Yo-Yo Ma's concert at the border was a beautiful prayer amid an ugly conflict

Nelson Pressley April 15 at 2:36 PMFor a few moments on Saturday, cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought beauty to a fight that’s hitting ugly new lows, offering a free performance on the Texas-Mexico border.

The creative gesture was meant to promote fellowship as the Trump administration is considering unloading asylum seekers and would-be immigrants into American sanctuary cities.

“Democrats won’t work with us to fix the current laws,” White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said to NPR’s Michelle Martin as part of messaging about sending “the illegals,” as President Trump emphatically labeled them, into liberal strongholds.

Though music is typically less literally political than theater (which has a centuries-old tradition of frightening churches and governments into repression and censorship), the gut-deep sonorousness of Ma’s instrument suggests reflectiveness.

With the already crowded and hyped 2020 campaign season just beginning, doesn’t immigration reform seem destined to be the hottest of debate topics but the iciest of problems this government might actually try to solve?

What followed Ma’s remarks were lonely notes of grace, which probably bucked up listeners already craving what the cellist called an “empathetic” approach to immigration.

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