Our newly empowered Border Patrol has over the last few months, it seems, (1) separated 1500 children from their prospective immigrant parents and the Department of Human Services has lost them. Is the idea here to make the potential pain of attempting to enter the United States simply too great to bear? Given the broken moral compass of the present administration, I am afraid to know the answer. If the pain of losing one’s children is not enough to keep our neighbors out of our yard, will the threat of death at the hands of the Border Patrol (2) be more effective? Is crossing a border now a capital crime?
It is vitally important that those in uniform know when their leaders are wrong, when their orders may simply amount to kidnapping, murder, or suppression of speech, and be prepared to make the personal sacrifice sometimes required of a good person. I came to such a point as a 19 year-old airman in the US Air Force. I sat on a flight line on a bitterly cold night, wrapped in my parka, waiting on news of an upcoming deployment, and realized that I would be off to Canada if our unit was to be moved to Viet Nam (it was not). This was not an act of cowardice, but a considered and difficult act of morality.
We needed acts of morality at Kent State and Jackson State, and we did not get them. We got the murder of innocents and suppression of speech and assembly instead. Today, we need acts of morality on the border to our troubled country. If I were a 19 year-old border guard today, I would simply resign before I found myself acting like those who served in the Grenztruppen der DDR at the Berlin Wall. Or have we already reached that point?
Memorial day should not simply be about remembering and honoring those who served, but also about remembering why they served, and remembering just what service is honorable, and what is not.