Friday, February 24, 2017

When America is Not So Great

photo by Thomas Cizauskas / flickr

I heard an NPR program the other day interviewing Japanese adults that were little children when they were incarcerated in World War II. They told about how scared they were. They told about how it felt to leave their homes, their schools--many of their friends. It was one of several dark pages in our history. Looks to me like we have opened yet another dark chapter in 2017. History will not speak well of us nor will those deported and uprooted. Years from now their children will remember that for them the Statue of Liberty is a hoax--at best.

So--with Mr. Trump's new orders to deport illegal immigrants--we are a long way from the dreams of what America looks like for the deported and much of the world. President Obama shares part of this shame when he deported thousands. Mr. Trump simply continues and extends this practice. 

Under the banner of Homeland Security it is said that we must protect ourselves from the outsiders. Funny--we have had more violent attacks from citizens of our own country than we have any others. Of course--that does not include September 11th. To President Bush's credit he reminded us that we could not paint the people of the Muslim faith as our enemies. That seems like a long time ago. The Southern Poverty Law Center continually tells us that hate crimes directed to all sorts of outsiders has jumped astronomically just in the last few years. The new President has fanned of fear continually. Fear does not make for a good faith or for a good country. We see things through a glass darkly.

So--as we load up supposedly the criminal element--the rapists and murderers and send them back from where they came from--we are tearing up the lives of thousands of innocent people. They simply came here to be safe, to find a place where their dreams might come true, and the possibilities for the future would stretch out endlessly. 

What many of these decent people have found has been a nightmare. I keep saying it but nobody who has committed no crime should not feel safe in this country. And every night many Hispanics and Muslim brothers and sisters are scared as they live under our stars and stripes.

I have been thinking about those that we deport. One day they are working on a job--and the next day on a bus heading back to the places they fled. 

What do they leave behind? 
Old cars they were so proud of. 
A TV they bought at the Goodwill. 
Toys for the children. 
A refrigerator that held food for the family. 
Closets with shirts and pants and underwear and shoes and socks. 
A four room apartment bigger than anything they had ever lived in. 
They leave behind a safety they thought they had found to return to many places of violence and poverty. 
Many of them have little money in their pockets. 
They did not even get their last playcheck.

We--the American people--have dropped them off on the other side of the border. Many of them carry nothing beyond the clothes they are wearing. They have no laces on their shoes and no belts on their pants, because of fears those can be used to commit suicide.
Deplortees must figure out how to reunite with relatives--some many hundreds of miles away. Many are simply dropped off in Mexico which is not even the country of their origins. 

I remember Carlyle Marney once saying that he had not asked God to fix the race problem  in this country for twenty years. He said why would you ask God to fix a problem when God had an absolute majority of churches dotted almost on every corner. Should we ask God to fix this unjust problem of human cruelty and misery?Across this land the Almighty has an absolute majority of Christians. We will be judged by our silence and our ineptitude.
And the message we seek to proclaim will be watered down and ignored as the hypocrisy that it truly will be.

--Roger Lovette /

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