From the Publisher: When Did America Turn Cruel?

Arnold G. York

As I write this column, there are at least 2,000 or more  children of all ages locked in rooms and, in some cases, locked in cages like some goods in a bonded warehouse waiting …

—to discover their fate

—to be given mattresses and blankets so they don’t have to sleep on tin foil

—to find out if they will ever be reunited with their mothers or fathers

—for someone to smile at them, pick them up and hold them

—to be asked questions about their age, country of origin and if they have any relatives in this country—that is, if they’re old enough or smart enough or verbal enough to answer any of those questions.

We are engaged in a great moral battle to decide who we, as Americans, really are and what we are willing to tolerate from our government acting in our name. Whether we believe our borders need to be secured or not, whether we think immigrants are bad people or not, whether we believe that the sins of the parents should be visited upon the children, we are squarely faced with a profound moral question and we cannot just look away. 

This has all happened before. For several hundred years, we had slavery in our country. It took a war to end it and practically another century to try and overcome its effects. We locked up Japanese-Americans—citizens and noncitizens alike—at the beginning of World War II because we had been attacked, we were frightened and it was a war. Earlier in the late ’30s, we turned away refugees trying to escape from Nazism because we didn’t want to get involved. In the ’50s, there was McCarthyism and the great Red Scare. Lives were destroyed in the panic. These were not the proudest moments in American history.

Most every religion in the world directs us to look after the widow, the orphan and the stranger. No religion, no moral code, directs us to be cruel to people because they don’t look like us, speak our language or happen to be born on one side of a border or another.

But that is what we are doing. We are being intentionally and systematically cruel and indifferent to the suffering we are imposing for some political objective, or in the name of law and order, or nationalism, or maybe simply racism. Whatever the reason, it’s wrong.

That we as Americans could do this and—make no mistake, we are all doing it because it’s being done in our name—that we could allow and sanction this kind of atrocity without rising up with righteous rage is unforgivable. America, which was once a beacon to the world, has lost its moral compass. Every one of us should raise our voices and protest to all our elected officials in the House and the Senate that we are appalled and they should all tell the president and those around him to give it up and start acting like human beings.