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Opinion

Critical thinking is not a vice or luxury

You may have heard about zero-tolerance policies lately. I think they still are more common in schools, where districts will implement the policy in case of fights or contraband.

For instance, the kid who gets hit receives the same punishment as the kid who threw the first punch.

I’m sure this makes handing out punishments and disciplining students easier for administrators, and it removes any chance of being accused of bias and favoritism.

But it’s also lazy and removes any element of critical thinking from the equation. Why investigate when you can issue a blanket punishment? Discipline administered, problem solved.

The trouble is that the world is rarely black and white.

People know this. You learn it the first time you get in trouble as a kid for something your brother did. It is not a series of equations that need to balance out at the end of the day.

The same goes with people who operate on a code. I always think of “A Few Good Men,” how the Marines on trial follow this code, still to find themselves dishonorably discharged at the end of the day. They found themselves in one of those gray areas of life, and their adherence to a code could do nothing to get them out.

It applies with our border policy right now. Zero tolerance means that the children and adults need to be separated while awaiting a judge. Yes, many of these people are breaking the law when they enter the country without permission. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone dispute that.

But young children were being separated from their parents by the hundreds, if not thousands, because of a zero-tolerance policy.

I know children can be persuasive with their cries and tantrums, especially in the candy aisle of the grocery store, but I find it very hard to believe that these children manipulated their parents into trekking thousands of miles through Mexico to find a better life in America.

Tough decisions have to be made in all positions, and a disproportionate number fall on those who govern.

It seems that, for years now, there are people that make cruel decisions under the guise of tough ones. This isn’t political, although I’m inclined to believe it’s generational.

I don’t remember where I read it once, but I once saw an idea that hell isn’t actually the series of ironic and poetic tortures of Dante, but rather simply being absent from God. For all eternity, you have to stand outside of paradise and stare inward from the darkness.

I don’t think children have a concept of God outside of a character in a series of stories, but you can be assured that they’re parents perfectly fit the bill. When our government’s policy takes those kids from their parents, as punishment for someone else’s decision, those kids are being cast into a hell.

Add in the fact that the detention centers – or concentration camps or whatever you call them – usually are old big box stores with chain-link fence partitions within, and the metaphorical hell now has become a lot more real.

I would prefer to ascribe the decisions that lead to this situation along our border to laziness, or ineptitude even.

It’s not as though the executive or legislative branch of our government traditionally attracts the varsity team. However, those that have cited the Bible as defense are probably the ones that think they’re just doing the tough work no one else will.

Maybe it is a tough decision. I know it would take more mental acuity than I possess to get to a place where I think separating children from their parents is not only just, but ordained by God.

I think they’re just lazy, though. Someone chants “America First” and suddenly everything becomes so simple. They aren’t Americans, so we don’t need to care about them.

We need to think more. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little extra time and working beyond a slogan or a sound bite.

Yeah, the parents did a bad thing, but this would be the only instance I can think of where a child would suffer, legally, for the crimes of the parent.

Unfortunately, a lot of the damage is already done.

While the system works through, kids will be separated for months and years.

The best we can do now is try to learn from it and hope it doesn’t happen again.

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