“Children in cages. Dear God, what have we become?”


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I’ve been careful—haven’t you?

Ever since my nation seated a dangerous bully in the Oval Office, I’ve been filtering the news for the sake of my sanity. I’ve relied on my belief in the Law of Attraction, doing my best to focus on the positive in hopes that it might invite more. It’s been all I could do. The relentless assault on progress, decency, and truth has been too much to bear.

And then, they came for the children.

Yesterday, the man in the White House had to answer to critics, even from within his own party—former First Lady, Laura Bush, notably among them—regarding the human rights violations his regime has undertaken. Children, separated from their parents at our nation’s southern border, herded into internment camps. 

A friend posted on Facebook: “Children in cages. Dear God, what have we become?”

It was the response typed neatly beneath it that stopped me in my tracks:

“What we always were.”

My fellow Americans, think about it.

We are a nation where land stolen from its indigenous people was worked by people stolen from their indigenous land.

We are a nation where tens of thousands of indigenous children were ripped from their parents and forced into Indian boarding schools, their families and their culture desecrated.

We are a nation where more than 100,000 of our own citizens were imprisoned during World War II because of their Japanese heritage.

We are a nation that elected a man who mocked the disabled, who denounced Mexicans as thugs and rapists, who said of women: “grab them by the pussy,” and who offered up a slogan that should have sounded a clanging alarm.

My fellow Americans, they told us who they are.

“Make America Great Again.”

What might that mean at a time when so many of us thought America was at its greatest yet? We had our first black president. Universal healthcare. Marriage equality. We were moving in an ever more inclusive and thoughtful direction. What, then, was this “great” America to which some wanted a return?

Was America great when smallpox blankets were handed to indigenous people? Was it great when slaves were whipped to death, their children sold? Was it great when drinking fountains were labeled “White” and “Colored,” when folks showed up at lynchings with picnic dinners? Was it great when women feared reporting rape or abuse? Was it great when they died in back-alley abortions? Was it great when citizens lived in fear that someone would learn the gender of the person they loved?

Or was America on its way to becoming truly great when it began breaking down those barriers and saying, “No more! We are better than this”?

As it turns out, we are a nation so deeply divided that many of us could not fathom the backlash stirring in our midst—even when it was right before our eyes.

The MAGA mob showed us who they are, falling in line behind a leader who used the same tactics as Hitler, inflaming racist tensions and vowing to shut down our borders so fully that no “others” could get in.

They let us feel who they are, defending the Second Amendment over the bodies of American children gunned down in school rooms by automatic weapons—their right to own weapons of war trumping our collective right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

They demonstrated they would deliver on every promise of their leader’s campaign, and this latest turn is no exception. Tearing small children away from their only anchor in the world is not collateral damage. It is a plan derived directly from our nation’s dark history. As slave owners knew, and as the architects of the Indian boarding schools knew, the way to cripple a group of people for generations to come is to dismantle their families.

My fellow Americans, our chickens have come home to roost—and even the most sensitive among us cannot afford to turn a blind eye.

Yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe in focusing on the positive. I believe that all I can control is my own life, my own sphere, and trust that will have a ripple effect.

But I also believe in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Every one of us who feels for people being mistreated under this regime must act on our empathy. Otherwise, we become the Germans pretending that a steady fall of human ash is just a flurry of snow.

That may sound like hyperbole, but as any historian will tell you, the way the Nazis accomplished genocide was by degrees. Propaganda. Lies. Aggressive nationalism. A wearing down of people who might have objected.

I, like so many of you, feel worn down—yes. The daily news since this regime took office is a relentless pummeling. It is disheartening. Retreat becomes necessary for self-preservation. I get it.

But here’s the thing: no one else is coming to save us. It was an inside job, getting us to this point; it has to be an inside job, getting us out.

Yesterday, the bully had to address the human rights violations he is perpetrating, but his response was textbook. Lies. Blame. Gaslighting, the likes of which every dictator in history has employed. The only innovation in this case is “the tweet;” all else is borrowed from the worst chapters in history.

Still, I do not believe we are doomed to a repeat.

I won’t tell you we can “namaste” the tiki torches out of neo-Nazi hands, but I do believe the strength of the liberal, progressive community lies in our heart. And I do believe, at times like this, our empathy is calling us to action.

