When Will We Ever Learn?

Here in the United States, we have been reminded in the last couple of weeks that resistance to evil is a moral imperative and can be at least partially effective. We have also learned that about 27% of our country and 55% of Republicans are okay with separating children of all ages from their parents at our borders and putting the children in detention centers. One wonders what line of immorality would have to be crossed before the 27% of us who are okay with children in detention camps would disagree with the actions of our president. Whatever that line may be, if there is one, it apparently has not been crossed for the 27% who support separating families.

Perhaps even more grim for our country is the fact that even though 27% say they support the president’s policy of ripping children away from their families at our borders, the current president’s overall approval rating has not declined, and in the case of one poll, the Gallup Poll, the president’s approval rating was higher than it has been at any other point in time during his presidency at 45%, and this was at the height of the public attention on our president violating international law and international standards on human rights at our borders. So we know that only 27% of Americans approve of brown babies in cages, but a full 45% will still support a president who created such policies that led to the creation of “tender age” detention camps with “orchestras” of crying and wailing children. Good for them for disagreeing with the president about the tortuous treatment of children and families, but one still must wonder what line of immorality this president will have to cross before this 45% of all Americans will withdraw their approval of our current president. Whatever that line may be, if there is one, it apparently has not been crossed for the 45% who still support a president who separates families, refers to immigrants as “animals” and claims Democrats want immigrants to “infest our country.”

The president’s approval rating is not much less overall than it was when he was elected President of the United States of America. If you are a Democrat or a progressive or even moderate independent who does not believe the Republicans can win in 2018 and that our current president can win in 2020, it is time to wake up. 45% of the American people are willing to tell someone on the phone that they approve of a president who belongs in the International Criminal Court at the Hague rather than sitting in the Oval Office. Who knows how many more support him who are unwilling to admit this fact to a stranger on the phone?

All that is needed for Republicans to win in 2018 and for our current president to win in 2020 is for Democrats and progressive and moderate independents to allow themselves to be divided like they were in 2016, and I still see too many Clinton and Sanders supporters going after each other on social media and elsewhere to be confident this division will not happen again, though I hope with my whole being that it will not. If it does happen again, and this Republican Party and this president triumph in 2018 and 2020, we may look back on babies in cages as being mild in comparison to what the future may hold.

We have learned a lot about ourselves and what kind of country we are in the last few years and especially in the last few weeks, but if those of us who don’t think families should be separated, who don’t think immigrants and refugees are infesting our country, and who don’t support gross human rights violations allow ourselves to be divided in 2018 and 2020, we may end up asking ourselves, “When will we ever learn?”

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. He is the Executive Director of the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEaD) Hub North America of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and an Oklahoma Humanities State Scholar. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University or the United Methodist Church.
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