Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Being An Immigrant

from a country next to Norway, I feel sick and confused. What am I supposed to think about a president who wishes all immigrants looked like me? Back in the day, I felt Sweden was pretty boring with everyone looking like me, thinking like me, and so on. I mean, what's so interesting about that? And how great it was to come to America, to live in Los Angeles with all its wonderful mix of people and cultures. 

Then the people from El Salvador, legally in the United States for some twenty plus years, albeit on temporary visas, will have to leave next year. And now the Department of Justice is seeking to overturn the ruling that the government cannot dismantle DACA by going to the Supreme Court if necessary. Wow!

All I want is to live out my life in peace, but I guess that's not likely to happen as long as I feel this:


empathy:

the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; 
also the capacity for this
~ Merriam-Webster


Several highly skilled construction workers from El Salvador worked for my husband's company over the years. I became very fond of them and I know Errol deeply respected the quality of their work, their honesty, and integrity. A few of them came to Errol's funeral and their kindness touched my heart.


When I read they would have to return to El Salvador in 2019, I felt sick, really sick. Some of these people are in their late 60s, early 70s, now. How would I feel if I had to go back to Sweden? That's what you wonder when you feel empathy. You live in these United States, as the Salvadorans have done for over 20 years; you get a mortgage, buy a house, have your American citizen grandchildren over on the weekends, and so on. You create a life, in other words. There should be a way to citizenship for people who have come here, not on permanent visas, but who have lived here for many years, created good lives for themselves and contributed to our country, realizing, perhaps, even the American Dream. Then grown old, and now being told to GET OUT!


And there must be a way for the young dreamers, the DACA people, to get to stay and eventually become citizens. Are we supposed to just sit back and take all this cruelty? I guess that's why I'm writing this because I just can't hit the streets any longer to protest what is so wrong.


These are just recent happenings, then there's the environment, the racism, the lies, Native American war heroes placed under a portrait of Andrew Jackson, drilling on the Alaskan Wild Life Preserve, the Canadian Lynx, the offshore drilling, our one and only Jaguar vs. the Wall, and on and on. 

But, Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and hearing some wonderful quotes by him on TV, I felt much more at peace. Rachael and I had a really good talk about it all too, and decided we couldn't let the warrior woman within go to pieces. 


So instead of a huge rant, I will share some quotes I dug up and I will post a relevant quote at the top of my future blog posts. 

quotes:

Democracy Dies in Darkness
~ The Washington Post

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. 
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

And to those in our government, those we have elected to serve us, not themselves, who stand up on TV and lie and then lie some more, I say: Shame on you...............


It felt good to see that so many of you wanted me to rant a bit.










21 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Inger! Excellent rant. My father is an immigrant from Europe, and he feels just as you do. I have been thinking recently that a lack of empathy is the greatest problem in our society. People need to stop and think about what it would be like to be one of these "target" groups. They need to think beyond their own well-being so that they can care what happens to others, even if those others are different from them in some way. You did that in this post - and it was perfect.

    Right on, Inger!

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  2. Excellent post, Inger! I know what you mean about not being able hit the streets in protest. I'd like to myself, but that is no longer possible.

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  3. This is not the country that I know and love.

    You don’t need to march. What is needed now is to get out the vote and many volunteers are needed. You can do that from the comfort of your home. Together, we can stop this abuse to liberty.

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  4. Wonderful words, and quotes!!No need to go and march, I would hope that in time, many positive thoughts like yours, words, written and spoken, may make a difference. How things can change so fast and so dramatically, and not for the better, Each person should be entitled to a life in their country, even if not where they were born. Love your sunset, showing that nature and those beautiful colours will give us hope, and faith and love, together, world wide.

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  5. Excellent post Inger, you make a lot of good points and I do feel for everyone who is in the situation of being removed from our Country...their Country, I agree there has to be an answer to help these people gain citizenship.

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  6. our country is in mess for sure. it is good to hear from your point of view as an immigrant. i hope they can find a way to make these people who have been here so long as illegal immigrants a way to become legal. I am trying to understand why someone would be here for 20 years and not become a citizen as you did. I understand about the children who grew up here and went to school but not the workers who work for 20 years and are still not legal.

