Although I don’t watch the news, there are stories you can’t help but hear about. I’m deeply disturbed by the actions this new administration has taken. Just weeks into his first term, the president has brought the divisive energy from his campaign into office. I’m not surprised but it is disappointing. I can’t understand how people can be banned from entering the country simply based on the country they’re from. Stories are already emerging of the people turned away and detained and the thing is, even legal residents are being denied entry. People with families, jobs, and lives in the States.
Something I noticed throughout the campaign is Trump’s message was built primarily on hate and fear. Hate was used as common ground and fear as a motivator. People will go to great lengths to protect themselves from a perceived notion of fear. While I can understand why people want measures to be taken in terms of immigration, I think anything in excess is dangerous and this is a prime example. Banning people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering a place stolen from Natives built by immigrants in the name of freedom is beyond ironic.
I think that if as a society we embraced people, celebrated diversity, and sought to understand other cultures, we’d find we are more alike than we are different. I also think a hefty dose of compassion would go a long way. If we could see the people behind the story as living beings with feelings, families, lives, neighbors, as people just like us it would be harder to be so cold and dismissive. At the end of the day, people generally want to live in their home country. That’s where their lives are, their homes, family, belongings and sense of community and belonging. If floods of people are leaving everything they’ve ever known behind, risking their lives, and those of their children, it’s not for the fun of it. Traveling is grueling enough under regular circumstances. Traveling out of necessity for the opportunity to live is something most can’t fathom.
Today I’d like to challenge you to be more compassionate. Instead of making rash judgments or being dismissive, try to get to know the details behind the story. Think about what it would be like to have to leave the only place you’ve ever known. What extreme circumstances would it take to pack your family up and leave the home and life you know to go to another country? A country you’ve never been to, you don’t know, don’t understand the way of life, don’t speak the language, and might not ever be accepted in?