Where does love stop?



Where does love stop?

When looking through quotes about patriotism, I was drawn to this one from Pablo Casals:

“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”

Where have we stopped loving? Where have we stopped being generous? Where do we stop providing safety? 

In the past week, we have become horrified, dumbstruck and some even humiliated to be Americans. Terrifying images of present day America taunt us: Children covered with aluminum blankets, lying on the floor….in a cage.

A small 5-year-old boy sitting in an adult chair at an adult desk, a microphone looming before him, looking up at an immigration judge sitting high on his Bench.

“Do you know why you are here?” the Judge asked through an interpreter.

The child, alone and afraid in the courtroom, shook his head, “no.”

Little girls, prime targets for trafficking, holding the hands of a government employee as they are taken to “foster care” in New York City, thousands of miles away from their desperate parents. Is this safety? I shudder to think.

And a young teenage girl escaping from Guatemala where she was threatened by endless gang violence, raped during her escape, giving birth inside an immigration cell. PTSD will be with her for her lifetime and there will be no service dog.

Children damaged from incarceration and institutionalization require years of mental, physical, and psychiatric therapy. We are hearing urgent warnings from psychiatrists, pediatricians, and parents who have adopted institutionalized children. Will we ever be able to live with the damage we are causing innocent people seeking refuge and opportunity?

A mother from Guatemala called America “heartless people.” America is definitely a home to heartless people. We are seeing it around us: school shootings, policy changes that will destroy medical help for millions of people, systematic disempowerment of our schools, environmental obliteration, blatant racial discrimination, the list goes on and on.  

This injustice, however, has outraged and unified us as parents and decent human beings. Seeing the protest in the Hart Congressional Building with 600 women singing and chanting stirred something deep within me. Thousands of women and families marched in 700 cities around the United States responded to a stirring deep in them as well. One couple started a GoFundMe that quickly raised $20,000,000 for lawyers. More and more women are rising up.

When women come together, we experience our extraordinariness. There is power in our anger. We can’t stand by helplessly and watch children suffer. We become true Amazons, Mama Bears nobody wants to mess with. This feminine energy is a force of nature. A tidal wave of unstoppable belligerence. It causes women with babes in arms to confront politicians eating lunch, mothers still nursing to run for office, and women to put their bodies in front of moving buses filled with immigrants. We will stand for a country that nurtures children, cares for neighbors, and supports teachers. We will stand for integrity, human decency, and yes, generosity.

And, we will stand for mothers from Guatemala, fathers from El Salvador, and children who don’t speak English….precious beings full of potential and dreams of their parents. We will stand for them as well.  We will continue to rise, to stand, and to love.

No, love cannot stop at the border.   

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