Last month in a visit to California, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto boldly referred to the United States as “the other Mexico,” as both he and Gov. Jerry Brown of California discussed immigration—specifically, amnesty—in light of the growing number of illegal crossings into the country.
Notwithstanding the belief that many Mexicans (including, apparently, President Peña Nieto) hold that much of the southwest is technically still “Mexico,” there’s an important point to be gleaned here:
President Enrique Peña Nieto doesn’t think much of laws.
Specifically, the one that says you can’t cross a border illegally into the U.S.
What about when the shoe is on the other foot?
Yesterday marked 13 years since the worst attack on American soil in the history of our nation. It was a day that forever changed the lives of every single American, including a young man named Andrew Tahmooressi, who—after answering the call of duty in the resulting War on Terror—returned back home with the horrors of battle imprinted on his mind.
Like so many of his fellow veterans, Tahmooressi suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and it was this very condition that led him to seek treatment at a San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs.
[sharequote align="center"]He answered the call not once, but twice to fight for us. Don’t give up fighting for him.[/sharequote]
Instead of the help he sought, Tahmooressi was met with yet another battle when he unknowingly took a wrong turn into Mexico with three (albeit legal) guns in his car; consequently breaking Mexican law.
Despite his solidarity with the intentional border crossers of a northward persuasion, President Peña Nieto has been remarkably silent on the border crossing woes of our young Marine.
Instead, Tahmooressi’s case has dawdled along for 165 days now as he waits in a Mexican jail.
With so much competing for attention in today’s world, he could easily fade into obscurity—if not for a few news outlets (our own TheBlaze included), and the persistence of a few Americans who have dedicated their time every single week to ensuring that Tahmooressi is not forgotten.
I met some of those relentless Americans this week when I made my way to the heart of St. Paul, Minnesota where a rally is held every Thursday—peacefully, calmly—in front of the Mexican consulate.
Concerned citizens spend every Thursday outside the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota to remind people that Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is still imprisoned in Mexico. Courtesy of Author.
Some display signs with the number of days Tahmooressi has been held in prison. Others, like Navy veteran Jim Brunsgaard, held a Navy Jack flag like the one flown on the ship where he served. Still others hold signs encouraging people to honk in agreement, and to my surprise (in the heart of very liberal St. Paul), my conversations with the small gathering were often drowned out by the sound of car horns.
“I’m retired Navy, and so Andrew is a brother to me,” said Brunsgaard, who shows up in his uniform every Thursday on the dot, “and it just breaks my heart.”
Tea Party leader Jack Rogers talked about the significance of the gathering, however small it may be. He told the story of a man and his son who—while walking along the beach—saw a person picking up the starfish that had been washed ashore. He tossed each one back to safety in the ocean. The son lamented the efforts as being in vain, since there are thousands the man simply wouldn’t be able to save.
“‘But for the ones he does save,’ the father told his son, “it does make a difference.’”
For Rogers, the weekly gatherings in front of the consulate to bring attention to Tahmooressi’s plight are like that father and son on the beach—however small the effort, it matters to Tahmooressi.
For others, like Fort Snelling Chaplain Ken Beale, standing with those at the consulate is a matter of putting lip service into action.
“I would never want to see us as a household of faith just give lip service to remembering our veterans,” said Beale. “Let’s walk the line out here; marching up and down the sidewalk calling for the consulate and Mexico to know that we want our Marine released.”
Minnesota Tea Party Leader Jack Rogers spends every Thursday outside the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota to remind people that Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is still imprisoned in Mexico. Courtesy of Author.
Not all of the voices have fallen on deaf ears at the consulate. Indeed, Jack Rogers shared with me that he had the opportunity to speak with some who work in the consulate, and one in particular sympathized with the situation.
“He feels badly for our Marine,” Rogers said.
Other interactions haven’t been as positive, as Jim Brunsgaard can attest.
“One person with whom we’ve spoken didn’t seem to be fully aware of the situation, and when brought up to speed, he shrugged it off—pointing to the way we treat their citizens coming across the border,” said Brunsgaard. “He really didn’t seem to care.”
I approached the consulate for comment but was directed to make an appointment.
Nearly six months into his imprisonment, the road ahead of our Marine is long, and seems bleak—not unlike the seemingly futile efforts of the man saving the starfish, one by one. Thanks to the tireless efforts of individuals like yesterday’s rally goers, he’ll certainly not be soon forgotten.
So what can you do?
Write and call your Congressional representatives and hold them and the rest of our government to task. Attend a similar rally in front of consulates around the country. The group I spoke with yesterday even provides the address where letters of encouragement to Tahmooressi can be directed.
Keep on demanding that the very same considerations that the president and this administration afforded a known deserter be afforded to a known hero.
Perhaps most importantly, keep Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi in your daily thoughts and prayers.
He answered the call not once, but twice to fight for us. Don’t give up fighting for him—no matter how long it takes.
Mary Ramirez is a full time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com – a political commentary blog, and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: email@example.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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