Ain’t it hard when you discovered that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.
-Bob Dylan…Like A Rolling Stone
The photograph of the crying migrant child from Honduras separated from her mother at the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Mexican border can only mean that the Trump Administration is either intentionally cruel, blind to what they themselves and all the world can see, or just purposely and cravenly manipulative of their voter base.
Either way, the now-gone-viral photo of that child taken by photographer John Moore (Getty Images) should, by all means, join the ranks of other famous and iconic photos that stand the test of time and change the course of history.
If, for no other reason, the photo of that terrified young girl is an image that has opened the eyes of the world to a crisis defining moment.
Joe Rosenthal’s captured image of six courageous marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima in the South Pacific was the most recognizable and significant photo of World War II.
Splashed across every Sunday newspaper in February 1945 it was used as a rallying cry to raise $26 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war. It was powerful, inspiring and the only photo awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the same year it was taken.
Then there was the famous photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the 9-year old Vietnamese child doused with napalm running naked down a bombed out road north of Saigon in 1972. Pulitzer Prize winner AP photographer Nick Ut captured it. That photo helped bring an end to the war.
And, there is the infamous photo image of “The Hooded Man” actually taken by one of the rogue guards at the Abu Graib prison in Iraq (2003). That, along with other depictions of naked detainees stacked in human pyramids helped bring a quick halt for America’s appetite for that war.
Another example: who can forget the photo of “Tank Man” captured in June 1989 by AP photographer Jeff Widener from the sixth floor balcony of Beijing Hotel overlooking China’s Tiananmen Square.
The still-to-this-day anonymity of that man facing down Chinese tanks made him a universal symbol of resistance for pro-democracy forces everywhere.
So, there is no denying the power of iconic images. They move people in ways far more persuasively than the spoken word; yet, there are those who remain blind to what they see.
The Honduran refugee child clinging to her equally terrified mother will, undoubtedly, become the symbol of the Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy for Immigration, as it should.
And, hopefully, every right minded suburban woman along with all those who vote in the upcoming mid-term elections this November will well remember that child as if she were their own.
What I never understood about Donald Trump is that while he was born to wealth and privilege and has so much more than imaginable he insists on denying those with so little. It’s simply not what America stands for, and never has been.
Trump, along with Stephen Miller, policy advisor for the White House, who also has the benefit of history and education, seem to believe that our differences are more important than our common humanity.
* * *
In 2007, former President Bill Clinton addressed the graduating class of Harvard University at their Class Day Commencement. It’s worth looking up.
He related a story of a visit he made to the central highlands of Africa where, while walking along the remote and dusty roads, he learned that a simple exchange of “hello, how are you” was met with this response: “I see you.”
To his delight, it wasn’t “I’m fine, thank you, or anything like that. It was simply and profoundly, “I see you.”
Photographers help us do that but more importantly so does a sense for the common good. No need to demonize those who are different, because our differences are far less important that our common humanity.