Mrs. Yee hands me a cherry sucker and unwraps a grape one for herself.
“Maybe, maybe not,” she says. “In either case, we should not panic.”
from Peanut’s Emergency
written by Cristina Salat
illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Whispering Coyote/Charlesbridge, 2002
I’m not too good in real emergencies. I tend toward panic and forget which reasonable actions I need to take. Fortunately for me and those around me, I haven’t been close to many true emergencies.
When we three kids were all really little, my dad had a heart attack. My level-headed mom called for an ambulance and traveled to the hospital with him. We stayed home with Gram.
When my brother was young, some baddy not-friend knocked him off his bike. My brother’s leg broke and mended in a cast for a long time. Maybe six weeks, but maybe longer. I didn’t find out until I got home from school, in time to sign my name on it.
One time when I was babysitting, Mikey, my young charge, hid in the bushes in front of his house. I couldn’t find him. I called Mom. She called some other neighbors. Everyone called and called him, but Mikey was nowhere. And then, there he was. Maybe he just got tired of hiding.
That was an emergency. A child lost. Separated from his parents (and babysitter) and neighbors. But he knew where he was. He knew the language. He didn’t have to talk to strangers. There were no strangers. He was safe.
So what is a real emergency?
When the first shot rang out over Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War, that was an emergency.
When Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy, that was an emergency.
Stranded people waiting for rescue in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, that was an emergency.
According to U S News and World Report, “a national emergency is a national crisis or a situation where circumstances threaten the country and call for an immediate response.” https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-01-08/what-is-a-national-emergency-and-when-can-a-president-legally-declare-one The article continues: “What actually constitutes an emergency, though, is up for debate and requires the president to use existing law to justify a declaration.”
According to nbcnews.com, “Section 2808 of the Title 10 U. S. Code says if the president declares a national emergency ‘that requires use of the armed forces,’ the defense secretary ‘may undertake military construction projects ... not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.’” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/what-national-emergency-n957711
Now the question is, are we experiencing a real national emergency? The president himself said he didn’t need to take this action. He just wants what he wants when he wants it: now. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-says-didnt-need-declare-national-emergency-border-wall-2019-2 (Scroll down past the bullet points.)
Crime hasn’t spiked. Drugs are not overflowing our southern border. Families are awaiting asylum.
Because the Department of Homeland Security does not communicate with the Department of Health and Human Services, thousands of children are still unaccounted for.
That is not a national emergency. It is a moral crisis. A tragic reality of rash decisions based on fear and fear-mongering.
We Americans don’t need more Wall. We need a bridge, a bridge of understanding and compassion. No amount of money can provide funds enough to build that.
-—stay curious! (and informed)
I am reading The Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine Books, 2016). It’s the intertwining story of three young women: a concentration camp survivor, a female German doctor, and an American socialite, caught up in the Nazi regime. It takes place in New York City and Lublin, Poland. It’s historical fiction that includes graphic descriptions of victimization, strength that comes from family, and New York social life, all wrapped within the altruistic nature of human beings. Well-researched and well-written. Recommend.