Puzzled by comments about 'other people's babies'

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Dear Rep. Steve King,

This letter is written in response to your recent statement that, “We can’t restore our civilization with other peoples’ babies”. I can fully understand a desire to improve the nature of our civilization; it’s the part about babies that has me puzzled.

Are you referring to the babies of people born in another country, or babies born of people from a different religious background, or merely babies that have a different skin tone or perhaps specific facial characteristics? I’m having difficulty figuring out how we sort babies.

I am a veteran of the Navy and had the privilege of serving with a very elite group of men. I am now going to quickly list a few of those men and their backgrounds. Petty Officer Faildo is a native of Hawaii and as a child his parents had almost zero input into the governing of that American territory. Petty Officer Caro was born in the Philippines and as a young child had to witness the murder of both his parents by Japanese soldiers. They were suspected of aiding the Americans. Petty Officer Van Ling was born in Indonesia, having a native of that country for a mother and a Dutch Army officer for a father. The struggle for independence in that country destroyed his family and he was, subsequently, adopted by an American family. Petty Officer Rose was the son of Jewish parents who fled Germany for the U.S. to escape the horrors that were overrunning their community. Petty Officer Poras was the son of itinerant Mexican farmworkers in southern California. Chief Petty Officer Mizel was born of black parents sharecrop farming in Alabama. They were not allowed to vote in those days and were horribly discriminated against. When Chief Mizel joined the Navy it was segregated and the only jobs available to him were as a cook or as a steward whose job was to look after the personal needs of officers. When President Truman integrated the military, Mizel transferred into an engineering field and became the best boss and leader that I have ever had. I want to point out each man volunteered for the duty we participated in. We all received the Vietnam Service Medal, most of us for multiple tours, and were also the recipients of many other medals and certificates of recognition for our activities. We were a highly-bonded unit with absolute faith in the loyalty and ability of each individual. We had to be, because our lives literally depended on it. Now, Rep. King, I wonder which of these men would have babies or grandchildren that wouldn’t be worthy of contributing to our civilization.

My adopted son was born to Native American Indians living on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. His ancestors were dispossessed, murdered, and herded into reservations where they were subjected to intentional cultural obliteration. My son was elected class president in his senior year of high school in Logan, Iowa. He joined the Navy and did several tours of duty in the Persian Gulf. His wife was born in Iran. She, her sister and her parents had to flee for their lives during the Iranian revolution. They spent several years in Germany before immigrating to the U.S. where they later attained citizenship. I now have a beautiful, little granddaughter. She is smart, joyful, curious of all things and brown as a berry. I wonder, Rep. King, is my granddaughter not appropriate to contribute to the betterment of our civilization?

During the Civil War in this country over 600,000 people died in an effort to establish a civilization where some people’s babies were not labeled as property and passed into lifelong bondage. Which side of this civilizational divide are you on, Rep. King?

During the Second World War, tens of thousands of Americans died to defeat a regime where millions of people were labeled at birth as unfit to have life itself. That regime was responsible for the death of 6 million Jews whose only crime was being born Jewish. Our country and our soldiers made amazing sacrifices to establish a civilizational imperative that these atrocities be quashed and understood to be outside the bounds of human behavior. Which side of that civilizational divide are you on, Rep. King?

Now it is obvious that not just thousands, or tens of thousands, but actually millions of Americans and people from all over the world made almost unimaginably brutal sacrifices to develop civilizational norms accepted across the globe.

Rep. King, I wonder what amazing sacrifices have you had to endure that would provide you with the illustrious stature to decide which peoples’ babies should be allowed to contribute to our civilization?

Finally, where have I heard the words “all people are born equal with certain inalienable rights”, or, from another source, “suffer the little children to come unto me”?

Rep. King; if you didn’t mean what it sounds like you meant, please speak out clearly and let your constituents know how you really feel.

• David Bringman, of Woodbine, served in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer 1st Class (Submarine Service).

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