The Trump administration is separating parents from children at the border, and Kathleen Parker doesn't know what's happening to America:
As a mother, my heart breaks at the thought of a frightened and confused child being taken away from his or her parents and stashed like an orphaned animal in what amounts to a holding pen.
To be blunt, I don’t recognize this country anymore.
... Most troubling is the inherent lack of empathy — as policy — and what that not only reveals but also possibly foreshadows. The only way to rationalize these events is to view these immigrants as less than human.
Parker says that an America where such cruelties take place is unrecognizable to her. But Donald Trump's America is one that Parker helped build.
Here's Parker writing about immigration in 2006:
... the concrete reality is that many of those seeking to stay in the U.S. are not seeking also to become Americans of the U.S. variety. Indeed, the clear message from some of those protesting ... is that Mexican immigrants are taking back what they consider to be theirs.
At least a segment of those protesting consider themselves to be neither immigrant nor illegal. Signs at one recent rally, for example, read "This is our country, not yours!" and "All Europeans are illegal." "Reconquista" is the word they choose to define their mission, meaning "reconquest."
... the sight of so many who feel entitled to a piece of the U.S., combined with a sense of encroaching bilingualism, contribute to a spirit of diminishing empathies among even the likeliest of sympathizers.
... The country's riches and benefits are not free for the picking - nor are they all necessarily indigenous to the physical territory - but are part of a national package that demands citizenship of its citizenry.
And here's what she wrote in 2008:
Who "gets" America? And who doesn't?
... It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.
Some run deeper than others.... In a country that is rapidly changing demographically — and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century — there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity.
We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants — and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.
... so-called "ordinary Americans" ... know ... that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America....
Some Americans do feel antipathy toward "people who aren't like them," but that antipathy isn't about racial or ethnic differences. It is not necessary to repair antipathy appropriately directed toward people who disregard the laws of the land and who dismiss the struggles that resulted in their creation.
Full-blooded Americans get this. Those who hope to lead the nation better get it soon.
That 2008 column was directed at Barack Obama. Parker has never been a birther, just as she's never really been an immigration hard-liner. But she's very willing to take seriously the views of blood-and-soil rightists who think America is becoming less American because too many people in this country don't have deep roots in (mostly rural) soil. Hell, she wasn't sure Elena Kagan was sufficiently American when Kagan was up for confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2010, and Kagan is from Manhattan.
What is Kagan's geography? What is her anchorage, her port of call?
Coincidentally, she shares the same home town as the other two women on the court. Assuming Kagan is confirmed, all three women will hail from New York....
More than half the country also happens to be Protestant, yet with Kagan, the court will feature three Jews, six Catholics and nary a Protestant. Fewer than one-fourth of Americans are Catholic, and 1.7 percent are Jewish.
One does not have to be from a rural Georgia backwater (Clarence Thomas), or the child of recently arrived immigrants (Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito), to qualify as a justice, though it might help in claiming identity with ordinary people....
This isn't the undiluted rhetoric of the haters, including the haters in the White House. It's a nicer, cleaned-up version of that rhetoric. If much of America tolerates family separation of immigrants, and a significant percent of America cheers it on, it's because this rhetoric is persuasive to many citizens, who believe their nation is under siege from "the other." Parker doesn't understand how America has become so callous. She should read through her own archives and ask herself how much she contributed to the heartlessness.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog