The fact that we consider children trying to escape death from drug gangs by coming to our borders a problem, is the latest proof of our free-fall into a state of moral collapse.
Yeats wrote in his poem, The Second Coming, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold"the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
On the surface one might ask what happened to America's big heart? The one that donates time, money, physical help to people in natural disasters in foreign countries. The country that is the home of tens of thousands of young men and women who have given their lives in defense of other homelands?
But on a deeper level, I ask how can we not see our own culpability in this instance? How can we not see that these children are trying to escape the scourge of gang related violence driven by the illegal drug trade that supplies the modern world's insatiable desire to consume said drugs? A scourge that is said to be the cause of 90 percent of the violence in the countries from which these children flee.
It is commonly agreed that the decades old war on drugs has been a failure to the tune of one trillion American dollars spent to date. The lost tax revenue alone is more than $50 billion per year if we were to legalize, tax and treat drugs as the social disease that they are.
But we like to think about these children as not our problem and we also want to ignore the fact that this drug scourge is a social disease. Until we own it and try to fix it, the societal causes we will continue to fund a multi-billion dollar crime industry. And these children will continue to show up at our borders.
Here's our problem: we like to think of situations like these children as independent events. These children showing up looking for safety are only a symptom of a much deeper system of societal failures. Unfortunately for them it's a system in which they are the innocent suffering victims.
Not a single one is responsible for the horrors that they suffer. None ask to be raped, sold into the sex slave trade, tortured to force their families to cooperate with the drug cartels, and or brutally murdered and dismembered.
For God's sake, if there is one looking down on this obscenity, we have a human responsibility to save them from the horrors of their circumstances. We are a rich country with over 300 million citizens. No one can convince me that they will tax us beyond our capacity to help.
Prominently displayed on our statue of Liberty is engraved
the sonnet titled "The New
Colossus" by American poet Emma Lazarus. I offer this
excerpt as a reminder of the soul of our country. "Keep,
ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she
With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
A country that claims to value religious principles is beyond redemption if it cannot offer its safety to innocent children. We can't have it both ways. We are either a nation that lives by its religious principles and takes care of the least of these or we are hypocrites publicly crying "lord, lord" as we turn and look the other away.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, "A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man's social conditions"any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry as dust religion."