Who are we? A human rights violator?
I worked several years in Southeast Asia in the 1970s and 1980s in refugee protection and resettlement. I visited or worked in refugee camps inhabited by hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.
I dealt with local officials from the national cabinet level down, representing and speaking for the U.S. government. Advocating for the humane treatment of refugees was consistently on my agenda. Specifics ranged from not endangering lives by pushing off “boat people” attempting to land in Malaysia to urging better access to medical treatment and clean drinking water in often overcrowded Thai camps.
Minors traveling without their parents were among the categories in which we had a special interest. Despite occasional problems of identity fraud, we found by far the best solution for children’s camp stay was to allow more distant relatives to care for them. Even at the most difficult times, we did not separate children from parents or other adult relatives.
That which I and many others stood for is very obviously not being followed on our Southwest border. Why have we changed? Have we as a nation abandoned values that largely guided us throughout my lifetime? How is it possible that a nation once looked up to as basically good is increasingly seen as a cruel human rights violator.
Who are we?
I have lived in Lee County for over 45 years, when it had endless shade trees and a healthy environment. In the past three years alone, I have seen beautiful (native) trees bulldozed down, thousands and thousands, almost on a daily basis. They are not replaced.However, I have yet to talk with anyone who thinks this is fine progress. People are very concerned about this assault on our environment. Monthly, I am reading about citizens who attend meetings of the commissioners to beg them to listen to their concerns regarding this kind of plunder.