It was sad to see our State Representative channeling Chicken Little recently. In a “the sky-is-falling” letter to supporters, Rep. Hunt wielded the familiar array of “gin up the base” fear mongering (welfare bloat, business failures, increased crime, and declining neighborhoods) that plagues politics and policy making today. As constituents we deserve better.
What we should have heard was an appeal to our better angels; a reminder of the humanitarian society we are, and how we will rise to the occasion as community to help at least some of the traumatized, desperate children who have arrived on our borders. What we should have heard was a call to become informed about the issues and realities that are driving the problem. We should have heard a call to act on the values that make our community, state, and nation great while we search separately for solutions to the causes of this crisis.
Think for a moment. What kind of horribly desperate circumstances would you have to be in to justify you sending your underage children on a 1,500-mile perilous trip, by themselves, on foot? Joel Klein in Time magazine (July 17) provides a partial answer: “They have fled, terrified, from countries that are the Latino equivalent of Syria or Iraq—but in Central America it’s anarchy, not religious fanaticism, they are fleeing, the rampaging of militant drug gangs.”
The situation is complex; there are no easy answers. I have no magic solution. But there are two things I know for sure. One is that these traumatized children are not to blame; and the other is that the last thing we need is a leader who sees a fire and runs to grab the gasoline. We are a better community than that. And truth be told, our State Rep is a better person than that.
William J. Fleming