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    1. They are here on temporary visas because the situation in their home countries. El Salvador was in total chaos, don't remember what happened there, and Haiti had that big earthquake. I came here as a legal immigrant, I had a sponsor, a work permit, and after a while, don't remember how that went, but after a while I got my green card, which allowed me to legally stay here. I later became a citizen so that I could vote and also take on the responsibilities of citizenship. This would include my ability to speak out, as I have done here. Non-citizen can of course speak out too, but I feel better about doing it as a citizen.

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  7. Hi Inger - totally agree ... it is appalling. This is Senator Jeff Flake's video he put up today ...

    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-42724000/sen-flake-trump-using-stalin-s-words-to-attack-press

    He's on your side ... but I do totally agree with all you've said - and hope you can access Senator Flake's address ...

    Take care and with thoughts ... Hilary oxox

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the speech, I have read about it and am sure I will find it somewhere if this doesn't work. Senator Flake is a Goldwater republican, which makes what he does so much more incredible. It shows that good and honest people come from all political backgrounds. After all, truth is truth, there's nothing fake about it at all.

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  8. thank you for this. In Canada we see these words and actions and it is colouring our views of an entire country. Which is not fair because I know many many wonderful Americans and I have loved visiting it. Now we wonder if we should come at all.

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    1. After all this country has stood for, for so long, to wonder if you should come at all is so sad.

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  9. Immigration has long been an issue from early years of this country. Now makes me angry, confused. Compassion? Right or wrong? Is there any clear answer?

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  10. Inger, I must respectively disagree. They had 20 years to apply for citizenship. A failure on their part to do so, does not constitute a obligation on our country's part to automatically make them U.S.Citizens. It did not happen in your case and should not happen in theirs.


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    1. It's OK to disagree, however, as I wrote to Madsnapper above, these people do not have permanent visas (green cards) and therefore not a clear path to citizenship. A green card, which is what I had, enabled me to apply for citizenship whenever I was ready to do so. You cannot do that with a temporary visa, where you are supposed to go back home as soon as the situation in your country has improved. Which I'm not sure is the case with El Salvador. Trump says it has, but still, to start over at an advanced age is not easy, trust me on that. It is so true that our immigration system needs to be improved. Greatly. Good to hear back from you.

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  11. Legal immigration is not the problem, being the dumping ground for an illegal invasion is. If we make it acceptable to accomidate breaklng whatever laws are presently on the books, why should we not be able to break any other law we do not care to accept. I believe that falls under the term anachy in which case I choose to quit paying taxes.

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    1. The Salvadorans are here legally, albeit on temporary visas. That was my whole point, sorry if I wasn't clear. I sincerely tried to be.

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  12. Amen! I'm with you 100%. I've had the opposite experience as you -- born and raised in LA County and loving all the diversity; now living in an isolated rural white community with people full of hate and distrust of non-whites. Its difficult for me to socialize with many of our neighbors. I think those of us who have friends and neighbors and co-workers who are immigrants appreciate them. Others, not so much.

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  13. Great post Inger. Reading this from across the pond, my European friends have been in the same state of worry as to whether they will have to leave the UK after Brexit. Thankfully it looks like a solution has been offered to people who have been here long term.
    Watching everything that is being so irresponsibly said and done in the US these days is making me too think seriously about ever wanting to visit again. I think I'm worried that I mightn't get out again. Over the years of the Troubles here in Ireland, it was always a terrifying experience to go to England in case someone would hear you speak and assume the worst about you. I guess that's what a lot of immigrants are feeling in the US at the minute. Keep on ranting :) Fil

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    1. Thank you, Fil. I know from my friends in Sweden that the US is beginning to look more and more like a scary place to those who look at us from afar.

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  14. Just great post Inger!
    My great-grandfather immigrated from Italy to Brazil.

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  15. Thanks for this lovely and thought-provoking post. I agree whole-heartedly and sometimes think I am in the middle of a nightmare. Such an ugly time we are living in - it almost seems like it can't be real.

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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