Rachel Maddow Chokes Up
Phil Porter
Minister of Art & Communication

It was Tuesday night near the end of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, in that little window between the last commercial and her hand-off to Lawrence McDonnell whose show follows right after. The screen crawl said “Breaking News” which seems to happen quite a bit these days, and Rachel had in her hands something that had clearly just been given to her. After an hour of reporting on the uproar over children being separated from their parents at the border, she held an AP report that young children—babies really—were being held in three “tender age” detention centers in Texas and a fourth was being opened up.

She tried to read the report and choked up with tears, then tried again and then a third time before giving up, turning away from the camera and waving off the transition. She often shares a minute or two of light-hearted banter with Lawrence between the two shows, but there was to be none of that this time.
In contrast, Laura Ingraham on Fox News described the detention centers housing minors as “summer camps.”

The current immigration morass is maddening, depressing, outrageous and somehow “business as usual” all at the same time. Our hearts are broken, our political rage is boiling over. What kind of situation is this when all four of the living former first ladies come out against a policy, including an op-ed by Laura Bush in the Washington Post? Even the current first lady has expressed her concern, if carefully. Yet we doubt what we can do or if hearts can be changed. “Same song, different words”—we’ve heard it before in the current political climate.

The rhetoric swirling in the air is, in my opinion, just this side (or even “that side”) of sinful. Demonization, hyperbole, black and white arguments, grandstanding, stonewalling, deflection, spin, misdirection, and even lying are rife. Each use of one of those tools and others is an assault on the pursuit of truth, which to my mind is more of a path than a destination, but a clear direction nonetheless.

I’m not even convinced that in the big picture immigration is a crisis. People trying to escape dire circumstance?—that is the crisis. But a danger for our country? Not so much. This current situation is just another pump in the inflation of a political football. Much of the current suffering right now—a created crisis—could have been avoided and can be ameliorated, except, perhaps, that it is serving a purpose to some.

My prayer is that we can head toward “immigration truth” even as we salve the wounds of the suffering and quiet the cries of the children.

What can we do to meet the immediate and longer-term need? More ideas here...