Friday July 13, 2018
The cries of separated children should linger in our memory until election time.
I recently attended a performance of the musical "Ragtime" at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in Lehigh County. It proved a splendid and provocative retelling of E.L. Doctorow's novel.
Set in the first decade of the 20th century, "Ragtime" presents three interwoven themes. The first describes affluent white culture at the end of America's Gilded Age. The second portrays American black culture striving for dignity and justice in the face of blatant racism and amid its invention of ragtime, a precursor to jazz. The third depicts the immigrant experience as newcomers to these shores arrive with hope tempered with anxiety, bringing their own unique gifts.
A toxic brew of racism and immigration is contributing to the havoc at our southern border. Children have been forcibly separated from their asylum-seeking parents in what could best be described as government-mandated child abuse. Numerous studies have shown the profound, lasting and psychological effects on children subjected to such forced separation. What is playing out now is cruel, inhumane and immoral. It is also illegal.
The collective memory of the American electorate is notoriously short. Let us hope that our memories of the cries of separated children will linger at least until the November elections. Perhaps then America can begin to redress this monstrous wrong and recover some of its lost honor.
Thomas B. Souders
Voters mustn't forget situation at border