I rarely get involved in anything political. You’re hard-pressed to find me debating elections, promoting any political candidate or even paying the news a bit of mind.
Having prefaced this post with all that, this is going to get political. This post is going to enrage people. Some of whom are complete strangers and some of whom are near and dear friends of mine. This post is going to make people stop reading my blog. And…you know what? Good. If I’m eliciting responses so passionate, I’m barking up the right tree. And honestly if you feel so strongly that you want to unfriend/unfollow/unwhatever yours truly, please do so. Be advised that any comments not in good taste will not be allowed and deleted immediately.
And, beware reader: this will be no lukewarm attempt at rationalizing anything. If you know me at all, lukewarm is just something I don’t do. I was writing this post in my head on the way home, near tears.
I have some questions and I’m having a hard time understanding quite a lot, lately. It’s no newsflash as to what has been going on in France and the connection and loathsome response of Americans to Syrian refugees. If you’re not up to speed, please let me know under what rock you’re living so I can join you because to hell with all this.
Unless I’m mistaken, many people are vehemently against allowing any refugees into our country and several states are making a move to ban the allowing of refugees into specific states. So, my question is since when is this response of what I would call an irrational and misinformed fear more righteous than a response than that of bravery, honor and most of all love? Since when do you get to decide that your fear will directly impact another human’s life?
Do any of you think that our country would even be what it is now if it weren’t for this nation taking on souls flung from worlds we cannot understand…people who are just seeking a safe haven from persecution and death? Does anyone actually think we’d be better by not opening our doors and our hearts to another human in absolute and dire need? Really, tell me if you do…I cannot understand.
Unless I’m further mistaken, that stoic woman out on Ellis Island is supposed to be symbolic, a gift from a foreign nation no less, and a beacon of refuge. The very ideal you’re bragging being in opposition of all over social media.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For everyone saying that we need to help our own: you’re absolutely right. I implore you…what are you doing to help? You there on your tablet, downloading music wirelessly, hanging your Christmas lights and planning whether you’ll have cranberry sauce with or without stems this year. You…the one that drops change into the red bucket outside the department store (of which it’s likely the majority will not go to anyone in need). I’m looking at all you people who vacation and stand in front of a beautiful wonder in nations so foreign your world explodes and yet condemn its citizens when they knock at your door.
You think that by halting people in desperate need from coming to a nation noted for its opportunity that plentiful resources will suddenly spring up for American citizens in need? That have been in need for a very long time? That, from legislation out of nowhere our homeless, our veterans, our underpaid and overworked will all of the sudden be fixed? Because we’ve been on that road for all the years prior to this refugee situation, right? Those things do not equate, friend. There is no logic here…actually, it sounds like a cop out.
And who the hell are you to decide that the ideals from which the very fabric of our country was woven are exhausted? That they’re not applicable anymore? That when we opened our doors years ago things were different? When does a mass of people suddenly think they’re so righteous to decide who is allowed to be loved, when and how much? Shame on you. Shame on all of you.
Like it or not, these are absolutely your brothers and sisters. These are your family. These are your humans and you are theirs. We’re all in this shit-house of a mess together. Unless you can somehow make the argument that these refugees deserved this treatment…which, you can’t. Because I’m a sane fucking person (probably out for debate).
America is a melting pot of cultures, languages, ethnic groups…there is no establishment of what an “American” is. There was a time when we would allow people an opportunity to become a part of this awfully beautiful giant pot of people and we welcomed them. Their customs and traditions became some of our customs and traditions. Their family is your family. Those tired, poor huddled masses are my family.
Who the fuck are you to decide that ends here? That because you can jump on Facebook and nod your head in agreement to a post another person circulated and because this is your lifetime, a small and winking light in a massive, black starscape that is this crazy, shitty, awful world…so fleeting and insignificant in the greater scope of things…who are you to decide that this country and that wonderful, terrifying and beautiful woman on Ellis Island are turning their back on fellow human beings when they need us the most? Why do you get to make that call?
I am extremely proud to be an American. I’m a veteran’s wife, I’m an educated woman and maybe a bit of an idealist. Let’s face it, my success as a writer depends very much on me not being a realist. I have no answers to this country’s problems and I’m not suggesting that I know who does. But goddammit, I’m angry. I’m red in the face reading some of the absolutely disgusting and shameful drivel of people that I love…that I respect. I’m heartsick thinking about our quickness to condemn people who haven’t wronged us…because we’re fucking scared…of all things.
The last time I checked, and please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s highly unlikely that any of you have been adrift at sea, begging, dying, drowning to just see The Statue of Liberty’s face. We have not a shred of insight as to what it would be to stand weeping, understanding that your life is forever changed to be better…to be livable. To be survivable. To know that face is the most necessary thing to your right to life… We can’t understand that.
We see her back. We think that because we’re behind her…because we just were lucky enough to be born here or gained citizenship here that we have some sort of right to this soil…to keep it from a life tugged around in a rip current. We’re on the inside pushing outward. You all think it’s fine to stand by, chin stuck out, gaping at struggling souls, trapped in a world that they didn’t ask to be a part of.
How dare any of you think that our country is changing everything it’s been about in this moment because you’re deciding “we’re full” which is absolutely asinine. That we’ll become a nation unto ourselves, draw our shades and mind our own business? And, foolishly think that our retched citizens right here at home will all be remembered and saved if we deny an opportunity to other retched souls? That you’re so entitled? You don’t want to rub shoulders with someone who speaks a language other than your own? You don’t want to breathe the same air as someone who wears a burka or a turban? As someone who so desperately seeks to survive? Maybe even flourish? Because we’re too poor? Because we don’t have the resources?
You’re so convinced that our country will somehow get worse…that anyone who is different than you wants to kill you and rape your children. Congratulations. You’re lucky enough to be an American…lucky enough to have been birthed, smacked on the ass by a doctor til you screamed and gulped a breath of air, raised and bred here in this country…by no request or behest of your own. You’re lucky enough to have opinions to express even if they’re cold, cruel and un-American…because you’re entitled to that.
You’re also an asshole.