On February 19th of this year, my son Moses was born. He is four months old as of yesterday and has started teething. He has a hard time sleeping through the night because he is in pain, and he needs a lot of extra attention — mostly from his mother who can soothe him far better than I can. He is a lively little boy who smiles a lot and is practicing his crawling under my supervision on a daily basis. We managed to move a whole two inches across his play mat yesterday before he got bored and started trying to eat his hand.
Having a child is a totally overwhelming experience. My son is a screaming, crying, vomiting bundle of joy who sleeps when he wants to sleep, eats when he wants to eat, and plays when he wants to play. He is, we joke, a mini dictator with no regard for any of his loyal subjects. We work diligently around him to ensure his happiness, and celebrate joyously at the mildest sign of his amusement. A smile or a laugh sends his mother and I into a state of giddiness and we often scramble to get our cell phones to record the precious moment to send to family members. We are set to visit my family in England this week, much to the delight of his grandparents who have sent days prepping the house for the new addition to the family.
At night time, I often stare at my son while he sleeps and try to resist the urge to pick him up to cuddle him. He is to me, perfect. While I don’t expect anyone else to think this, my wife and I are content to believe our child really is an angel. He is so small and vulnerable that I find it almost unbearably painful to think of him suffering, and I have a new found respect for what all parents go through. When your child suffers, you feel it in ways I did not know where possible. My wife for example, is so emotionally connected to our son that she can barely stand it when he gets his vaccine injections. After a trip to the doctor last week, she took at least a day longer than our son did to recover from the ordeal.
This week, audio was recorded of immigrant children wailing and sobbing after being separated from their parents at the behest of the Trump administration. My friend Bob Cesca described it as “Utterly soul crushing,”
“These are kids whose families sought prosperity and freedom in the United States,” continued Bob, “only to land in Trump’s America where, instead, they’re split up and forced into cages, either to be lost or returned into poverty, civil war and premature death.”
I’m afraid I could not bring myself to listen to the audio, as much as I knew I should. The birth of my son has turned me into a far more emotional person, particularly when it comes to children. I’m interested in everyone’s children now too — I stop people in coffee shops to ask them about their kids, I chat on Facebook with other parents, and coo over baby pictures that I would have completely ignored before.
The idea of forcibly separating children — babies — from their parents is so cruel, so disgusting that I genuinely cannot bear to think about it.
Yesterday, I wrote about this policy adversely affecting the Republicans in the midterms this November. I think I wrote the piece in an attempt to take any positive I could from the horrific situation, because the reality of it was just too much to bear.
This is the United States of America, a country I moved to because of its amazing people, its respect for individual freedom, and its open attitude towards immigration. I feel at home here because I am different, just as all Americans have at some point during their history in this country. America was built by immigrants and thrives because of them. It is not a white country, a black country, or a brown country — it is a country for everyone regardless of their race, religion or creed. It is a country that has historically opened its arms to the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Now it is a country that denies brown people entrance and rips babies away from their mothers. It is a country helmed by a madman with no respect for human life and no respect for human decency. It is a country I barely recognize anymore, and one I’m not sure I want my son to grow up in.
Non-profit RAICES is the largest provider of immigrant legal services in Texas. Go to their Facebook page to donate so that it can provide legal counsel to the children’s detained parents and pay for bail so that families can be reunited.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.