We can focus on the positive while writing and calling our representatives in Congress. We can fully feel our divinity as we march in protest. We can trust that the Law of Attraction is working as we campaign for candidates who will serve the public good. We can honor our empathy by drying our tears and raising our voices for those being silenced.

We can demonstrate that a truly great America is possible—and it will be a place where progress, decency, and truth prevail.


author: K.C. Wilder

Image: @waylonlewis/Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron


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K.C. Wilder

K.C. Wilder is the author of novels, including the bestselling Fifty Ways to Leave Your Husband and the YA paranormal tale Haunted: A Heather Hollow Story. Her short fiction has appeared in A Kind of Mad Courage, Merry Chick Lit, Flash Fiction Magazine, 101 Words, and The Providence Journal. She’s a contributor to The Huffington Post. For three years, she blogged weekly about women, adventure, and creativity at Girl on a Wire. She’s currently at work on her next novel.


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Galina Singer Jun 24, 2018 10:27am


Alina Bailey Jun 22, 2018 8:39pm

Isn't the root of spirituality to not force your opinions on others, and to let them form their own? Every since Trump, Elephant Journal has taken a giant sh*t all over itself.

Alina Bailey Jun 22, 2018 8:36pm

also- it's hilarious you say this election wasn't legitimate. All these excuses for why he won. LOL!

Alina Bailey Jun 22, 2018 8:33pm

you're absolutely right. Elephan Journal has a right to its hippy dippy biased opinions because they completely lack fact :)

Alina Bailey Jun 22, 2018 8:32pm

if you're going to write an article about kids in cages use a photo of one in a cage. I see a child standing next to her mother. Come on.

Stephanie Steele Jun 22, 2018 12:31am

Can't we all just get along?

Roberta Smith Jun 21, 2018 7:55pm

NO sorry, but what have THEY become! THEY knew what was coming to them, so what type of people are they to bring their children into this situ?...not good people at all !!

Linda Lewis Jun 21, 2018 7:31pm

Amen, sister! Surely everyone can agree that incarcerating over 2300 children, including babies and toddlers, is a violation of human rights.

Aisling Van Dam LaBauve Jun 21, 2018 5:45pm

And to the folks saying they've lost respect for Elephant Journal, I have this to say (for what it's worth). Last time I checked, we all had a right to have an opinion. That's actually a part of what makes living in this country so amazing. Dismantling all of our environmental regulations, trying to make abortion illegal, and encouraging offshore drilling in the Arctic refuge do not. Being a bully that makes the leaders of other countries hate us and discourages acgtual meaningful discourse does not. This freedom to express an opinion includes stating that you don't like one of our leaders. Some of us didn't vote for our current President; many didn't vote who should have. And it's debatable if this election was even legitimate. It's funny how people want to be heard until someone says something they don't agree with, at which time they insult the person stating their opinion and throw a temper tantrum. If you want to live in a country where people aren't allowed to criticise their leader, move to China.

Aisling Van Dam LaBauve Jun 21, 2018 5:37pm

Maybe we should be upset about this regardless of when it started. To the people discounting this article, how about that? Or we can just keep making excuses....

Lindsay Haynes Jun 21, 2018 3:52pm

Lois Kruse Theisinger I'm with you. Elephant Journal just lost my respect.

Lindsay Haynes Jun 21, 2018 3:51pm

Suzanne Whitaker he is not a fake president. He is the first president in a long time to put America and its citizens first.

Lindsay Haynes Jun 21, 2018 3:48pm

So over the top and one sided. This has been going on for YEARS and only NOW are people outraged. Stop blaming Trump for everything. He is changing America for the better, making us stronger as a country and stopping all the needless flow of money and resources out of our country back to assist OUR citizens. If so many people are fleeing their homelands, then those countries need to fix their problems. I am not against immigration, but I am against unlawful immigration and the "open faucet" that has been our borders for too long. Let's rule with heart, but also with logic.

Lois Kruse Theisinger Jun 21, 2018 3:33pm

Suzanne Whitaker - I just love the "fake president" crap - get over yourself. Many of the pictures with the kids in cages were taken in 2014. Who was president then? 5/6ths of the kids coming here are not even with their parents - they came alone or with other adults. These children were dragged through numerous countries on their way to America. Really? Asylum? How about freebies? How about worrying about the American children of incarcerated parents? How about carrying about the 428,000 plus American kids in foster care across our country? Why are liberals so focused on "rescuing" the rest of the world's populations when we can barely take care of our own? Who do you think is paying for all of this? The housing, the medical care? The education? The food? Callous. Souless. Craven. Liberals. Elephant Journal - you should be embarrassed attacking our President. Is there a way I can get my membership fee refunded or prorated?

