POLITICS

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

Jeff Gray is pictured. Photo credit: Jeff Gray Campaign Facebook page....
Lindsay Aerts and Samantha Herrera

Jeff Gray to bring back death penalty after becoming presumptive next Utah County Attorney

In the race for Utah County Attorney, prosecutor Jeff Gray beat incumbent David Leavitt and is expected to take office in January.
7 days ago
A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
9 days ago
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Ho...
Lindsay Aerts

State elections leaders dismiss state lawmakers claims of vote switching

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The State Elections Office says all of the state’s voting machines are working correctly ahead of Primary Election Day Tuesday. This comes after Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, made claims on social media, that some of the machines were changing people’s votes. Screenshot of Lyman’s social media post. Lyman posted on Facebook […]
9 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Waverly Golden

Planned Parenthood of Utah files lawsuit against the state

Utah's Trigger Law saw its first challenge on Saturday as Planned Parenthood of Utah filed a lawsuit to block the law that went into effect Friday evening.
10 days ago
marriage Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen firearm codify...
Mark Jones

With Roe v. Wade now overturned, could same-sex marriage be next?

Many people are wondering what precedents the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on next, possibly same-sex marriage. Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen says the court could do so it wishes.
12 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Mark Jones

S.B. 174 now in effect in Utah with Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Utah trigger law, known as S.B. 174 is now in effect in the state.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Photo of tragic drowning. Will it unite or divide?