The two images in the header above were taken on the same day ( 7/10/18) at approximately the same time.
Saving the Children and Other Living Things
Sometimes a single event comes to symbolize an era. But in this moment, it is two events converging in time that will haunt us.
As I write, 12 young boys and their soccer coach, in a scenario that seemed dreadfully impossible, all have been rescued from the bowels of a flooded cave in northern Thailand. The world watched as divers, medics, water control experts, and others from around the world pooled their expertise, their equipment, and their strength to perform a miracle.
Meanwhile, the world watches another crisis—cruel, man-made and gratuitous—play out with the morale-crunching speed of a sloth. This calamity was created by the U.S. government as it separated children from parents when families fleeing their home countries arrived at our southern border to seek safety here, where they thought they would find it.
In Thailand, rescue efforts, led by the governor of the province where the boys were trapped, were focused laser-like on a single goal—extricating the trapped soccer team from their prison through water-filled grottos and dauntingly narrow passageways.
In the U.S., the sloppy implementation of the crisis has
brought an even sloppier attempt to fix it. Officials admit they don’t even know where some of the parents are. Worse yet, they don’t know who’s who and will have to test DNA to match the youngest ones with the appropriate anguished adults.
Watching scenes from Thailand, the world held its breath as the boys were extracted over three agonizing days and rejoiced when the last four and their coach emerged into daylight. We admired the coach who, having inadvertently taken the group into danger, kept his young charges calm and remarkably able to rise to the frightening prospect of a two-mile, partially submerged journey to safety. We marvel at the courage and selflessness of those who risked everything to bring the boys home.
Watching scenes in the U.S., the world looks aghast at the chaos: the cruelty of family separation; humans locked in cages; children’s welfare entrusted to government contractors with no appropriate training; a Congress complicit by years of legislative inaction in the wild machinations of an irrational president. There is nothing here to admire—save the tireless efforts of the media to bring the chaos to light, the volunteer work of attorneys and others committed to helping, the outpouring of public protests, and finally the action of the courts. Without all that, where would we be?