Somewhere . There’s a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there
The above haunting lyrics from “Somewhere” in the musical West Side Story are so pertinent today. The children and their families, seeking a better life and freedom from oppression at our southern border, are left wondering where that somewhere will be (that time and place) where they can go hand-in-hand together to a better life.
We are witnessing an anti-child agenda of the current administration as a result of a demonizing and dehumanizing immigration policy. The irony should not be lost on the reader that the same day that Attorney General Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy, our President and the First Lady were revealing the “Be Best” policy. This latter policy was intended to promote measures that would “focus on some of the major issues facing children today, with the goal of encouraging children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health.” The former policy of zero-tolerance is antithetical to the spirit of the BE BEST campaign. It makes a mockery of the BE BEST campaign. It ensures that children will suffer lasting trauma that will affect them in the short-term and in the long-term.
The science is clear—the adverse experiences that the children have endured, that they are currently facing and that they will be saddled with for years to come affects their brain growth, their brain wiring, their behavior and their health. The lack of safe and stable nurturing relationships are an unprecedented toxin to children. Safe and stable nurturing relationships allow for parents to take the hand of their children and take them to that time and place that will afford some safety and that chance for a better life—somehow, some day and that special somewhere.
We’ll find a new way of living,
We’ll find a way of forgiving
As these children and families seek to heal the wounds suffered in their native countries and the wounds compounded by the inhumane policies of our country, they will continue to seek a new way of living. The USA offers such an ideal setting and has for centuries. That is our legacy and our pride in the world community. And the children and families will need to find a way of forgiving, a difficult but necessary task.
The “Somewhere” that defines America is based upon six pillars that are critically intertwined. These pillars help us set the course for our children and families going forward.
- Truth—rational civil discourse is predicated on truth (an accumulation of facts), at all times.
- Trust—trust is based on truth telling while acknowledging one’s humanity.
- Science—all decisions that advance health and well-being should be based on sound science.
- Civility—there is no place for uncivil, belittling behavior that dehumanizes others.
- Diversity—our country has celebrated diversity throughout its history and that should continue.
- Faith—we are nation of many faiths and when these faiths are practiced with integrity, we are better for it.
The folks seeking refuge or asylum in our country should be treated with respect and processed in a humane fashion. The incarceration of children is morally reprehensible and demonstrates potential evil tendencies. We all want to get to that somewhere, somehow and some day. That is our joint humanity.