Saturday, June 30, 2018

Doing the Wrong Thing Better

Doing the Wrong Thing Better

Nicholas Johnson

Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 30, 2018, p. 6

Many Americans are appalled by their government’s separating children from parents at our southern border, before even identifying those legally seeking asylum. Inadequate or nonexistent records of children’s names and location preclude future reunions.

Pediatricians and child psychologists say the trauma can create a lifetime of physical, emotional, and mental wounds. Iowa law forbids anyone to “confine an animal” causing “unjustified pain, distress, or suffering.” Why shouldn’t our species’ children get this protection? [Photo credit: Arizona Jewish Post.]

Religious leaders note the separations are immoral, and conflict with religions’ teachings. Lawyers argue violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our constitution and laws.

Even if the Trump administration finds this unpersuasive there are alternative approaches. Board governance guru John Carver disparages many board reforms as “just doing the wrong thing better.” A persistent Trump could at least do the wrong thing better. [Photo credit: Narya W. Marcille, CC BY 3.0 US.]

During a recent brief hospital visit a nurse attached a wristband with my name and birthdate.

My cat, Natalie, wears a collar with her name and my phone number.

Scientists can provide individual identification for every living thing from monarch butterflies to African elephants.

Nazis kept meticulous records of names of Jewish arrivals at Auschwitz.

Trump’s lack of record keeping when separating children from parents, reflecting his unique blend of malevolence with incompetence, can’t even meet the Nazi standard. He’s seemingly incapable of doing the wrong thing better.

— Nick Johnson, Iowa City

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