Let's talk about empathy. Empathy, of course, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Sadly, empathy has been in very short supply in our national discourse at a time when we're being forced to ask ourselves what it really means to be an American in the first place.
Who are we, really, as a nation? At our core, we're a Republic founded by white slave-holding men on stolen indigenous land. That is a legacy we all live with, and that continues to reverberate today. But in the short 242 years of our nation's history, many of us have worked tirelessly to mold our country into something better and more perfect that that.
One manifestation of a more perfect union is America-made-refuge to people fleeing persecution and violence in other parts of the world. These are basic human rights: to live in safety, peace, and dignity. And to migrate elsewhere if those things cannot be achieved at home.
Every non-indigenous person in this country is an immigrant here. Every one of us has reaped the rewards of American constitutional democracy. The fact that the fabric of that democracy is being stretched thinner than ever is all the more reason to double-down on speaking up for what's right.
Like so many issues of our time, this is not a political issue. It's a human rights issue. The people of the migrant caravan are human beings who deserve a chance to knock at the door of this nation without being caged, tear-gassed, raped, or killed by the State, without having their children snatched from their arms, and without being vilified or dehumanized for political gain.
Our elected officials need to respond to this crisis in a humanitarian way. One that reflects empathy and honors human rights. They must acknowledge that the men, women, and children of the migrant caravan are human beings who are entitled to seek refuge here. They must end the militarization of our border and the detention and deportation of immigrants. They must end state-sanctioned violence against asylum-seekers. We have to start investing in our communities by keeping families together and holding them in hearts full of empathy.
To do otherwise is to lose our humanity.