Land of the Free/Pot Pourri

My anger knows no bounds at the moment, and my tears are damming up

Immigrant children separated from their families by todays politics

behind my eyelids. A news video was released with the sounds of two women crying and pleading to stay in this country so they could be with their children. They had fled certain death, walked a thousand miles with their babies, in order to find a future for them. The judge dispassionately sentenced them to deportation, and they have no idea where their children are. What kind of a country have we become?

I grew up in a country I loved. The U.S. was never perfect, and  our history includes many egregious actions, but we were trying to do better. We acknowledged mistakes made along the way, some of the most recent being Japanese American internment,

Japanese American boys interned during WWII

and the acceptance of segregation with all its inequalities (and downright cruelty). We were past that and moving toward a better world…or were we?

I look back at yesterday and see young women self aborting with coat hangers, ending up dead, and I wonder if that is part of our future. I look at today with Pandora’s box of hate and violence against “the other”, asylum seekers being torn from their children, veterans being deported, and wonder where the viciousness had been hiding. I look at the future and see California once again covered by the darkness of smog, and children dealing with asthma all their lives, as the present administration works toward taking away the states waiver on auto emissions. I realize those items in a sense are unrelated and it may be puzzling to find a connection, but it all has to do with the health of a nation, a people, and perhaps the health of our  planet.

I can understand the unease with which some have viewed the many changes in our social structure, business models and diversity of life styles.  Change is always challenging to minds that have been travelling down one path and now see a side path they did not anticipate, but change is inevitable and the question is, how do you deal with it? By harassing someone who is different? Does it change your family because that “other” exists? Then why be upset? You may think abortion is murder, but what about the young woman with a baby in hand, told that this new pregnancy will kill her?  Would that fetus be a murderer? And yes, diversity of life style can be frustrating. I recall decades ago, when some immigrants captured ducks in a nearby park for dinner and the uproar that ensued.  I am sure they had to be lectured on our laws and told our parks are sacrosanct. But that did not make them evil, merely ignorant of our laws and norms.

So change is challenging, diversity is hard to accept. I am not, nor ever could be, homosexual. However, some of the nicest people I knew during my graduate years were. It should not, and does not, bother me who someone chooses to love. If the Christian community feels it is a sin, fine, let the sinner suffer in the great beyond, it is not our place to determine their life choices. If a Muslim lady chooses to wear a head scarf how does that make a difference in  your life? I may think it is silly but, hopefully, in this country, people can still choose their clothing, religion (or lack thereof), and most other issues/choices in their private lives. If a young woman with a baby at her breast risks everything to remove the two of them from a highly dangerous situation to come towards the beacon of hope, is it humane to steal the child, deport the mother, and send a two year old to face a judge who will question that baby about its claim of asylum? It would make a cartoon if not absolutely true.

What happened to conversation, and since when has compromise become a dirty word? People can live together and come to agreements where no one gets everything and everyone gets something, but it seems we have become so greedy in every way that everyone must agree with “me”, and even if they do not agree they must live the way “I” dictate.  This emphasis on “my way or the highway” has also opened the door for the haters within this country to move against those they despise. It can be color, religion, gender, or all of the above. Those who are different, those who choose other roads must be scorned, humiliated, punished, disappeared.

I know, somewhere in my long life, at some time, I must have done mild injury to some person or persons. We all have if we are honest, because words hurt and we all misuse a word at times or say something we regret (or should regret). But the one thing I have tried to do with my existence on this planet is be kind, and helpful when possible, and to avoid hurting any sentient being that I encounter. The voices of those asylum seeking women will haunt me from now on, my inability to help them, my knowledge that it is my country that has taken this atrocious action, and that it is because of a president who won an electoral college that failed to look at its origins and purpose…like, not meant to be a rubber stamp.

I know this has been a wide ranging rant, but it is truly tied together by one thing: are we a humane country, with reasonable citizens who can disagree reasonably, or are we a country that wants to burrow into its cave while attempting to bully the world and forcing all its inhabitants to walk in goose step with each other? Please whatever Gods there might be, give us back our flawed, but loving country, trying hard to better ourselves and achieve a decent life for everyone. I will not abandon hope…not yet, at least!





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