Dear President Trump,
This morning the emotions, including tears, were full on from the start – the very first headline of the very first WP article I saw got me going and I’ve been tremulous since. Here’s the headline (WP’s punctuation included): “An activist faced 20 years in prison for helping migrants. But jurors wouldn’t convict him.” Seriously, I read that and immediately teared up.
Are you following this story? You’ve devoted so much of your presidential energy to terrorizing immigrants that tracking what happens in this arena is probably sport for you. Or, more likely, you don’t care how your policies impact real people as long as they goose your standing in certain polls, so you could just as easily have no clue that the article is about Scott Warren, a person who was facing up to 20 years in prison if he was convicted of aiding people who crossed the border without documentation.
Twenty years in prison for rendering aid.
Warren belongs to a group called “No Más Muertes,” which literally translates to “no more deaths.” You all seem to think members of this group should be tarred and feathered and left to die in the desert themselves. Your heartless, cruel stance is about as opposite their mission as one can get. Their commitment to providing life-saving resources for immigrants is driven by their religious, moral, and ethical values around caring for the stranger, the vulnerable, and the outcast in accord with their understanding of Christian doctrine.
Unfortunately, the splashy headline doesn’t seem to be completely warranted since the WP reporting is slippery and muddled. In one place the article says a juror told reporters that they couldn’t reach consensus, but at the end of the piece it equivocates between this scenario and the possibility that the jury refused to convict and nullified the charge because they deem the underlying law to be unjust. I want to go with the latter, but sadly, I think the former is more likely for an Arizona jury (you didn’t win by all that much in 2016, but it’s pretty red).
I’m probably not even the 100th person to point this out, but the story of someone facing 20 years in prison for following his religious and moral convictions by providing water and food to thirsty, hungry people is right in line with your administration’s recently enacted rules that allow health care workers to withhold treatment they feel violates their religious beliefs. I’m pretty disgusted by Politico’s recent headline about this: “Trump strengthens protections for religious health workers.” As in WTF? It pretty much sounds like an endorsement of your policies. The article goes on to clearly call out how said policy is likely to lead to more deaths, particularly among women who need abortions and birth control services and LGBTQ people, but that headline sucks.
Bad headline aside – do you see any problems here? Do you see any issues at all with persecuting good Samaritans who are rendering aid based, in part, on their Christian beliefs, and at the same time sheltering “healthcare providers” who refuse to render aid based, in part, on their Christian beliefs? No, you probably don’t. As long as the right people are suffering and dying, it’s all in a day’s work for you, isn’t it?
May we all be safe from our messed up government.
May we all be willing to speak up for those of us on the short, pointy end of your stick.
May we not sacrifice anyone’s health or look the other way when inhumane practices are condoned.
May we recognize that your administration is at war with the common good.