POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Photo of tragic drowning. Will it unite or divide?

Jun 26, 2019, 9:12 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2019, 6:47 am
migrant border refugee asylum gang DACA photo...
This July 26, 2018, file photo shows people lining up to cross into the United States to begin the process of applying for asylum near the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico. (Credit: Gregory Bull, AP)
(Credit: Gregory Bull, AP)

Disclaimer: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL or its ownership.

A horrific photo shows an El Salvadoran father and his 23-month-old daughter drowned on the banks of the Rio Grande as they tried desperately to cross into the United States.

It’s a photo that’s so troubling, we have put it at the end of this article. If you don’t want to see it, stop scrolling now.

Does the photo galvanize or weaponize a tragedy? If it moves us to act to solve this catastrophe at the border, then that’s a good use of a horrible situation.

But it if just weaponizes the political debate and exasperates the wedge issue, the endless fundraising on both sides of the aisle, then the debate doesn’t move forward on the issue of illegal immigration.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who is the Homeland Security chairman, got it right.

“I don’t want to see another picture like that on the US border,” he said. “I hope that picture alone will catalyze this Congress, this Senate, this committee, to do something.”

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not.

President Trump’s “actions at the border are a whirlwind of incompetence leading to pictures like this,” the New York Democrat said on the floor of the Senate. “So, President Trump, if you want to know the real reason there’s chaos at the border, look in the mirror. The president continues to blame Democrats, but the real problem is the president.”

That takes us nowhere. Schumer trying to blame Trump for the deaths of this father and his daughter is not how business gets done. That’s pointing fingers, shows a lack of leadership and doesn’t move the debate forward.

In turn, Trump said, “The asylum policy of the Democrats is responsible because they will not change the policy.”

Again, finger-pointing and a lack of leadership.

Instant certainty tells us exactly what we need to know about any issue in order to blame the other side. To use it as a cudgel to beat our political opponents over the head. This is the culture of contempt.

I am convinced that 94% of this could be solved in an afternoon. Compromise is in sight because both sides agree on what needs to be done. But there are far too many people in Washington who want this to be a wedge issue and use it to raise money for political campaigns, rather than build a bridge and solve the problem of illegal immigration and prevent the type of tragedies captured in a horrible picture of a father and daughter drowned in the Rio Grande.

That is everything that’s broken in D.C. We have to move beyond the weaponizing of important issues such as illegal immigration, and as citizens, expect more from lawmakers.

migrant photo immigration A father and daughter lie face down in murky waters littered with reeds and discarded beer bottles. Their heads are wrapped in a black T-shirt — her tiny right arm draped over his shoulders. Photo: Julia Le Duc/AP

Boyd Matheson is the opinion editor of the Deseret News.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office is being sued after what started with a Snapchat request in...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office being sued after former cadet reports abuse

A former Salt Lake County Sheriff deputy and academy instructor allegedly committed numerous sexual assaults against a former cadet.
23 hours ago
...
Jeff Zeleny, Eva McKend and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Georgia voters once again have the last word during election season

During a campaign rally for Warnock in Atlanta last week, former President Barack Obama stressed the immediate impact of Democrats potentially winning a 51st Senate seat.
23 hours ago
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries becomes the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party in the U.S. Congres...
Daniella Diaz

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to succeed Pelosi, the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress

At 52, Jeffries represents a generational change from the current House Democratic leaders, who are three decades older than him.
7 days ago
quilts...
Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

Senate passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in landmark vote

The bill does not set a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage. Instead, it requires states to recognize another state's legal marriage.
8 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
8 days ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Sydnee Gonzalez

Analysis shows ‘sizable’ gap in Salt Lake’s west side/east side voter turnout

Voters on Salt Lake City's west side turned out for the 2022 midterms at a much lower rate than their east-side counterparts.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Photo of tragic drowning. Will it unite or divide?