Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Where are the babies?

"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery."

Octavia Butler wrote these words in Parable of the Talents, the second of her brilliant Earthseed series, about a dystopian nation in which a religious zealot is elected president, emboldening his followers to kill people of other religions, as well as anyone they simply don't like. The fictional president's campaign slogan? Make America Great Again. You can't make this up, unless of course you are as prescient as Octavia Butler.

I sat in my living room this morning, listening to the news, listening to the lies being spewed by Trump administration officials, who are holding brown children ransom as leverage to get the Democrats to fund Trump's unholy wall. The newscasters played a tape of children crying as they were torn from their parents' arms. They reported on a Texas detention officer arrested and charged with "super aggravated sexual assault" of the 4-year old daughter of an undocumented mother. They interviewed sobbing parents who had been forcibly separated from their children. And suddenly my own tears were flowing, and my heart felt as it might bolt out my chest, I just couldn't contain the nightmare.

I had been awake since 4 A.M., venting on Twitter, howling into the void, furiously attaching #TrumpConcentrationCamps to every tweet and retweet, trying to do my part to get the hashtag to trend. For a while this morning, it did. I can't explain to you how boggled I am that this state sponsored abduction of children is actually happening. Sometimes, I think I must be hallucinating, because how on earth? And where are the girls who have been kidnapped by the government? How do we know they are not being trafficked? Where are the babies? How do we know they are not being sold into adoption to the highest bidder? We don't know. Those in charge of this policy can't answer these basic questions when reporters pose them, so what faith can we have in the safety and protection of these unseen children?

Some flight attendants reported that a group of children in cheap black and gray Walmart sweatsuits were flown on the redeye from Arizona to Miami a couple days ago, 16 children ranging in age from 6 to 11, all of them terrified, some of them weeping, a little 6 year old girl holding onto a flight attendant who had been kind to her, as the children's adult escorts scowled. At one point this morning I tweeted this:

I was undone just now to read this response: 


  1. More and more, Martin Niemoller's words from post WWII keep running through my mind:

    "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."

    This is how it happened.

  2. "We have no choice but to speak."

    Thank you for the haunting reminder of how Octavia Butler spoke out in the Earthseed series about what had happened in the past, what was happening a few years before she died, and what she saw coming. It was your mention of Parable of the Sower that introduced me to her voice a year ago. It has been chilling to be witnesses to what she saw coming, a repeat of the past, become real and gain momentum. We have no choice but to speak out again and again no matter what happens. I have just finished reading a book called The Cross and The Lynching Tree, by James Cone, and have become acutely aware of how Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, became willing to speak out despite the fact that they knew they might die as a result. Between the death of living in fear of speaking out and the life of addressing the complexity of the problems facing everyone, they chose life. He was not alone. He, along with so many others, spoke for the beloved community that is finding its strength and its voice right here, right now, acknowledging our vulnerability and our power of choice.

  3. I am wondering what would happen if all of the border guards and the people tasked to do these awful things simply said, "No."
    I have no doubt we will never find out. People are sheep. We just are. And we are being led by a monster.

  4. I read something somewhere that they're showing the boys, hoping to portray them as future members of MS13. The girls and babies don't inspire enough fear. I want to know who is feeding the babies, changing their diapers and burping them? Who is doing baby care? Who is caring for the little kids? How can anyone be this evil?