Respect for the Dead: Why We Should Keep Politics in its Place


Photo courtesy of AP Images

Tragedy can’t be claimed by everyone.

Joshua Perry, Co-editor-in-chief

Mollie Tibbetts isn’t a match to burn, America.

Tibbetts’ murder in Iowa clearly struck a chord across the nation, and while those sympathetic voices are no doubt appreciated, there’s something sad about a country that delivers its condolences and tributes to a 20-year-old dead woman with heavy political subtext. For once, we need to give our respect without inciting rage.

Tibbetts’ accused killer, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, is a suspected illegal immigrant from Mexico. No more, no less. He’s not “just another bad hombre.” He is not the ambassador for the entire undocumented population to America.

If we had strengthened our border security and amped-up the deportation of illegal immigrants, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided. Just like how if we strengthened gun control across the board, maybe the preposterous amount of mass-shootings in our country would decrease. Oh, those were lone-wolf incidents? Pardon me.

The truth of the matter is that there’s nothing to gain from further dispute. Discourse, America’s lifeblood is turning into vitriol. The illegal immigration debate is a big woodpile, and the blaze has been alive for years. So why use a girl’s death to fuel the flames?

Political gain, of course. The President has made his stance clear, and these circumstances provide the perfect opportunity to gain public support for his policy.

“We need new immigration laws, we need new border laws, the Democrats will never give them, and the wall is being built,” President Trump said in a video statement. “We’ve started it, but we also need the funding for this year’s building of the wall. So to the family of Mollie Tibbetts, all I can say is God bless you.”

This tragedy shouldn’t be a tool for the White House’s spin team to manipulate. Mollie isn’t a new martyr to further their cause—at least, that’s not what the Tibbetts family wants.

“You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man,” Sandi Tibbett’s Murphy, Mollie’s cousin, said in a Facebook post. “No. We reclaim our Mollie.”

When midterm elections come around this November, illegal immigrants will certainly enter the national spotlight again. Hopefully, in the words of Rob Tibbetts, Mollie’s father, America can “turn the page” and move on.

“We’re at the end of a long ordeal,” he told over a thousand members of his community during his daughter’s memorial service, according to The Des Moines Register. “But we need to turn toward life—Mollie’s life—because Mollie’s nobody’s victim. Mollie’s my hero.”