug my kids. I need to be seen.

I need to feel safe again.

But I think it will be a long time before I feel safe again.

Written by Melinda Jacobs Colwell, Connecticut

 

Trump Administration's Continuing Overhaul of Obama Era Policies

Friday Education Secretary Betsy DeVos along with the Department of Education announced that they will rescind Gainful Employment regulations.

This program began in 2014, as a way to help college students with the burden of rising student loans and lack of employment opportunities after college.  Under this program, public and private universities would need to show how the degree or degrees that students are pursuing would lead to “Gainful Employment (GE),” or they would risk losing their Title IV eligibility for three years.

 To show GE, colleges and universities would have to provide two metrics: 1) debt-to-earnings (D/E) metric, and 2) a program cohort default rate metric.  Under the first, metric students can not spend more than 8% of their income or 20% of discretionary income on student loans.  Under the second metric, institutions base this calculation on a few internal factors – these factors can vary among the different institutions – and if they want to use a two or four-year cohort period.

The steps that the Department of Education took in 2014 leveled the playing field among institutions of higher learning.  Colleges and Universities were now being held accountable on how well they saw to their students needs.  Students were no longer being stuck with a high student loan bill, without any hope of gainful employment after college. Because the success of the students was now being directly tied to the federal aid given to the University. 

Secretary DeVos is leading the charge to rescind this policy.  We must ask ourselves, if she is over the Department of Education then why is she promoting new policy that only helps the one percent? 

We must remember that Secretary DeVos is a billionaire.  Her kids never went to public schools, she never went to a public school, and before becoming Secretary, she was not involved in education.  Rescinding this policy would have no affect on her or her kids.  The Secretary’s kids would not receive federal funds to attend college, therefore they would not be apart of the GE cohort metric. 

What is the Secretary’s purpose?  The Secretary has the same purpose as her boss, President Trump.  The President’s Administration has had only one goal, and that is to undo any regulations that was performed by the previous administration, without any regards as to how it affects others.

The one thing that the President and Secretary DeVos has in common is that they’re both billionaires.  This author isn’t saying that there is something inherently wrong with being a billionaire, however when you’re a billionaire who has done nothing for individuals that are less fortunate than yourself, then we shouldn’t expect you to suddenly care for the same individuals when you are put into a position of power.

 This rescinding of another Obama-Era policy should stop. Students go to college and amass debt so they can be able to live and lead a better life.  To rescind this policy would no longer make these institutions accountable for their actions.  Institutions of Higher Learning would once again take no interest in the success of the student but continue to see him or her as a monetary figure, while they raise the costs of tuition another year.

Secretary DeVos has done so much for our kids, that she needs to do it from home in 2020.

If we don’t send a message to President Trump and his administration this fall, by electing an overwhelming majority of Democrats to the House and getting a majority in the Senate, then in 2020 when we get a Democratic President, we still would have accomplished nothing.

Written by Mozella Bell, Louisana FDW

America's Turn from Democracy

We often hear the quote from Aesop, “A person is known by the company he keeps.” Or, we might have quoted the old proverb, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  Some have often used these similar quotes to categorize various individuals, basing his or her choice of friends for that individual’s current or future actions.  For example: If a person has friends that are thieves, then it is likely assumed they might partake in thievery also.  These two quotes also have a direct reference to guilty by association.  We have witnessed the affect that this has on individuals, but what does that mean when it’s applied to a country?

President Trump recently met with Kim Jong Un, Putin, and has had various talks with the leader of China.  Some individuals would argue that true democracy welcomes diplomacy.  This is true, but diplomacy should not come at the price of democracy. 

Let’s look at the events leading up to President Trump’s historic meeting, with the leaders of the communist countries.  President Trump signed out of the Paris deal, rolled back environmental policies, tried to repeal the affordable care act, stopped immigrants from entering the country based on religion, forcibly removed children from families, attacked the press, ect. 

In addition to what the President has done in America, he has also managed to alienate our closest allies.  We didn’t call them allies because they helped with a few wars.  We call them allies because we believe in a free society, a democracy that is representative of the will of the people, a place where everyone is equal, and a better future to leave for the next generations.  Therefore, we called them allies, but above all we called them friends. 

America held the banner of what a true and prosperous democracy can look like, for all nations to follow.  America became that city upon a hill, that the world looked to for guidance.  This is also why other nations associated themselves with us.  They knew that being associated with America meant that you too believed in the same views and values.  After all a person, as well as a nation, is known by the company he keeps.

However, President Trump’s recent actions has called into question what America now stands for and represents.   When we disassociate and alienate the countries that best represent us and our standing, in lieu of countries that do not share in the same beliefs and values we hold dear to us, then what does that say about America to the rest of the world.

The President may not see or care about what is happening to America’s stance on democracy, but we should.  To the President, what he’s doing with the trade wars and severing ties with our allies, this is just another business deal.  We should remind the President that the deal of America isn’t about increasing the wealth of the few, but the well-being of the many.  The founding fathers established a system of checks and balances so one branch of government does not become more powerful than the other branch.    

This Fall we need to send a message to the President that America is a country established for the people and by the people.  This Fall we need to send a message to our allies that our democracy is not for sale.  This Fall when we cast our votes, we cast our votes for the people, for democracy, and for America.

Written by Mozella Bell, Louisana FDW

The President's Travel Ban and It's Effect on America

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the controversial travel ban issued by President Trump.  This ruling upholds restrictions limiting entry to America from individuals that reside in the following countries: Somalia, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela[1]  The purpose of the President’s ban was to protect America from threats to our National Security against the countries that are likely to do us harm.