Lois Kruse Theisinger Jun 21, 2018 3:23pm

Excellent, Deb - I cannot agree more!

Suzanne Whitaker Jun 21, 2018 3:07pm

Lois Kruse Theisinger please check your facts. I think we clearly understand what's going on and we are outraged. Just because DHS Secretary Nielsen says it and the fake president says it and the lie gets repeated over and over, it may SEEM true. But, these are not the facts. This current situation has stemmed from the "zero tolerance" put in place in May by Sessions and our lovely fake president. Separation of families must stop. I feel for these children especially. How horrifying! And, even though our fake president was pressured into signing some document yesterday, that fake action will likely not change things. We must actively oppose (marching, writing, petitions, legal aid, calling our reps, etc.) the inhumane Trumpian "policies" currently being enacted or we are complicit.

Deb Lund Jun 21, 2018 3:00pm

What is going on here? Why does elephant journal talk about politics...well, actually President Trump? We are all born with basic goodness, as Pema says in a lot of her books. We are supposed to be mindful and accept people without any bias let alone everyone slamming the President 24/7. Aren't we as a nation smarter than to believe ALL that we read about people. President Trump is being treated with such contempt due to the untrue stories we all read from whatever source. We are letting the media rule our country. He is only trying to make our country aa better place and help the low-middle class with a tax break. These people, me, my husband, our frirends, and the majority of our country are paying for this country with our taxes. We work pay check to paycheck, and, personally, a tax break for my husband, who has RA, and myself, with MS and several other diseases, barely get by sometimes due to the outrageous cost of autoimmune disease treatment and the pharrmacuticlal companies. My MS medication alone costs nearly 10,000 per month..for 30 pills that they don't know for sure if any of them really work, but we do it. That is because my huband and I are blessed with good insurance. He works his ass off at Costco, but will be retiring in 4 years. Then what the hell are we going to do? President Trump is going after the pharmacutical companies so we ALL can get less expensive medications. You never hear of all of the good things he is trying to do because of the media and rumors and gossip! As a Buddhist, I don't practice these things, and, no, I am not a republican, democrat, liberal...I am a person who accepts the FACT that Trump got elected BY THE PEOPLE,,,,the kind that the working class that keeps our country run with all sorts of difficult jobs. They are practicing Right Livelyhood. We're all supposed to be in the moment-mindful-each day, which produces joy. All of my "liberal" friends have a lot of money as do the majority. All the celebrities can say anything they want about tthe poor needing help because they have millions upon millions of dollars! And we, as the real people, actuallly listen to them because we "love" them when, in fact, we do not know them AT ALL?!. What? Yes, somee give money, which is brilliant and kind, but many do it for tax breaks not because it is given from the heart, If we all practicing loving-kindness and spead it all around the world no wars or discmination or crime, etc, would be happening everywhere. And btw, if you ever choose to stop all of this bashing and read what he is really doing, then maybe we could think of things to help the LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY! The people spoke, and they voted for Trump. PERIOD! And we are disrespecting first of all, the President, but also the people who elected him. No president in history has been treated with such contempt and none of the ton of allegations have been proven true. In fact, they were found to be false! This country is behaving like spoiled people. At least we want to be safe, and work hard, and just because Donald Trump got elected president, which even shocks me, doesn't mean we need to go on and on and on and hate him. He's been completely discrminated from the get go. come on America....negativity breeds negativity. The truth is the truth. Grow up and accept it.

Lois Kruse Theisinger Jun 21, 2018 2:41pm

Where was the outrage when the exact same thing - possibly worse - was happening when Obama was President? Crickets. Typical liberal attacks without any real understanding about what is going on, when it started, and who was involved every step of the way. Pathetic.

Marilyn Regan Jun 19, 2018 8:58pm

"Every one of us who feels for people being mistreated under this regime must act on our empathy. Otherwise, we become the Germans pretending that a steady fall of human ash is just a flurry of snow." I love it! It doesn't get more cerebral than that. I do believe good will prevail. There are too many voices speaking out against this. Thank you for sharing.