The Border Challenge

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Here we are, at the border of the muggle world and the magical world in the Universal Studios theme park.  We had to cross many borders to get here.

We crossed the borders of several states, from Ohio to Florida.  We crossed the border between reality and fantasy.  We crossed the border from adult reasoning, to childhood suspension of disbelief.

We crossed these borders in the confidence that we would be welcome.  We anticipated safety and fun.

In a time not that long ago, we easily passed through the borders of our neighboring countries.  A driver’s license and the word of our parents was enough to get us into Canada or Mexico.  In fact it was more difficult to get into California where travelers were stopped at the border and questioned about produce they might be trying to bring into the state.  Sometimes, cars were searched.

Smugglers and criminals were the only ones that needed to have any concerns.  Law abiding citizens from either side of theses borders traveled freely for work, day trips, vacations, and even extended visits.  It was a pretty safe bet that we could live outside the borders of our country for years, without anyone molesting our peace, as long as we were law-abiding.

Today, the rules are changing.  Now it is recommended that we have passports to move between our neighboring countries.  Not a big deal.  Unfortunately, we hear daily that the free travel between our countries is a problem.  It is no longer about smugglers and criminals, but about border security.  It is about keeping them out!

This attitude extends beyond our neighboring countries to countries across the world.  While we all want to be safe and secure, some of us want to be welcoming.  I hope this isn’t simply an old woman’s nostalgia for days gone by.

I long for a world with fewer borders, instead of more borders.  Like the Monarch butterfly, and many other of natures creatures,  I wish to travel from north to south America and back again.  I wish to travel around the beautiful world.  I wish to show visitors from other countries our beautiful country.

I wish to be the country of the Statue of Liberty welcoming the downtrodden, and those seeking freedom, and opportunity, as my family was welcomed.

You may ask, “What’s in it for us if we have open borders?”

For one thing, we get some really wonderful restaurants.  I do not mean that in a flippant way.  We have restaurants representing the foods of Thailand, India, Mexico, Vietnam, Germany, France, Greece, etcetera.  Many cities have international festivals that feature the food of many counties.

We also get brain power.  Maybe immigrants don’t get here with an education, but they are strongly motivated to learn, they just need the opportunity.  They could become the scientist to get us on our way to Mars, or find a cure for a disease.  We just don’t know.

We get loyal citizens who will fight to protect their adopted country.  Citizens who value freedom.  Citizens who value the opportunity our country afords its citizens.  Citizens who will fight for what is right in the world.

I know people are afraid of bombers and terrorists, fanatics and crazies.  The process to gain entry to immigrate to our country is lengthy.  Extensive background checks are completed, and this is a multi step process that takes years, including time after they are settled in our country.  To become citizens tests must be taken, and oaths must be sworn.  Oaths of allegence and loyalty.

I know I can’t convince you to change your mind, but I can ask you to remember what peace time was like.  If you are to young to remember, I ask you to imagine peace time.   Maybe I’m only wishing for magic.

 

Condolences to Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minneapolis

A peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas in recognition of racial problems contributing to the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and Philando Castile in Minneapolis on Wednesday, was disrupted by snipers who killed five police officers and left six others injured.

I would like to express my condolences to all the family and friends of all these people killed.  I would like you to know you are all in my prayers, along with all of those injured.

I was watching news coverage as the protesters were beginning to leave the area, police dressed in their summer uniforms, not riot gear, when shots broke out.  I saw police work to protect civilians who had come out for the peaceful demonstration, and then dive behind cars as they realized they were being targeted.

While watching this live, I switched from station to station to see if the main news stations were covering this unfolding event.  They were not.

This morning I have been watching the news stations, switching from one to another.  I heard  a heart broke President Obama speak yesterday about the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  This morning I heard President Obama speak about the sniper attack of police in Dallas.

Listening to the news stations on different channels, I find it difficult to understand that they are talking about the same situations I just viewed.  I do realize that although a picture is worth a thousand words (and live video must be worth 10 times that), a picture does not tell the entire story.  I was still amazed that one station focused on President Obama and the one part of his comments about the ease of getting guns.  Another report focused on the peace and cooperation between police and protesters prior to the shooting.  Yet another report focused only on the officers, and the hate of the snipers, and no mention of what had brought them all together.

In defense of all news organizations, I would like to say this is a multi faceted story that can not be reported in one simple report in one or two hours.  The investigation is on going in these evens.  Witnesses and suspects are being questioned.  Political analysis will be on going.  Social analysis will be on going.

I pray for our country that we can learn to live in peace, and make the dream of a country where our we are judged by our character and not our skin color a reality.  There are many, white as well as black working toward this dream of Martin Luther King, the American Dream.  Please join us.

 

Will IT Never End

Political stress and anxiety have some people fearing the end of the American Dream.

For his entire presidency the left says President Obama doesn’t go far enough, and the right says he goes to far.  These disagreements on the hill have caused government  gridlock, with those in favor of President Obama’s work around (executive order) being drowned out cries of presidential overreach. Now the primary season is dragging on and on leaving everyone to question whether party unity is possible.  The idea of parties actually working together and coming up with workable compromise is the impossible dream.