This purpose sounds great in theory, because no country would want to experience a 9/11 attack.  The countries on the list seem to be the ones that are prone to violence. However, they are not the ones involved in the 9/11 attacks. Those attacks were mainly carried out by individuals from Saudi Arabia.[2]  If 9/11 was the President’s motivation for the travel ban and Saudi Arabia was not included in the list of countries, the question then becomes why these countries and what do they have in common?

The underlying commonality these countries have – except North Korea and Venezuela – is their religion.  These are predominately Muslim countries, and this is why this travel ban is controversial.  To ban a citizen from another country based on religion, is a sharp turn for a country that was founded on freedom from religious persecution.

In the President’s America we are a country that values immigrants of our choosing, and those immigrants must have the right pedigree and the right religion.  The President has not been bashful about immigrants that he doesn’t agree with.  A New York Times article has cited the President saying in a cabinet meeting, “…. Haitians ….all have AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who …would never go back to their huts,…”  The President also tweeted, “The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border; risking thousands of lives in the process.”[3]  The stance the President has made on the countries he personally has negative feelings about, was upheld by Chief Justice John Roberts when he wrote, “…presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration,” and “….restricting entry of aliens who could not be vetted with adequate information was in the national interests.”  The problem with this last statement is, who decides what the adequate information is?

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made unjust rulings that gave rise to unjust laws.  If we look at Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) – which established separate but equal – this ruling gave rise to Black Code, Jim Crow, and other numerous unjust laws.  Although Plessy vs. Ferguson was not overturned, it wasn’t until 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education that the Supreme Court saw their error in separation – because separation doesn’t make you equal it makes one group feel superior towards another group. 

This policy is a form of Plessy vs. Ferguson all over again.  The Superior Country denies entry to the Inferior Country based solely on religion or how the President personally feels about those individuals.  Although America has come a long way from the days of separation based on skin color, the damage to the fabric of America has been done, and we are still trying to sew the pieces back together.  This policy can undo everything that we as Americans have fought so hard, in the hopes of moving forward together.

We are not making America Great, we are making America Worse.  The only way to fight unjust laws is through just actions.  It’s time that we show this administration that we are not in the GOP’s America, nor are we in Trump’s America.  It’s time that we truly had an America that was for all the people, and by the people.  This is Democracy, and this is what the Democrats are fighting for.

Written by Mozella Bell, Louisiana FDW

[1] National Security and Defense, “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorist or Other Public – Safety Threats,” 24 Sept 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-enhancing-vetting-capabilities-processes-detecting-attempted-entry-united-states-terrorists-public-safety-threats/

[2] Pamela Engel, “Trump’s immigration ban doesn’t include the country most of the 9/11 hijackers came from,” Business Insider, 30 Jan 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-muslim-ban-saudi-arabia-911-2017-1

[3] Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and Thomas Kaplan, “Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa,” The New York Times, 11 Jan 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/politics/trump-shithole-countries.html

 

The Impact of President Trump's Immigration Policy, June 18, 2018

Most of us have seen the pictures, the news stories, and have read the articles about the President’s “zero-tolerance” stance at the border and how he’s doing this to secure America.  But what is not being said is that, using force does not strengthen America but weakens it.

The President’s campaign slogan was, “Make America Great Again.”  However, America’s greatness did not come from its military strength but its people.  This is a country founded on immigration, and its ability to be inclusive towards all people.  When we stray away from that principle, our country finds itself in turmoil. 

In the President’s speech Monday he stated, “Immigration is the … Democrats' fault,” and “The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”[1] However, when an administration issues a zero-tolerance policy that separates immigrant families into separate cages – without any compassion for human decency - until that administration decides to let them go, then we just became the very definition of a migrant camp and a refugee holding facility.  Republicans currently control both houses of Congress and the Presidency, yet the current administration wants everyone to believe that this is fault of Democrats, when they are the ones who issued the zero-tolerance policy.

Since its announcement there are over 2100 children being detained at facilities in Texas and that number is growing.[2]  When families are separated it has a physical and psychological impact not only on the families but also the communities.  “Forced family separation has been condemned as harmful, inhumane, and counter to accepted human rights…”[3] 

In America we see the impact it has on a child growing up in poverty with a single parent household.  Now think about if that same child had his/her parent taken away from him and he/she was forced to live in a cage, with other kids like him/her.  No warnings that this was going to happen, no way to prepare for the effect this experience would have on his/her life. 

When the family unit is abruptly dismantled the children no longer feel safe and secure.  They begin to develop a fight or flight mentality.  Whereas, the children who are in a family unit – regardless of economic background – develop a sense of morality and a form of stability.

The actions of this administration have made a rift in the families of the immigrants and it has made a rift in what it means to be an American.  America needs to be that light upon a hill again.  America needs to be the leader of hope, opportunity, and inspiration to the world once again.  We can no longer afford to move backwards, while the world continues to move forwards.  Finally, as Americans we can no longer be silent while this administration destroys what we stand for.     

by Mozella Bell, Louisana Federation of Democratic Women

[1] Tim Hains, “President Trump: ‘The United States Will Not Be A Migrant Camp,’ ‘Not On My Watch’,”  Real Clear Politics 18 June 2018 https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/18/president_trump_the_united_states_will_not_be_a_migrant_camp.html 

[2] Michael E. Miller, Emma Brown, Aaron Davis, “Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the US is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children,”  The Washington Post, 14 June 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/inside-casa-padre-the-converted-walmart-where-the-us-is-holding-nearly-1500-immigrant-children/2018/06/14/0cd65ce4-6eba-11e8-bd50-b80389a4e569_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.afe9f8862e3c

[3]   Kevin Loria, “Separating Kids from parents at the border mirrors a ‘textbook strategy’ of domestic abuse, experts say – and causes irreversible lifelong damage,” Business Insider, 16 June 2018, http://www.businessinsider.com/psychological-effects-of-separating-immigrant-kids-and-parents-2018-6