You sit on your lawn chairs or look out the windows of your bedrooms and watch fireworks explode in the sky.
They’re illegal, plenty of them.
But you know law enforcement will ignore them, just for a night. And you, gazing into the sky with a beer in your hand as they explode, have no problem with that. It’s fun anyway. And you want to celebrate your pride in the US, a country you believe stands for freedom and equality. Let it go for today, the context is important.
So, you’ll say, no one go confiscating those fireworks. Please Cops, don’t park outside the firework tent and pull people over because they look like they just bought an illegal bottle rocket.
Cop, listen, just use your discretion, you’ll say. No need to go kicking in doors to take away a few fire crackers. No need to go patrolling streets.
But when brown people flee violence and poverty, when brown people ride trains from central america up through mexico to arrive at the border of the U.S., when brown people watch their compatriots die in the desert to arrive and beg for safety, you greet them with a cage.
And while you sit and watch illegally purchased bombs bursting in air, you cage their children.
And then you ship them each to opposite sides of the hemisphere, with no plan for reunification, no plan to ever again allow them to hold each other.
Because “the law is the law.” Because there is no need for discretion here. They broke the law. And the law says NO CHILDREN WITH LAW BREAKING ADULTS. The law is fact. It’s interpretation immutable. BORDER CROSSING IS ILLEGAL WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND CONTEXT IS IRRELEVANT.
I wish, somehow, that brown families deserved as much discretion as fireworks.