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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Government by Hypocrisy

I am ashamed of our Indiana Leadership.  Hypocrites and liars.  

This is from today's Bloomington Herald Times.  June, 19, 2018

Sen. Young and Rep. Hollingsworth: How can you justify splitting families

To Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth:
You both talk a lot about your families and your family values. You seem very sincere when you do. We hope you got to spend time with your kids on Father’s Day.
We have to wonder, though. How can you not be outraged by the new Trump stance that has resulted in 2,000 children being taken from their parents in the past six weeks?
How can you not denounce that President Trump is essentially using children as a negotiating chip in order to get things from the Democrats on immigration?
How can you not speak out boldly and directly against “weaponizing” children, as Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski said on National Public Radio Saturday?
How can you not support evangelical leader Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, when he says that what’s happening because of this policy position is “disgraceful, and it’s terrible to see families ripped apart and I don’t support that one bit”?
How can you ignore, because of politics, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of Galveston-Houston in Texas, when he says that “Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral”?
How can you not hear, really hear, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, when he says “Those at the highest levels of the Trump administration are responsible and must provide the public a clear explanation of how this happened and how these families will be reunited”?
Don’t you agree with former First Lady Laura Bush, a member of your party, when she writes for the Washington Post that the actions brought about by this administration remind her of the heinous practice of isolating Japanese-Americans in internment camps: “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart”?
Where in your family values do these things fall?
It’s not simply hyperbole to say children are screaming and crying for their parents when our government takes them away. Or that the parents are left to wonder if they will ever see their children again. How can you not be incensed by that?
There’s been a lot of noise about what is and isn’t going on with this new immigration policy. PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning organization that gets to the facts of many matters, can help cut through some of it. According to PolitiFact’s research:
Contrary to Trump’s claims that this is the fault of Democratic policy, there is no law mandating the separation of families. The Trump Administration has called for a “zero-tolerance” policy demanding that all individuals who illegally enter the United States to be prosecuted. No discretion allowed.
Previously, families were detained together, sent back immediately or allowed to enter the country on parole.
In addition, many of the families apprehended at the border have been fleeing gang violence and poverty and seeking political asylum. The United Nations addresses this issue with its position that “asylum seekers should not be criminally prosecuted for entering without documentation because those fleeing persecution often do not have time/ability to get proper authorization before they are forced to flee.”
Sen. Young and Rep. Hollingsworth, you can stand behind your president and his simplistic, play-to-his-base message that he’s simply following the laws and protecting the nation’s security. Or you can recognize that’s all just a political ruse based in mind-numbing cruelty.
Is there no room in your politics for empathy? Can you, two fathers, put yourselves in the shoes of parents who are trying to make better lives for their children? Can you feel what it would be like to have government officials take your children away?
You both might be able to find political reasons to toe the Trump line on this issue. If you do, though, we hope you won’t campaign on a platform of championing family values. That would be a bad, cynical, hypocritical joke.
And nothing about this separation of families is funny.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dick's House


                                                                                                     June, 2018
Dear Family and Friends:

The house across the street has been empty since last February.  Juca and I refer to it as “Dick’s House.”  Prior to February, Dick Berry PhD, lived in that house for sixty years.  We celebrated Doctor Berry’s 99th birthday last December.   He passed away in February. 

I liked Dick…a lot.  We spoke often.  It is impossible to have a conversation with someone who is in their 90’s and not learn something about American history.  Dick’s stories spanned the 1920’s to the present.  He came to Bloomington to teach in IU’s psychology department with B.F.Skinner.  Some of you psych majors may remember that famous psychology researcher’s name.  Dick moved into the house when it was the only one on South Hawthorne Dr.  He watched all of our neighbor’s houses being built, and he had stories about many of them, including ours.  We talked about everything from farming to World War II (he was employed by the defense department during the war to give psychological tests to US Navy submarine applicants).  And like yours truly, Dick loved football.

Our front porch looks directly out on Dick’s front porch.  My wife Juca could tell by the position of Dick’s curtains, the lights in the house, the garage door if all was OK with our neighbor.  We had keys to his house so that if there was a problem we could get in and help.  This happened a few times.  Finally, Dick moved to an assisted care facility here in Bloomington.  That’s when our relationship really blossomed.  I use to go to visit Dick every Sunday.  We would schmooze…he knew the stock market backwards and forwards, loved to kid me about the Cubs, was always up to date with what was happening with the Indianapolis Colts, and on and on.  Sunday afternoons we would watch whatever NFL game was on and just…talk football.  Dick played the game in high school as did I.  We both shared the same number at least for one season.  That was number 40.  His season was in the 1930’s and mine in the ‘60s.  He liked to pull out the last remaining picture of his football team. 

Every time I visited Dick I asked some question about his life or about a particular time in America.  We talked about the McCarthy trials, campus rebellion in the 1960's, and the Great Depression; anything I could think of.  It was always interesting to hear firsthand about things that I had only read about.  Dick was a living American history. 

Dick also asked me a lot of questions.  He was interested in my camp work, what Judaism had to say about various things, and much, much more. 

Next month it seems a young couple will be moving into the house across the street.  That’s a good thing because time marches on.  GUCI’s old caretaker, our friend Earl Beeler once commented to me as we walked through the woods at camp and saw a tree that had fallen over, that, “Us old trees have move over to make room for the young ones coming up.”  That’s a true but hard lesson to take to heart. 

Dick has moved on to make room for the young ones coming up.  According to Earl, that's the way it has to be, and we all know he was right.  Nevertheless, I miss Dick (and Earl)... a lot.