Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

“Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.


We should  never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

from Letters from a Birmingham Jail

“Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

From Attorney General Jeff Sessions while defending the US government’s policy of separating families at the border.   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/sessions-cites-bible-defense-breaking-families-blames-migrant-parents-n883296

In the brief session Thursday, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta asked Sanders about the practice of separating children from their parents as they arrive at the southern border of the United States: “The attorney general earlier today said that somehow there’s justification for this in the Bible. Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?” Sanders had no good reply, insisting she wasn’t aware of Jeff Sessions’s comments.

From Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2018/06/14/youre-a-parent-reporter-presses-sarah-huckabee-sanders-on-immigration/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f221ad8af4b0

Let me make sure I understand this correctly……

The U.S. Government has decided that they want to use children as a “supposed” deterrent to people who are seeking asylum or looking to enter the U.S. without the proper documentation. They want to use children as a pawn in a chess match?
Yes, that’s what Attorney General Jeff Sessions flat out said – if you come to the United States without proper paperwork, we will take your children from you.

So the US government has fallen so low as to take children hostage?

Have we learned nothing from past history? Apparently not.

Does our government know anything about trauma and its long term effects on this children? 

I shudder at the thought of being 10 to 17 years old and spending 21 hours a day locked in a remodeled Walmart with thousands of other kids my age. The psychological devastation – not only from that but from not knowing where my parents were and what was going to happen to me or to them?

It is truly criminal. 

The United Nations has it right – this policy brings us down to the realm of the human rights abusing countries.

We’ve gone to war to protect human rights before. Now we’re the ones violating them.

Why? You tell me – why does this administration want to stop the flow of immigrants from the south and why are they using such desperate tactics?
I’ll give you two hints:
• You don’t see this happening on our northern border. Does anyone know what percentage of the people who are currently in Canada are white or Caucasian? I don’t know the exact number, but it’s pretty high.
• Does anyone know the percentage of the people who are currently in Mexico who are white or Caucasian? Okay, now take the ones at the resorts out and you end up with a really small number.

What color are almost all if not all of the children who are in these “immigration centers?” That’s right, they aren’t white like me.
Our immigration system is horribly broken. 

But just because it’s broken does not give the current administration the right to enact draconian or Hitlerian (is that even a word) policies that cause lifelong damage to these children.

I thought we were better than that.
We should be better than that.

Don’t sit back quietly and say, “isn’t that a shame…..”

Do something – write your congressman, write your senators, call the local newspaper.
Imagine if it were your children locked in that Walmart building.

What would you want someone who reads about this to do?
TJV

The children, a mix of those who crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied and those who were separated from their parents under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new zero-tolerance policy, spend 22 hours per day during the week (21 hours on weekends) locked inside a converted former Walmart, packing five into rooms built for four.


Dr. Juan Sanchez, the president of the nonprofit that operates the facility, South West Key, warned that the temporary locations might not have to be licensed or staffed by trained child welfare professionals if they are established on federal land, which the Trump administration has been considering.

Casa Padre is the same facility Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was turned away from this month after arriving unannounced and seeking entry to inspect conditions. In the reception area, a note to staffers tells them to “Immediately notify PD,” or the police department, if media representatives approach.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/surge-children-separated-border-floods-facility-undocumented-immigrants-n883001

Never Underestimate the Power of an Excellent Teacher

It started when I was in high school. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do other than go to college. I was still figuring that all out (in some ways I still am).

And then I took this English class. The teacher was a guy by the name of Jerry Fondse. The class totally changed my life.

Now, I have to admit, I don’t remember exactly what we studied in that class. I don’t remember what books we read. But I do remember how Mr. Fondse instilled in me the love of reading (I already had it – but this is different) and the love of writing. He made it emjoyable to not only read for the sake of a good story but also to read for the sake of learning, of understanding people, of seeing the other viewpoint.

He opened up the door to other worlds.

And he gave me the first insight into what I wanted to do for a living. I wanted to be a Mr. Fondse.

Well, not him personally, but I wanted to go to college, get a degree in English and teach other high school kids the power of the written word, the power of understanding other people, of understanding other viewpoints, of books and reading. So, I graduated from high school and went to college with that as my goal.

I believe it was the second semester of my freshman year at Calvin when I met the second teacher who changed my world. Literally, after taking one English class with him, I rearranged my schedule and tried to take every possible English class I could take with him. And, as an English major, you do take a LOT of English classes.

He had the ability (or gift – take your pick) to make foreign literature seem comfortable.

He had the ability to help us understand stories that were written in Old English and see them as real, see them as powerful and to see the world they were written in.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were many other teachers who had a powerful impact, but Jerry Fondse and Professor James VandenBosch are the two teachers who had the biggest impact on my life and who instilled in me the desire to understand and enjoy other opinions, other worlds and other people’s stories. They also gave me the first solid glimpse into the power of writing and of sharing your story and your viewpoints through the written word.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an excellent teacher.

Thank you, Mr. Fondse and Professor VandenBosch for being excellent teachers who had a very important and lasting impact on my life.

Tom

P.S. Coming up next – why did this guy with an English degree spent 20 years dealing with numbers?

P.S.S. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the authors that Mr. Fondse really taught me to appreciate…..


Why I Write….

So, I started this blog a number of years ago. Sometimes, it’s been rather active, sometimes it’s been quiet. Lately, it’s been more quiet than active.

I’ll explain more of why that has been as we move along this journey.

Why did I start it? I started it because I like to write. I find comfort and enjoyment in taking thoughts and ideas and putting them down on paper (or on digital paper actually.) In addition to that, many of my life experiences have given me insights that I wanted to share with others.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m soon going to be taking this blog to a different level. I’ve decided, for a number of reasons, that I need to do more writing on here. There are too many things going on that I can’t be quiet about. So, I’m not going to be.

But……..

Before I do, I think it’s important that you know a little bit more about me. I think it’s important that you understand where I’m coming from, where I’m writing from,

What matters to me and why I want it to matter to you.

Some of it you might know, some of it you probably won’t know. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be dragging any skeletons out of the closet……

These are turbulent times we live in, I hope you’ll join me on this journey and see where it leads me and see where it leads you and see where it leads us.

Thanks for listening,

Tom


A moral crisis grips the US border. Yet the religious right is shamefully silent | Marilynne Robinson | Opinion | The Guardian

As a matter of recent policy, agents of the American government take children from their parents’ arms at our southern border. They are kept at separate facilities for indeterminate periods of time. The parents are jailed and the children are put in the care of non-governmental agencies, sometimes in other states. It is hard to imagine that the higher rate of incarceration and the new system of calculated injury to children would not soon overwhelm existing arrangements no matter how many shelters and beds are provided for a frightened, heartbroken population of the very young, whose miseries are intended as a disincentive to future potential border-crossers.

Source: A moral crisis grips the US border. Yet the religious right is shamefully silent | Marilynne Robinson | Opinion | The Guardian

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller