In anticipation of this month’s theme of “truth,” I have been recording statements from the media and from the Trump administration about the word. Rudolph
Guiliani, for example, flippantly dismissed a “fantasy world where everybody tells the truth.” Meanwhile, journalists such as Rachel Maddow and her colleagues have been working hard to reveal the veneer, the pure propaganda, of “making America great again,” which seems to hearken back to a time in our history when Americans were owned (owned! think about that…) or when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps, during World War II, or when “communists” were ferreted out and red-listed, or, or, or …
But the recent atrocities where children have been apprehended at the United States borders transcend the question of who is telling the truth. Cleary, our president is not, but the major truth is that children, regardless of ethnicity and nationality, are being taken away from the only families they know. It is a certainty reminiscent of the worst of America’s history, but, as is often the case, the best of America is found in the children, who are struggling to show their truths by crying out for their mothers and explaining as much as they can, who they are and who their families are. They are, perhaps unwittingly, revealing with their cries a bright, blinding truth about America and its history.
I am reminded of a favorite ”Emily Dickinson poem:
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
Wishing us all wisdom as we decipher the loud slanting truths coming at us from all sides. It is said that the arc of history bends (or slants, as it were) towards justice. Let us hope.
– Anna Lott, PhD
Anna grew up in Alabama, spending her entire childhood in the same house where her parents still live today. Anna is a retired Professor of English and Women’s Studies from the University of North Alabama, where she charmed her loyal and adoring students for almost twenty years until a bad MS exacerbation convinced her that she should start spending her days playing games on her iPad, reading and writing whatever and whenever she feels like it, and watching the birds feed outside her window.