in an opinion piece for tomorrow’s Washington Post that went up in the hour.
On the website it is titled Laura Bush: Separating children from their parents at the border ‘breaks my heart’ and it is well worth the read.
Two paragraphs make up the heart of this piece:
Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.
Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war. We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.
She also offers a long paragraph on her mother-in-law, the late Barbara Pierce Bush, who while visiting a clinic picked up a fussy child who was infected with and dying from AIDS
and snuggled him against her shoulder to soothe him. My mother-in-law never viewed her embrace of that fragile child as courageous. She simply saw it as the right thing to do in a world that can be arbitrary, unkind and even cruel. She, who after the death of her 3-year-old daughter knew what it was to lose a child, believed that every child is deserving of human kindness, compassion and love.
She had already mentioned the horror that the care-givers at the HHS run facilities are forbidden to touch the children. As a teacher, even though in theory we are not supposed to touch our students, I know how important reassuring touch can be to an upset teenager — how much more important is it to a small child.
Let me close as Bush closes, with these words which end her piece:
In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.