545 is the number of children who were separated from their parents at the border and have yet to be reunited with their parents. That’s going on three years for most of them. Some of them have been away from their parents longer than they were with their parents. As you might suspect, many of them will never be reunited with their parents.
The Washington Post brought us this bombshell yesterday. Immediately, we should point out a couple of things before we move forward. This was not an Obama era policy that the Trump administration continued. Factcheck.org is clear. There was no deliberate policy to do this in previous administrations. This one is on Trump and Sessions. Former attorney general Jeff Sessions repeatedly spoke publicly about the deliberate change in policy. He once said, “If people don’t want to be separated from their children they should not bring them with them.” It was a deliberate message. It was meant to be a deterrant.
The second part of this is much darker and more disturbing. The administration failed to keep detailed records of where parents and children were being kept. Now, from here we could go in two different directions. Either this was done on purpose and they never wanted to reunite the children with their parents or they were too incompetent to do it correctly. As Trump famously said, it is what it is.
545 is a staggering number. It’s an elementary school worth of children. It’s one of those news stories that shouldn’t be ignored. It can’t be ignored. It’s something we all knew deep down inside. We knew this was going to happen when they started separating families. We knew when we heard that they weren’t keeping accurate records that it would lead to this. We didn’t know the exact number or scope of the problem in our head, but we had a pretty good idea.
545 is a real breakdown in moral leadership. It isn’t theoretical. It isn’t a scenario one imagines in their tiny brain. It isn’t a hypothetical we throw out to scare people. It is a real failure of leadership. It is a real description of how horrible we have become. It is a dramatic and overwhelming surrender of moral leadership by the administration. They don’t get to claim it anymore. They are done.
545 may pale in comparison with the number of abortions that are done every year. Abortions reached their peak in 1990 (when George H.W. Bush was president) and have been on a steady decline since. There were a little over 1.3 million in 1993 when Bill Clinton first took office. There were just over 850,000 when he left office in 2001. That number dropped only 60,000 during the George W. Bush years, but dropped from nearly 790,000 in 2009 to 623,000 in 2016 under Obama.
545. 623,471. Why all the numbers? We measure morality and moral leadership not in what we say when the cameras are rolling but what we do when the cameras aren’t rolling. Obama and Clinton supported a woman’s right to choose and then supported policies that helped reduce abortion rates nationwide. Sure, you can claim they didn’t help. Fine. They also saw sharper decreases than during the Reagan, Bush, and Bush administrations.
545 children are without their parents today. 545 children may never see their parents again. 545 children have just become wards of the state. 545 children have suffered significant psychological damage that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 545 children may never recover. 545 children may now need heroes to step in and take care of them.
While the totals of these children pale in comparison with the numbers of abortions, those numbers don’t show us what anti-abortion activists think they show us. Ultimately, morality is built on what you do and not on what you say. You can talk up a big game about being pro-life. Ultimately, the only thing you can control is you. What you do matters. Your vote matters.
You can choose to vote for people that say they are pro-life, but never seem to do anything that actually stands for life or you can vote for people that actually stand up for what’s good and decent. They may not talk a big game. They may defend a woman’s right to choose. Not a single one of them would defend ripping a child out of his mother’s arms and throwing them both in separate jails for a misdemeanor.
Not a single one would do that and then keep shoddy records so that reunification wasn’t possible. Not a single one would do that and then put the blame on those parents for not caring enough about their kids to reunite with them. They are the wolves. Wolves separate sheep from the flock. Wolves destroy the lives of sheep. A wolf may try to convince you they are a sheep. They can dress like one. They can talk like one. Watch what they do. A wolf has to show you they are a wolf eventually.