Reader decries family separation

One of the first quotes I memorized as an elementary school student were those famous words by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

“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 tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

These words made me incredibly proud of my country and of everything America represented.

Here was my America, standing with open arms ready to welcome the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and all those who wanted a better future for their children in this “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” These people were coming to the “golden door” just as my ancestors had come several generations earlier seeking peace, freedom and a more secure future. And with these immigrants came diversity, which made our country even stronger.

Fast forward to 2018 and the American tragedy playing out right before our eyes on the southern borders. A mother and her children are trying to enter the U.S. legally, to escape domestic violence, gangs, rape or even murder. You get the idea. Upon following the laws of legal immigration, this mother’s children are taken from her (on the premise that they’re going to be bathed) and sent to a detention center perhaps hundreds of miles away. She has no way to even contact her children, some of who may be as young as two years of age.

Yes, folks this is happening in America every day and unless we speak up about it we’re no better than those who stood by silently while millions of people were sent to the gas chambers in Nazi Germany. I realize that sounds overly dramatic, but imagine being that mother and having your children taken and not knowing when you might ever see them again.

Make no mistake about it, this is not standard operating procedure, although some in this administration would like you to think that. This horrible policy is the brainchild of Trump, Kelly and Sessions. John Kelly even said the children would be taken “wherever.” Can you even imagine this happening in our country?

I personally will not go about my everyday life being silent. I would encourage all of you who feel likewise to call, email or write to your representatives until we force them to take a stand against this horrific policy. You can sit back and do nothing, but ask yourself, “Is this the kind of country I want to call my home?” How will history judge those who chose to remain silent instead of standing up against this cruelty?

I strongly believe in the goodness and kindness of the American people, but democracy dies in silence and inaction.

Speak up, speak out, then remember in November!

Cindy Stemple