Daucher, Perry, Schlotterbeck and Kennedy: We Must Not Be Enemies

We would all do well to listen to our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, at this point in our history. In his first Inaugural Address he tried to remind Americans, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched by the better angels of our nature.”

He was struggling to keep the union together. We are reeling from a different strain – the discords of a long, dreadful election process that saw the vilification of large segments of our population. And ultimately ended with the popular vote winner not becoming President despite winning by a substantial margin. Surely we can all understand the pain of this dysfunctional conundrum of our democracy.

Local government is uniquely positioned to help cope with the fallout. In the heart of things we are all neighbors. That’s why local government is non-partisan. Our children go to school together and play on the same teams. We see each other at the store and at our places of worship. We help out when neighbors are sick or their pets need to be fed. When calls for assistance go out, we don’t check party affiliation; we respond with humanity.

Children are least equipped to deal with challenges of the conversations they heard over the last 18 months. A school principal stepped up after a child came home and asked mom if we are going to be kicked out of the country as another student told her at school. He sent out a voicemail to all parents reminding them that all children are welcome on campus, school is not a place for hate, bullying will not be tolerated, and children who are afraid as a result of the election will be supported.

This is a great model for other schools and districts to reassure parents and children that they are safe at school after the hateful messages that became commonplace during the election.

Local law enforcement leaders could reassure the immigrant community that they do not enforce immigration law, that is the responsibility of the Federal government, not local police. They could pledge that they will continue patrolling and protecting immigrant members of the community equally from threats to their safety.

We would welcome similar assurances by civic and law enforcement leaders regarding protection of Muslims who were the targets of suggestions to register them all, keep them out of the US, and put extra patrols in the neighborhoods where they live. We remember that dark time when, only because of their Japanese heritage, Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced into Internment Camps.

We thank that school principal, and others, who have shown us a better way.

Such assurances can allay some of the legitimate fear and anxiety many are feeling.

When we listen to the “better angels of our nature” we will hear that many people who are our neighbors are frightened. Local leaders have the power to address this in a caring and reassuring way. We must remember, as President Kennedy wrote, we are “A Nation of Immigrants.”

Lynn Daucher, Former Assemblymember

Bev Perry, Former Brea Mayor

Claire Schlotterbeck, Direct Descendant of one of America’s First (immigrant) Families at Jamestown, Virginia

Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director, OC Human Relations

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • Rose Tingle

    Change begins with each one of us.

  • Fullerton Rag

    Nice thoughts, but good luck with “non-partisan” local elections when the candidates are endorsed by political parties and clearly promoted as members of those parties.

    Possibly worse, no amount of community togetherness trumps an elected official acting in accord with the priorities of a private lobbying firm and its interests instead of behalf of constituents.

    Did any of the authors of this article vote for Donald Trump, an ignorant pig of a human being, who is obviously unfit and unable to govern our country? Just try reasoning with anyone who did, and then see how far your friendship goes.

  • LFOldTimer

    I truly yearn for an honest conversation on ILLEGAL immigration with the likes of those with opinions and attitudes such as those who authored the content of this blog.

    There is so much distortion and omission of relevant information here I really don’t know where to start.

    The Lincoln quotes are nice but not relevant to what’s going on in 2016. Today Americans are reeling from is a lack of satisfaction and protection and representation from the political hacks in DC who placed their interests above the interests of the common citizen. This is why Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” packed such a powerful punch and delivered a decisive victory by a whopping 36 electoral votes. The people had enough of business (politics) as usual and took it to the polls. That’s democracy in action. And please, don’t invoke the popular vote. The nation has used the electoral vote to determine who lives in the White House from the formation of the union and for GOOD reason. So let’s discuss what IS rather than what WOULD have been IF…. Productive discussions require ground rules.

    “In the heart of things we are all neighbors.”

    Yes, I guess you could make that sweeping generality. It sounds nice. But I don’t allow my neighbor to enter my residence at will and enjoy whatever resources I have to his liking. In fact, I don’t know anybody who allows that. We humans aren’t hard-wired in that way. Even when friends and relatives visit it’s nice to share the fruits of our labor with them – but at the end of the evening when the sand man cometh it’s awfully nice to see them walk out the door too. Imagine if they showed up and never left – then asked you to pay for their education and medical care and let them have your job? What would you tell them?

    People have to understand that nations have borders for a reason. This is not indigenous to the United States or even to the human species. All nations have borders – just like bees live in separate hives and bears lives separate caves. This is basic Biology 101. The DNA variation between a human being and a bear is small. They’re our neighbors too. Would you allow one into your home?

    All nations have immigration laws too. Yes, human governments just do! If you don’t like the US immigration laws and want open borders then go change the darn laws! In the meantime, obey the ones we have. They were enacted for good reason. Every nation I’ve entered (and I’ve been in a lot of them) have required me to show my identity and authorization to enter their land. And if I ever decided to overstay my welcome and use their resources on somebody else’s dime or illegally take one of their jobs their government would give me free temporary housing in a place with iron barred windows and following my stay provide me with a one-way ticket back to where I came from. That’s just reality.

    “Local law enforcement leaders could reassure the immigrant community that they do not enforce immigration law, that is the responsibility of the Federal government, not local police”

    These comments, particularly from people who hold or have held high government offices and were sworn under oath to uphold the laws and defend the US Constitution, really sticks in my craw. Seriously. Local law enforcement is OBLIGATED to cooperate with Federal authorities in the enforcement of Federal laws. At least in a civilized society. How would you like it if someone who violated California State laws was captured coming across the border and Federal immigration officials refused to cooperate with state authorities and cut him loose? That wouldn’t be fair, would it? Do you oppose local cops responding to a bank robbery, which is considered a Federal crime and usually prosecuted as such? Do you oppose local cops from assisting the Feds on international money laundering investigations? What about kidnappings that cross state lines? Do you promote telling the Feds to pound sand? So this contrived agenda to refuse to cooperate on criminal immigration investigations is both irrational and unamerican. And if you claim to be a patriotic law abiding American citizen and promote such nonsense you need to have a ‘come to jesus’ discussion with the mirror.

    With regard to Muslims – Trump simply wants a better vetting system so we know who’s coming into our country. The system we have now is BROKEN! And who in their right mind would question that after San Bernardino, Orlando and now Ohio State University, etc, etc, etc…?

    This is not 1855 and Abraham Lincoln is long gone. We are living is a COMPLETELY different nation today. You’d have to be a couple egg rolls and a won ton soup short of a full Chinese platter to believe that we’re the same nation. We’re not. Populations have exploded, standard of living is on the decline and it’s more important then ever to protect our borders and our citizens who live within those borders – just like every other nation on the earth does.

    I am not saying to halt immigration. That would be incredibly stupid. I am saying to restore ORDERLY and CIVILIZED immigration. And millions of others believe the same way I do – which is one big reason the majority of voters in 30 states voted for Trump.

    So please, let’s have an honest and open conversation on this important domestic issue and even if we can’t agree on what direction we want to take as a nation – at least let’s agree on the facts as they stand today as opposed to filtering the facts or obscuring them with distortion and misinformation.

    Oh, and don’t take another person’s opinion personally. Be objective.