Disturbing images coming from our southern border, showing the tear gassing of migrants, are shocking people around the country.

However, not everyone is shaken up by the graphic portrayal of mothers and shoeless toddlers running away from smoke plumes, choking on tear gas. In fact, some people even enjoyed watching the suffering.

But, aside from certain shock-jock pundits, who we already know sold their souls long ago to peddle racism, a fear of “white genocide”, and “white people are the real victims” nonsense, every American has to decide for themselves how they feel when they see these types of images.

In this instance, it seems clear to me that there is indeed a right and wrong side of the “issue.” Under no circumstance should we approve of launching tear gas at children. Due to the #MAGA rhetoric, and the demonization of immigrants, it seems to have become easier for people to justify in their mind a scene as awful as what recently took place. Imagine for one moment that you weren’t so lucky to be born where you were, into a certain sense of comfort. Imagine that you, not by your choice, were born into abject poverty, or had to flee violence so severe that walking thousands of miles without guarantee of safety on arrival was the better choice.

For those who cannot place themselves in this hypothetical situation, and instead continue to vilify those who are seeking asylum in the United States, the task of defending the indefensible begins. Along with the dehumanization of the asylum seekers, a new defense has popped up. Tear gas isn’t even THAT bad. Border Patrol Foundation President Ron Colburn went on Fox News and defended using tear gas on migrants, saying “It’s natural” and you could even “put it on your nachos and eat it.” When asked what he thought of the pictures of women and children caught in the chemicals, President Trump said that the gas used was “very safe” and was a “very minor form” of tear gas.

Not true.

To those who “don’t like to talk or think about politics” or think that all sides are bad, eventually, you will have to realize that you can’t chalk up every uncomfortable situation to “politics”. There comes a time when every person needs to take a moral stand on right vs. wrong. Boiling down issues that deal with real human lives to “politics” and choosing not to reflect on them because they don’t directly affect you, means you are indirectly supporting whatever takes place.

Those who can look at an image of a mother and young children being tear gassed, and feel ZERO empathy or regret give me a profound sense of shame in the human race and scare me far more than any immigrant seeking asylum in our country.

Josh Stewart considers himself a global citizen first and foremost and is passionate about cultural exchange. He has a B.s. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from St. John's University in Minnesota and experience as both an ESL and social studies teacher in Korea and the Philippines. He currently works a digital content Manager for Citizen Education and Education Post and enjoys both traditional and creative methods crafting messages around the desperate need to improve our education system and provide quality options to the most marginalized students and families.


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