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Friday, November 27, 2015

Are we not hearing their cries?


Between moments of silent grins at the great good fortune now existent in my own life, I've been painfully aware of the awful state of the world, and the catastrophic happenings beyond our borders.  I'm also aware of how much we've forgotten of the era that my generation experienced--that of WWII.  The devastating mistake of not only ignoring the plight of Jews trying desperately to escape the holocaust taking place in death camps in Europe, but also the unjustified imprisonment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in our country at that time -- a mistake we would later admit and atone for as a nation.

Some of us have completely forgotten the courageous fighting men of the racially segregated all Japanese 442nd Combat Unit who -- while their friends and families were imprisoned behind barbed wire in our country -- became the most highly-decorated unit of all for their valor on the battlefields of Italy.  The others, Americans of Japanese descent, who worked diligently in secret throughout the war in Building 9 at the Presidio in San Francisco translating and giving guidance to our War Department in preparation for the invasion of Japan.  We've forgotten all that; heroes all.

Nor do many of our leaders appear to know that much of the information now being gained -- providing what defense there is against the terrorists -- is coming from refugees who are now streaming out of the wartorn middle east in waves of unmitigated misery -- refugees who are either already settled in their new countries, or, are awaiting asylum in camps inadequate to their needs.  It is Syrians and other middle eastern victims suffering under the unspeakable brutality of ISIS who are most in jeopardy and pleading for our help.

Fate is giving us another chance to get it right.

How on earth do we not hear those cries?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thoughts while watching media coverage of candidates aspiring to lead us ... .

... and noticing a simple thing that has failed to catch my attention until now, but could be of vital importance. 

Listening to the stump speeches of some of the most bellicose -- now being honed into whatever goes as politically expedient and poll-worthy.

Found myself wondering just how inclusive is their use of the word,"we."  Tiny word, but one with hidden powers beneath its simplicity.

Do you suppose, when that little word is a part of a sentence about our need to protect the people of our country from the scourge of brutal terrorism -- that the man who operates the Taco Truck that delivers lunch to factories and office complexes; the black handyman who cleans the gutters and stops the leaks and his wife who runs the beauty shop; the cleaning woman who can only come to work on Tuesdays because her other jobs take up all the other days; the newly-arrived middle-eastern family who haven't yet mastered enough of our language to stray more than a few blocks from home; their young daughter whose head scarf may still set her apart from her peers and is beginning to weigh heavily;  and those young people living in fear of deportation because -- though they were born and brought up in this country, cannot gain citizenship because their parents are undocumented?  Are all included in the WE?

If those who aspire to lead us were forced to study and explain their "we," and if they, themselves, understood the depth of meaning in its use -- do you suppose they could continue to defend current regression into a kind of isolationism that is indefensible within the context of our founding documents?  That they could -- in good conscience -- be shouting over the voices of the reasonable about closing the borders against those seeking asylum from the unspeakable brutality taking over their homelands?

American lives of every racial group, economic status, culture, and religious affiliation, have been sacrificed to gain and defend our freedoms in decades of endless wars.  All that cannot be waived so that only those who make up the top 1%, or whose skin tones fall in the white/ivory/peach part of the spectrum, would fall under Homeland Security protection.  "WE, the people" come in all flavors, but there's something that sounds hollow about that word as it slips out onto the air waves from the lips of some who would hope to lead us into an increasingly dangerous and separatist future.

... and why does the phrase American exceptionalism make...  my... skin... crawl?





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