The irony almost slipped right by me even though my hypocrisy-radar is usually fine-tuned. Yet, it nearly missed me: America will be joyously celebrating Father’s Day while thousands of children of asylum seekers are being ripped from their parents and locked away in facilities. As we celebrate family and fatherhood, we as a nation are breaking the hearts of families and fathers at our borders and across the globe.
It wasn’t until I saw Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s Father’s Day post of sweet fatherhood images overlayed with soft and reflective music that I began to choke on the irony. Here is a man — a father — with enough power to actually stop the barbarity taking place at our nation’s border — a father ostensibly opposed to Donald Trump’s actions — who saw fit to rub in the faces of every single asylum-seeking family how comfortable and privileged his fatherhood experience is. He brags of “family“ as he allows families to be torn apart for Donald Trump’s political agenda.
But as I prepared to stand on my stoop and lambast the Speaker for his hypocrisy, I gagged on my own: I, too, am privileged to raise my children in the safety and comfort of America’s borders. I, too, was preparing to celebrate Father’s Day at the same time our government is traumatizing hundreds of families already traumatized by the horrors for which they came to our borders seeking asylum.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan may be a hypocrite, but I believe that if I celebrate Father’s Day while families are being broken — if not in my name, as a result of my tax dollars — then I cannot say that I am any better.
How can I celebrate being a father knowing that my nation’s actions led to the death of Marco Antonio Muñoz — a Honduran asylum seeker so traumatized by being separated from his 3-year-old child by border patrol that he took his own life?
How can I celebrate being a father knowing of all of the fathers who had to bury their children because of America’s foreign policy, our drones, and the war crimes we commit or with which we are complicit?
I can’t celebrate Father’s Day this year because of how much I love my children and how broken I know another father is right now in Yemen after burying his emaciated child because of the civil war the United States is sponsoring.
I won’t pretend that I will protest until every single issue in the world is fixed. I know this is not feasible. But today, what I can do is use my platform to bring as much attention to the one issue I believe we can all fix immediately: we must stop Donald Trump’s policy of separating children of asylum seekers from their families.
Texas Senator Beto O’Rourke is using Father’s Day to bring attention to and to challenge the policy of separating families at the border:
Please join us tomorrow morning at 9:30 as we march to Tornillo. We need everyone there. RT to spread the word. 18051 Island Guadalupe Rd Fabens, TX 79838 pic.twitter.com/KmOgXzlOVD
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 16, 2018
I’m celebrating Father’s Day, not by celebrating myself or even allowing my friends and family to celebrate me; instead, I’m celebrating with a simple gesture: calling for the complete and total abolishment of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE has become a modern-day Gestapo — Trump’s Secret Police using draconian tactics to entrap, kidnap, and deport immigrants of color.
Father’s Day this year is Abolish Ice Day for my family.
No. It’s not much. But it is the only thing that can make palatable the gagging-irony of celebrating being a father while our nation devastates fathers.
I am not asking you to do this. But I will ask that, at a minimum, as you think about the joys of fatherhood, take a single moment to think about all of the fathers our nation has devastated both here and abroad and then do whatever you can– even if it is a solitary protest as my own or, at a minimum, a social media post in their honor.