Thursday, July 17, 2014

Here's What I Don't Get

I heard a woman on the radio today talking about why she's camped out in Arizona protesting attempts to bring minor children from a detention center there into other parts of the U.S. for housing and care. The children are 'illegals'. She said it was a shame that they were children, but "clearly their parents didn't care enough about them to keep them and take care of them so...

Left hanging in the air was the end of the sentence which was "why should I care?"

I don't get that.

My son is away for a few days at a friend's house and the longing I have for his face, his warmth, his presence in my house is absurd and painful and silly, but potent and consuming nonetheless. I cannot even fathom the pain of looking that boy in his sweet face, holding his hands, putting my arms around him and his sisters and saying 'I think this is the best thing for you. I love you. Please, please be safe. Go. Stay together. I promise you I'll do my best to get to you if I can. Don't ever forget that I love you.'

Can you imagine that pain? That terror? That self-doubt and fear? What would drive you to that? Anything? I might not ever have the courage. But to save my starving child, I would pray for the strength.

So what was that woman on the radio saying? What kind of filth was she thinking? My first reaction was to call her disgusting. I said that, out loud, in my car. "Disgusting!"

And then I caught myself judging her the way she's judging these parents, without knowing what her pain is.

I don't know what it's like to live in Arizona. I don't know what it means to have to deal with so many strangers just trapsing through your town. It might be frightening or nerve-wracking or downright aggravating. It might be more than you could bear and you might lose your sense and think that little children coming to a new country with no family, no security, no sense of what might happen to them deserve to be yelled at and scared and detained and shipped back, without regard for where they might land when they get back 'home'.

You might be so mangled in your thinking by all the stress you're dealing with you might get on the radio and suggest to the world that I don't love my children.

I may be wrong to send them to another country; God help me so I never have to even contemplate such a thing. But you are wrong - wrong, wrong, wrong - to believe I don't care. And should fate ever ruin me to such a degree that my children must go away from me for some condition like the ones those parents suffer, I should pray with great passion that they do not meet that woman on the radio. I should call to God to deliver them into the hands of compassion, understanding and love that we should all enjoy when we are at our lowest. Isn't that the damn point of being an American?

I just don't get why we all don't get that.

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