Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Where Compassion is Needed

I try to put myself in their shoes. It's not hard for me, it never has been. I have always been highly-sensitive to other people, empathically empathetic even. So when I put myself in their shoes I don't just logically dictate how my life-as-I-know-it would change. I create a reality where that *is* my life and I sense-it-as-true intensely.

So I wonder how my world would have changed if, when I went to my mom to ask for my birth certificate and social security card so that I could get my driver's license and/or my first job, she had to reveal a dark secret to me... that I was not born in America. That we were illegal.

I think about what constitutes my childhood near the Great Lakes-- the playground of my elementary school, McDonald's happy meals, craft fairs down Main Street in the summer, playing hide and seek in m neighborhood, babysitting, reading, the library that was my second home, dancing, theatre, applying for colleges, filling out my first round of taxes, etc.

And what if my government told me that I wasn't welcome here? That I had months to settle my affairs before they shipped me back to, for instance, Poland (a country of my ancestry). A country I had never been to. A country I couldn't point to on a map with a hundred percent confidence. A country whose language was completely foreign to me. A country that housed none of my family. What if my government suddenly told me that was my real home?

What if, instead of college, deportation was my future?

What would be crueler? Charging me $500 every two years until I could arrange my naturalization? Or deporting me to a country that is not and has never been my home?

We often let bureaucracy get in the way of taking care of humans. But the institutions we put in place were always meant to be in service to people. And somewhere along the way we lost those pieces. The way back to them involves compassion and kindness. Empathy and love.

Our Dreamers are not terrorists. Their classmates had no idea they were here illegally. They were people with faces and names and hopes for how to help make this country a better world. They were raised to believe they were citizens until they found out they weren't.

I know about living a life in secret. I know about pretending to not be gay. I had a job for two years where I had to make up a whole alternate life where I wasn't in a serious monogamous relationship with a woman. No one should have to live like that. There has to be a better answer for them than deportation.

They did not make the choice to come here.

All of my ancestors came here at some point from another country. That is true for most of us. So I cannot, in good conscience, support the decision to deport people who are culturally as American as I am. Besides, I do not consider myself American first. I am human first. We are all human beneath the color of our skin and the country of our birth. Sometimes that has to matter more.

This video, titled Illegal, is moving and gives a humanitarian perspective on this topic.

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