“Its only politics,” you say, but political stress and anxiety still strikes.  Political actions affect us in direct and indirect ways.  A government shut down, because a budget can’t be agreed upon affects the many government employees very directly.  If a budget can’t be agreed upon, the stock market fluctuates, investors lose money, interest rates fluctuate, and the bottom line is what you have to spend, and how much the things you want will cost you are directly affected.  This is only one example, I am sure you can think of some government action, or inaction, that has affected you in some way.  Many actions don’t affect me at all, yet politics confronts me with making decisions that could affect others.

Pro-choice/pro-life, LGBT rights, the plight of illegal immigrants has never been a personal issue for me.  I have sympathy for both sides.  Politically, I am a centrist, and I have proof!  I took the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, and so can you.

I’ve always called myself a moderate, while some call me liberal and others call me conservative.  I’m teased that I just can’t commit to a position.  I hope its teasing.

All of this politics causes a lot of stress.  Me yes, but many others.  While learning about the use of SEO “search engine optimization with Reji Stephenson at Digital Dimensions4u   I tested the process using political topics and learned that people dealing with political stress and anxiety fear the coming election will lead to civil war, or just want to get away from any ramifications of the upcoming decisions by leaving the country if the opposition candidate should win.  When the SEO of Political Stress came up, I knew I found my topic.

Living in “enemy” territory, holding the minority opinion is particularly stressful, at least for me, as the urge to speak out arises . Speaking out has changed, maybe aborted, some budding social relationships.   When you don’t speak out, people assume you think the same way they do.  During a campaign season where the extreme positions take the spotlight there is a lot of eye rolling.   Each candidate has its following and their supporters are coming to physical conflict.  There are the Never Donald Trump and Never Hillary Clinton camps, and many will simply refuse to vote at all.  Then there is the Bernie “Burn” camp who want to vote in a new congress.

It is all very exciting to follow the reality show of our United States politics, but for all of us politics is stressful.  Stress that can affect the workplace, social settings, the future makeup of our countries leadership, and our lives.  A feeling of bad choices will cause some to drop out, and if those people are the centrists, then government gridlock will remain for the foreseeable future.

(Thank you Reji for teaching me about somethings so useful!)

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Showin’ My Ass

I’ve been accused of “showin’ my ass” a couple of times since moving to this area.  The first time had nothing to do with politics, and the most recent time I was “showin’ my ass” was during a political discussion.  I am still trying to understand what this expression actually means.

The first time was when I requested insurance information from a neighbor who hit my car.  When she didn’t want to give me her insurance information, I suggested she should pay me the $500 needed for the repairs.  “Your showin’ you’re ass now,” she yelled.  She accused me of trying to shake down an old woman for money, shoved me and screamed at me for several minutes, bringing the neighbors out from their homes.  You might be happy to know that your insurance company can track down the insurance on another vehicle with the licence number and make of the car.

This latest time I was “showin’ my ass” was rooted in politics.  It is only a coincidence that the donkey is a political symbol.  (For the origins of these symbols read this.) After hearing how my lunch companions felt about illegal immigrants, I had to speak out, and was encouraged to do so.  The conversation did not go as I  had anticipated.  Instead of my calmly standing up for people seeking asylum, I was bombarded by an argument for the their right of free speech and their right to their opinion.   To which I suggested that the workplace was not the proper forum for the expression of these rights and opinions.  An unpleasant conversation for all.

Image result for political symbolsI would now like to express my view.

It is perfectly normal for families of immigrants to combine their resources and live together, depending on those family members who can get jobs to support the family.  If no jobs are available, they will use what knowledge they have to earn money any way they can.  Through necessity immigrants often become small business owners.  This is the American dream.  To criticize immigrants for this behavior is wrong.  It does not speak to their status as legal or illegal.

Currently,  the United States has several groups of people seeking our American Dream.  From south of our border, or from across the world, people who are displaced by violence are seeking refuge in our country, European countries, and other peaceful countries.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 states it is a right of people to seek seek asylum from persecution and genocide.  The refugee’s from Syria are seeking asylum.  Most of them are women and children.

Those fleeing for their lives, displaced by war and violence in their countries, are unlikely to have birth certificates, shot records, educational report cards, and other common forms of documentation.  There are procedures in place that offer an opportunity for legal immigration to these people.  It is a long, and complicated procedure, which takes time, while people are surviving under great need and hardship, after taking extraordinary risks to escape to safety.

The idea of building walls, closing boarders, and deporting all Muslims or Hispanics is not just bigotry of the worst sort, but is totally unconstitutional and un-Americana.  Having  specific groups of people registered, watched, or interned as if they were all enemy combatants is not without precedent, but has been branded racist, bigoted, shameful, and wrong.  The idea calls up images of concentration camps.

I have been told I should not tell my (former) lunch partners about my beliefs, but I should convey them to the Republican candidate.  I believe I have already done so with my primary vote, and will also do so in the general election, but I fear that isn’t quite enough.  With only six degrees of separation, perhaps this blog will find its way to Donald Trump and his supporters.

If you don’t want refugees coming to the United States, but are concerned about the welfare of refugee children, you could make a donation to the Save the Children Fund.

A friend told me the response to “Your showin’ yer ass,” is “Well why shouldn’t I show my ass?  It is a beautiful ass, unlike your ugly old ass!”

So there!   (I believe the workplace policy of no political discussions in the work place is now being enforced.)

 

 

 

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