Zirpoli: How low can America go?

How low can America go under President Donald Trump? Separating children from their parents and locking them in cages. Separating infants who are still at breast-feeding age from their mothers. Separating children with disabilities from the only people who understand their needs. Pretty low, I guess.

If you can’t identify with the families having their children taken away, then you are heartless. If you can’t identify with the mothers being sent back to their native homes in South America without getting their children back — yes, this happened — then you have lost your soul.


America has become an international outcast. We have cast aside our allies while we invite our enemies, even while they continue to attack us, to be our friends. We praise dictators and criticize democratically elected leaders. We have become like the nations we once called “underdeveloped” for their inhumane policies.

Our president considers himself above the law, attacks our system of justice and our nation’s rule of law. He claims no collusion with the Russians attacking our elections system while we learn of yet another secret Russian meeting, previously undisclosed, with yet another Trump adviser. If Trump didn’t collude with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election in his favor, it was not for the lack of trying.

As a nation, we are losing our heart and soul. We are no longer Ronald Reagan’s city of lights on a hill. Rather we have become an international embarrassment.

Once a beacon for freedom, we now lock up children escaping war and violence. Once a beacon of hope for the oppressed, we have become the oppressor. Once home of the brave, we have become a nation of fear, using infants and young children as pawns, turning away refugees seeking freedom from war, and developing economic enemies instead of economic partners.

We demand others to stand for the flag and Trump loves to literally hug the flag. Yet, he has no understanding of the history of this nation and what made America great. Today, in the eyes of the rest of the world, that flag represents the oppression of children, separated from their mothers. This is how the rest of the world sees us. Shame on America and shame on us.

Jeanine Cummins, a former foster mother writing for The New York Times, experienced first-hand the panic and long-term trauma in children separated from their parents, even for the best of reasons. She could understand taking children away from parents who did not care for them, but that “now it’s happening to people who are behaving exactly as good parents should … to get their children to this country, precisely in order to protect them. They come from places of violence and poverty … in the hopes of providing those children with a chance at safety. Their perseverance is the very model of parental sacrifice.”

What is that expression the Trump administration likes to use? Ah, yes: “There is a special place in hell for … .” Well, there is a special place in hell for people who participate in the separation of children from their parents. In the future, their actions will be documented in history books for their children and grandchildren to read.

Like the time we removed children from Native American families so that we could “educate” them; like the time we locked away Japanese Americans because, in our stupidity and fear, we were unable to make the simple distinction between an enemy and our own countrymen; and like the time we separated children from African-American slaves and sold them as property to the highest bidders, history will not look kindly on this policy and on those who defended it.

There is a special place in hell … for those who use the Bible to defend the emotional abuse of children. As stated by Father James Martin, a Catholic priest, “It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals. It is not biblical to take children away from their parents. It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger. It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. Do not use the Bible to justify sin.” Indeed, and do we finally have enough evidence to state, unequivocally, that America is not a Christian nation? Real Christians do not behave this way.

How low can we go? With Trump, I’m afraid to find out.