Six Degrees at the Border

Remember the internet sensation of the 1990’s Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? This was a silly game connecting Kevin Bacon to any other actor. It’s based on the notion that all of us are connected to each other by no more than six degrees of separation. Creation is a whole and we are merely parts of it.

So I started playing the game as I visited the Border Patrol facility Monday along with the Repairers of the Breach. What is the nature of my connection to that particular issue?

I live in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. My representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) serves on the House Appropriations Committee along with Washington Representative Dan Newhouse (R). Newhouse serves on the Homeland Security subcommittee. The Homeland Security subcommittee oversees funds for the Department of Homeland Security which includes both ICE and Border Patrol. Certainly, these two Representatives are troubled by the reports of treatment in detention centers like El Paso.

The mapping of one’s connections to the crises on the border does two things: it draws one closer to the matter and therefore more powerful. It also reveals the pressure points in the system that has allowed this crisis to take place. The complexity of our society seems designed to discourage activism. But really, with a little courage and ingenuity, we can see that many of us can actually do something. What then is to stop us?

As Border Patrol has complained of being overwhelmed and under-resourced, it is time that the informed citizen exert pressure on the system. Has Congressman Newhouse heard the pressure from his constituents? Does our delegation know that they can demand changes to go along with the funds that are being requested? Are they willing to withhold funds until the racist Border Patrol Facebook group is resolved?

Appropriations is important. It is the money that greases the wheels of the system. The responsible citizen must utilize the connections to demand the changes that our ethics require.

Other writings from Moral Monday at the Borderlands

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