I refer, of course, to this quote regarding the unaccompanied Central American children, part of the flood that has precipitated a crisis on our southern border, who have been placed with relatives in South Carolina:
“You want me to educate them, right? And you want me to pay their health care, right? It does cost us something”…
First, let me say this: Since it upsets you so much, governor, let me assure you no one’s asking you to pay for this. The rest of us, the people of the United States (and if you’re right, of South Carolina) will pick up the tab. Don’t get your wallet out. And while I know there are plenty of people in our state who resent the children’s presence as much as our governor lets on to, I for one don’t mind the spare change that will be my share.
Second, those 350 children — if they stay, which remains to be seen — can be absorbed into a state of 4.7 million so completely as to be unnoticed. The federal government placed them here quietly and discreetly — which was the proper way; these kids have been through enough — and you likely wouldn’t know they were here had the feds not told you.
Third, I’m especially embarrassed that my governor said this at an RGA meeting in Colorado. It was bad enough for her to say it at home, much less in front of outsiders.
Now, in defense of Nikki Haley, she did say, in the midst of a bunch of other stuff expressing her great irritation at having these children underfoot, “We do care about these children. We do want them to be safe.” I like to think that’s the real Nikki Haley talking — or at the very least, someone who knows what is right, despite her real feelings, and feels compelled to give lip service.
But that just makes the rest of it sound that much worse, sets it in sharp relief. If you know better, how do you say such things?
Here’s how: It’s something you do when you have made a strategic decision to cater to the worst impulses in your constituency — the pettiest, most grasping, most miserly, least caring about the distress of a stranger. She is appealing to qualities that are the opposite of Reading her comments, a word popped into my head that I hadn’t thought of in years — niggardly. It’s a word people avoid today, because of its unfortunate resemblance to our language’s worst epithet. But it states the case.
Another point: I’m distressed that the governor is pressing the feds to tell where these children are. I heartily endorse this statement:
A note on Health and Human Services’ website says that the children’s privacy and safety are of “paramount importance. We cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.”…
Speaking of things I endorse, I’ll just end with what The State ended with:
“Why are we not recognizing that these children are facing imminent danger and families are doing what they can to get them out of that dangerous situation?” said Sue Berkowitz, director of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center. “I’m astounded that America is behaving this way.”
God bless Sue Berkowitz, who day in and day out does whatever she can for the least of these. If only more of us were like her.