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Stark contrast: 'Kids should not be used as leverage' | Mayor's Corner


Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling

This column was updated on Wednesday, June 20:

This past weekend, we in Edmonds had the perfect weekend.

The weather was perfect, and the sun and warm temperatures made the city come alive. Along with the weather, we mixed in the first Saturday Summer Market, sponsored by the Edmonds Museum, and an amazing Edmonds Arts Festival Friday through Sunday.

The mix of weather and special events brought the community out to celebrate. The restaurants were full, shops busy and people – young and old – were moving about with smiles galore.

My wife and I made it to the Arts Festival after 3 o'clock on Sunday thinking the crowd would lessen with the 6 o'clock closing ... nope! People out and enjoying the community is a positive, which indicates the upbeat personality of the community.

Talking to folks on Monday, the common theme seems to be Edmonds is an exciting, fun place to be over the weekend. There seems to be common agreement the Arts Festival crowd was record-setting, and that the festival is always looking for ways to change and grow.

I was in town Saturday for the first Saturday Market of the year, and it was packed! People were there for fun, to shop and see other friends. Yes, it was a perfect weekend ... life was good in Edmonds.

So where is the "stark contrast"?

For me the stark contrast is at the national level, and the amazing discord in Washington, D.C., which we continue to be asked to endure. As you know, I try to keep national politics out of our local government, but the entire immigration chaos gets me across the line.

Crossing the line for me is when the answer to a problem is to leverage the situation with the separation of families and the displacement of kids from their parents.

Yes, I know it's complicated.

Any large national issue is complicated. Children, however, should never be the pawn in any situation, and they are clearly the pawn in this case.

While the President responded Wednesday by issuing an order directing authorities to keep families together, he has directed that Congress debate this issue further. To me, there is no debate.

The government now faces the daunting task of matching children located anywhere from California to Florida with their parents, who we hope are still trackable, since some may have already been deported.

To have children separated from family is quite simply, wrong-headed in any circumstance. Kids should not be used as leverage no matter what your politics: Republican, Democrat, Independent or other.

While the President’s recent action may signal the beginning of a reversal, I can only hope that Congress will see clear to settling this particular issue in the most humane way once and for all, and not use children as continuing pawns in their wrangling over other immigration-related details.

In my comments at this year's Memorial Day ceremony, I mentioned the powerful book I am reading, "The Soul of America" by Jon Meacham.

Meacham convincingly argues that throughout United States history, while we've had wide swings on social and political issues that cause enormous strife, the American spirit, through its good judgment and belief of the wisdom of our founding fathers, always find its way back to the middle.

Meacham introduces his final chapter with a quote from Harry Truman: "The people have often made mistakes, but given time and the facts, they make the corrections."

Let's hope for the "middle" soon.


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