- - Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Desperation manifests itself in many forms. This week, an event occurred on America’s southern border that tragically demonstrated the lengths a desperate caregiver would undertake. A family with both a woman and a child in wheelchairs tried to cross the Rio Grande. 

More than 65 million Americans currently serve as family caregivers, and most can understand the strain caregiving causes — while in the most prosperous country in history. Imagine doing so in developing countries where medical care remains as limited as accessible parking spaces and sidewalk cutouts.

While details of the family’s story are still forthcoming, it can be sure that misery played a key part in their tale. So much so that crossing a river during winter with two people in wheelchairs seemed like a good idea to them. Their hope was arriving in a place where, from their perspective, health care seems abundant. Despite the best efforts of the Biden administration to present this country as divisive and racist, they felt America represented hope — enough to make them attempt a dangerous journey and break laws with two impaired individuals.

Until America changes course, more will follow — as will increased suffering.

Although America cannot treat the entire world, we can provide leadership by pointing desperate people to a safer path. With a secure border, people know where the safest and appropriate entry points lie — and fewer will attempt unsafe methods. A secure border dispels the false hope that sneaking into America serves as a viable path for hurting families. Sending mixed signals due to politics demonstrates cruelty.

Yet mixed signals seem regularly broadcast from the Biden administration, Congress and the media. When politicians and media fail to acknowledge the obvious, one is left to believe they are intentionally deceiving or incompetent. Neither choice represents a positive direction for America.

Each day the southern border remains unsecured, the Biden administration loses credibility in its efforts to combat the virus, drugs, human trafficking and other nation crippling events. After the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, how much more credibility can the White House — or the country — afford to lose. 

Former President Jimmy Carter weaponized economist Arthur Okun’s “Misery Index” against former President Gerald Ford when running for president. In just a few short years, Mr. Carter’s political weapon labeled his own presidency — and has continued to do so for more than 40 years. While words like “Misery Index” and “malaise” define the Carter administration, the Biden administration may soon find itself labeled with the “Misleading Index.”

Numerous rants, including his recent speech in Georgia, sounded more like a disgruntled spouse in divorce court than a leader who unites. With recent actions from the Supreme Court, more “Pinocchio”s from The Washington Post, and other recent missteps, the question of intentional versus incompetence remains.

We can help families like those who recently pushed wheelchairs to sneak into this country. Doing so, however, requires clarity, consistency and a healthy nation. Those things allow us to lead other countries in treating their own — so they no longer feel desperate to attempt the dangerous trek to ours. 

The Biden administration tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with the southern border. She, in turn, targeted the “root causes.” Yet, root causes remain conspicuously absent from the headlines. 

The root cause of a family pushing wheelchairs across a river during winter is not complicated and does not require the detective skills of a vice president. The place they left is either unable or unwilling to help them. If unable, let’s teach them. If unwilling, let’s persuade them.

How many more wheelchair-bound children must be put in jeopardy before America takes action?

• Peter Rosenberger hosts the nationally syndicated radio program Hope for the Caregiver. www.hopeforthecaregiver.com 

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