I don’t want to write this column. I have been avoiding it for nearly a week, since I saw the 11-year-old Mexican girl sobbing, uncontrollably, “My daddy isn’t a criminal. I want my daddy.”

Daddy, an illegal immigrant, was rounded up for deportation by ICE agents at a Mississippi chicken processing factory. This came weeks after the photo of the father and toddler daughter, drowned while crossing a river, which has Pulitzer written all over it.

I felt like screaming, “What’s the matter with you idiots in charge? Have you no humanity? Would you sell your own sister to a sex trafficker? Would you stuff your own child behind a chain link fence?”

That image of children peering out from behind fences reminded many journalists of photos from Nazi concentration camps. And that made me think of my all-time favorite movie: “Sophie’s Choice,” the horror, when reading the book by North Carolinian William Styron, that Sophie was forced to give up one of her children at the gates of Auschwitz. She chose the younger, a precious little girl.

Styron hadn’t even mentioned this child until now. From that moment, Sophie was doomed.

The emotion created by this scene, either in the mind’s eye or on the screen, was absolutely overwhelming. And it happened every day at concentration camps.

Now a form is happening at the southern border of the greatest nation civilization has ever produced. Except parents weren’t given Sophie’s choice. They were just separated from their children. Some of these children got “lost” in the process. Who knows how long until their parents are found. Or if. True, these children aren’t slated for extermination, as was Sophie’s daughter. Just lifetimes built on fear, emotional instability, psychological wounds.

What kind of leadership allows this to happen? What kind of president deems these exhausted, hungry, traumatized, often ill children less human that his own five by three mothers — just because they are “brown” and have parents willing to trek thousands of miles, on foot, and upon arrival work in chicken slaughterhouses to earn enough for food, water, clean clothes and a tiny apartment?

What would he do if his favorite Ivanka’s 3-year-old was ripped away by a kidnapper? Different details, same emotion.

Oh, but it’s the law, we’re told, and ultimately the parents’ fault for subjecting the children to caravans. If executive action can override a felony conviction with the flourish of a felt-tipped pen (to enhance the signature), why not stop these roundups and save brown parents and kids from unspeakable agony?

I’m thinking of how the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future made Scrooge a kinder man. Seeing Tiny Tim’s crutch standing by the fireplace suggests that without intervention the small boy will die. That did it.

Of course Tiny Tim wasn’t brown, ragged and dirty. And a ghost dragging chains would never get into Mar-a-Lago.

Ragged and dirty are easily remedied. Losing a child, even temporarily, isn’t. I know. I have lost two. The circumstances don’t matter, only the agony that never goes away, that colors your life … forever. That agony is the same for brown parents, Mr. President, as for a rich white one whose grandfather emigrated illegally (fled conscription) from Bavaria, therefore may have entered the U.S. under questionable pretenses.

Finally, where do you find the gall to koochy-koo for a photo shoot with the 2-month-old baby who lost both his parents in the racially motivated El Paso massacre?

Forget compassion. This man has neither common sense nor common decency.

None of the above is new. Worse, with problems erupting every day, the outrage will fade or be supplanted. Maybe separations have lessened. But, according to news reports, hundreds of children separated months ago still don’t know when or where they will find their parents.

Last, I cannot fathom how government employees tasked with separations are able to carry out orders. Most must be parents themselves, as is the president, as is presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Yang broke into tears speaking of gun violence against children the same age as his own small sons. Because separation, like guns, is another form of violence against children.

Maybe if NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had kids he’d understand.

Contact Deborah Salomon at debsalomon@nc.rr.com.

(11) comments

Mark Hayes

Deborah, that is the correct name is it not, would not want to mistake you for anyone else. Concentration camp victims had no choice, belongings confiscated, gold teeth extracted, rounded up like farm animals, they certainly did not voluntarily board those cattle cars and ask to be taken to one of the many death camps. There is no comparisons, Holocaust victims were worked until they could work no more, no longer of any use, only then shoved into ovens to be burned for efficiency in disposing of the bodies. These parents who are bringing their children from South America and Mexico are fully aware of the plight they are subjecting their children to, they depend on the sympathetic and politically motivated citizens of this country to welcome them, it seems to be working. As for the government employees tasked in carrying out the duties of the separations, a very large number of our Border Security are American Latino's, they are not persecuting anyone because of color, they are doing their duty to suppress the entry into this country by those who we know nothing about, no background information, health records, and criminal history. I guess those things mean little to you, and that is understandable, being a contemptuous individual as you have shown to be, especially when it comes to Trump, being miserable and writing these letters must offer some relief .

Richard Wright

TDS for sure. What did Obama do to stop mass killings? What about GWB or Bill Clinton. Blaming the shootings on anyone other the shooter is ludicrous left wing rants. Chicago and Baltimore, run for decades by liberals see record number of murders by guns weekly -- and both have very strong gun laws. And of course she has not a single proposal that might achieve her objective. Then again, Diane's columns are little but left wing musings focused on but one thought - President Trump, the man who has been in politics for three years, is the case of all bad.

Deborah Salomon

You can't even get my name right.

Kent Misegades

None of the purported things would have happened if illegals had stayed in their homelands and followed our immigration laws. The father who drowned with his daughter was implored by his wife to wait but he was impatient. He alone was the cause for his own death and that of his child. The real violence is caused south of the border. The best way to stop this is a large fence along the entire border, the most humanitarian act we can do.

Dan Roman

The comments of Wright and Misgades sound like a story written by Edgar Allen Schmo and poetry written by Walt Twitman. Both need to drag their knuckles into the 21st century.

Richard Wright

Is that the best you can do Dan? Add something to debate rather than the left's typical ad hominem attack.

Suzanne Martin

This is not the America I was raised to believe in. I am ashamed of the actions of this administration, of Congress and their inability to stop the horror, and the willingness of so much of the country to support these actions. This does not reflect Judeo-Christian values. It is immoral and as a country we will pay a price. The question is can it be turned around by the next administration - whoever that is. Until then vote as if your children's lives depended on it because it does.

Jim Tomashoff

it can be turned around by the next administration if our criminal-in-chief is voted out of office. equally as good, the department of justice will once again become the enforcer of our laws and constitution. one of its first acts will be to indict donald trump on charges of obstruction of justice, subordination of perjury, bank fraud, insurance fraud, business fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. concurrently the fbi will begin an investigation to determine if trump was a knowing intelligence asset of a foreign government and whether he acted, as president, as an agent of a foreign government. his passport will be confiscated and his private jet will be grounded because he will be judged to be a flight risk. this isn't hyperbole. it will happen if trump loses.

Richard Wright

Now dear Jim, what criminal act are you accusing the President about now? Why does the left make up such lies and hold on to the baseless fantasies. Is it a sickness or just a delusion? Actually I find your writings boorish but typical of the left wing.

Richard Wright

I assume you are a Democrat based on you posts on this thread and others. I always find the use of immoral acts and not reflect Judeo-Christian values interesting. Then to thrown in "your children/.s lives depends" on your vote yet the left sanctions abortion ending nearly one million human lives annually. Is that moral? Is that the America you were brought up in, one where the only value attached to human life is after birth.

Ed Pieczynski

I supposed you were equally ashamed when the Obama administration did the same thing?

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