BILL KITCHEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Journalist Dan Rather no doubt spoke for millions of Americans when he recently tweeted: "This story gnaws at my soul. How could we let this happen in our name?" He was talking about the more than 400 children, some younger than 5, who were taken from their parents at the southern US border and still remain separated five months later, with no end in sight. Public outrage forced Donald Trump to back down for awhile, but if we allow this story to fade from the news, the chances of every child being reunited any time soon, if at all, will fade as well.
So what can we do? What gets Trump's attention? What will guarantee local and national (and even international) media coverage? What if we borrowed an idea from Colin Kaepernick (who surely would be glad to lend it in this case) and took a knee for the separated children and said we would continue to do so until all the children are back with their parents?
With children back in school and colleges back in session, student athletes are just beginning to engage in innumerable sporting events all across the country. Many will begin with the national anthem. If some of those athletes, coaches and fans decided to protest this continual child separation during the anthem, they could start a trend that might quickly spread. Whether kneeling or not, players and fans could tape or pin a post-it message over their heart, saying "Reunite Every Child." Maybe they could place their left hand over the other side of their chest to indicate misplaced hearts and lost values. The press could be notified in advance with a press release or a simple phone call.
We owe it to every single child to correct this wrong that our government has committed in our name. If we can keep their story in the news, we'll create the kind of political pressure that will force the government to act, especially with midterm elections fast approaching. Taking a knee is a simple thing. So is holding a sign or pinning a message over our hearts and placing our left hands on the other side of our chests. We mustn't let this story fade away or it will gnaw at each of us for a long, long time.
Bill Kitchen lives between the Mohawk Valley and the southern Adirondacks, where he monitors loons, tracks moose in the winter and works on climate issues.He wrote an essay in May 2015 about President Obama, New York Gov. Cuomo and Pete Seeger, as well as "Cuomo's Flint," "President Obama: Pull the DAPL Permit, Do the Climate Test" and "Will President Obama Address Climate Refugees at the Upcoming Leaders Summit on Refugees?" for Truthout. Bill's most recent BuzzFlash commentary was "Get Lost Eagles, Pipeline Comin' Through."