The Least I Can Say

I could say so many things about politics in general and the American election coming up specifically. But for today, for now, just this. 

If there are immigrants, of ANY kind, living in your community, your duty as an American (or any other nationality, really) is to do NOTHING except show them kindness. You can extend that to whatever lengths you want, because kindness can mean so many things. But if you can’t muster even that, please examine yourself with honesty.
 
There are thousands of reasons why people find themselves living as an immigrant in a new place. There are endless challenges for them when they do so. It is not your job to police their behavior or their progress, it is not your job to decide if they fit in the way you want them to. It is not their job to make you feel ok about what kind of immigrant they are, that’s up to you to sort out.
 
If you find yourself saying the hateful ‘You’re in America, be like us’ you are undoubtedly both unaware of your privilege and willful in your ignorance of what it really means to be ‘American.’
 
If you find yourself saying, ‘No Lane, I like the GOOD kind of immigrants.’ you undoubtedly mean the kind that are white/educated/affluent and/or ‘most like me’ and you are missing the entire point of almost everything.
 
If you think you could even understand the breadth and depth of difficulties people may face adapting to culture, language and navigating an unfamiliar bureaucracy, you clearly have either never lived abroad and understood those challenges or have no capacity for compassion.
 
This didn’t start with Trump, but the rise of his campaign has clearly opened a door for people to voice their views and show their true selves, particularly on issues of immigration/race, in a way that they may not have felt comfortable doing before. And while he is running as a Republican, be sure that I have no illusions that the xenophobia and racism he exhorts is limited to one party or another. This is a problem, to some degree or another, in us all and for us all to confront head on.
 
Be better than this. Question your own fears and confusion. Put kindness before all other behavior. Put thought into actions.

2 thoughts on “The Least I Can Say

  1. Short and powerful Lane, can I link it as a ready made response for my Facebook feed :)?
    For some time, but especially in the past year this issue has questioned my faith in people to a painful extent. I have started adopting Mark’s strategy of as soon as the issue comes up in small talk anywhere, I go first and make my stance clear. I am well aware that it mostly shuts people up and doesn’t solve anything but sometimes I can just not hear it anymore.

    On the bright side, I have also seen how many people have so much kindness and empathy in them and how much good they can do. So my short term strategy has been to mingle with these people as much as I can, and read the online news comments as little as I can. And listen to John Lennon when all else fails. And my long term strategy is to teach my children, I guess this is the most important thing we can do.

    Sorry my comment is almost as long as your post :), as you can see this issue is close to my heart. I hope we get to pour our hearts out over this (and many other) issues with a glass of red sometime in the future! xxx

  2. Feel free to cut and paste any parts that you need! 🙂 I’m at your service! This issue is close to my heart, too..and so are you! I’m so grateful for your comment. I can totally understand Mark’s strategy…and I think I adopt that when I’m in certain moods, but other times I’m ready to let people run their mouth’s first so I can pick it apart 🙂

    I’m with you though, the only solace I have is that I can show my children a path with more openness and love. And teach them to slap with words instead of hands? Haha maybe there is no hope!

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