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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
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 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:22 pm 
What a river of sorrow is coming our way. These escapees struggling to get to our borders with nothing, they are scorned, ridiculed, and abused. I don’t understand this. When was it okay to vent racism and unbridled hate against those whose only crime was to be poor...or shot at, or extorted or raped? How did this putrefying rage crawl out from under the rock? I understand the grievance white vote against anyone that isn’t them, but when did it become okay to despise 17 old babies with babies, adults fearful for their children, the children fearful for their families, and for the lot, a fear of diaspora that will take them away from their loved ones forever while toiling to get to what was once a promised land.

I look on television and I see wave upon wave of the desperate queued on bridges, inching their way to some guard post were they think they’ll be given some stamped pass to ‘the land of the free, and the home of the slave’. That paper isn’t some kind of aspirin that makes the pain go away; it’s a free pass to their new hell. Happy Halloween.

What does Trump think they’re here for? A quarter pounder at Mickie D’s? To toss some anchor babies in the water to see if they'll float? What exactly, are they here for? To steal jobs? To get free medical care? To mooch off ‘freedom’? To deprive some white guy of the bass boat he’s always dreamed of and you, you brown person, how dare you steal that dream from me? My guts ache. What’s crawled from under that rock? Is the only remedy to vote? Perhaps it is, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. I would not be surprised if that, too, was removed.

Where, sweet Jesus, have moral Republicans gone? Where are those who decried the loss of family values? If they thought the abortion of the unborn should be illegal, how could they support starving the born? Where are the moderate Republicans who wanted Conservative ideas of smaller government? How have they morphed into insufferable cowards? And yee of faith, who cast thy lot with the money lenders, have you no greater shame? When did 'turn the other cheek' become 'look away'? And where are the rabbis, the preachers and the priests? If you aren’t railing against this horror story of American history, what the hell good are you? If you’re not screaming against the wrongness of this cruelty every goddamn Sunday, get another profession.

Moral men and women, those lovers of hope and justice, those grateful for what is and what could be, those who pray that men’s hearts will be washed clean from the sins of this age, fear not. For yee must suck it up, ladies and gentlemen. It's up to you, it's up to us to make it right, or die trying. It’s time to vote and hope.

A-fuckin’- men.


 Author: upcountry
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:30 pm 
I see Richards (a dear friend who I love and respect) point of view but there are a lot of complications. It's not so simple. Poverty, a lack of opportunity, no medical care, lack of education, hunger, rape, gang violence, and murder are all serious issues. People should be able to escape such circumstances, however passing through 2 countries (after being offered asylum in one) to enter another country while breaking a federal law makes it difficult. Asylum is offered at ports of entry, not on a ranch in Southern Arizona at 3 AM. Asylum is offered for those escaping an oppressive government or regime, not for social reasons. ICE and the Border Patrol are doing their job when the border is violated.

It was mentioned to me that when 7,000 people, flying the flag of their home country march toward a border with the intent of crossing it by deception or by force, it's not a migration; it's an invasion.

But I digress, back to the point. Poverty, hunger, poor medical care, rape, murder and gang violence occur in many places. There are millions in Africa, Indonesia, the Middle East, etc who could march or fly to the US--should they all just walk in? Should there be no border screening? But lets look at a very simple set of circumstances.

All of those conditions exist in Chicago, Baltimore and other cities. I guess by logic we should all open our homes and towns to people from those cities. Lets say 7,000 people decided to march from Chicago to escape the conditions there. Along the way they pick up a few thousand more from core cities who also suffer and agree with the prospect of life in a better town or city. Lets say they read about Silver City, it's culture and climate, the Gila Forum, and figured there are a lot of loving people there who would welcome them, provide food, lodging, medical care, etc. Remember, there are no borders to stop them. They aren't "migrating", they are just "traveling". They are doing nothing illegal. It's not a crime that ICE or local police can do anything about, nor can the citizens of Silver city who now have an additional 7-10,000 mouths to feed, shelter and clothe. Plus these "travelers" have an extra added advantage of, unlike those approaching the southern border. They are already US citizens eligible for all kinds of services.

I'm assuming that given the feelings that Richard expounded upon, he and others in town would open their homes and hearts to those thousands. Somehow I cynically doubt it.

It's fine to care for those who suffer and want a better life. As a Social worker I spent a career attempting to help individual and families make a better life. But in most cases, those who speak the loudest would prefer it just shouldn't happen in your own town or backyard. I hope the situation resolves itself and that those who have walked miles will find some solace, but from a purely unthinkingly sympathetic position. we should also think about those in Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis and other cities who need help.

 Author: almilligan
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:55 pm 
You may not like it , but I pretty much agree with you

 Author: alan wagman
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:54 am 
What is ignored here is our responsibility for creating the conditions in both Central America (for example the corruption of the country in the 1980s via the U.S. using Honduras as a staging area for funneling support to the Nicaraguan Contras and, more recently, U.S. support for the right-wing military coup overthrowing the elected government in 2009) and Chicago that led to migrations -- both the real one from Central America and the hypothetical one from Chicago. It's too big a topic to be tackled here by anyone other than sloganeers. I suggest for a start reading the following: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... ns/361631/

For Americans, history began 5 minutes ago, and we've never done anything to influence conditions in the rest of the world. For the rest of the world, it doesn't work like that.


 Author: Pat W
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:00 am 
Too many Americans don't know our history and how we have put regime change/overthrown democratically elected governments for our own selfish interests. (corporations/elites, etc) Alan is right on. I remember quite clearly the "wars" against the people of Central and South America backed by our money and our military. We allowed the slaughter of civilians in many of those countries by their ruthless dictators. And now we cry foul when Russia or China interfere in our elections. "What goes round, comes round."

 Author: msauber
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:58 pm 
I agree with Alan and Pat W. It's undeniable our corporate interests and their profits have forced an ugly hand to many Central American Countries through our overthrow of their legitimate governments to ones that are conducive to profit making here. It's embarrassing when our media talk about other governments tampering with our elections without a mention of what we have been doing. That of course includes "NPR".

 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:20 pm 
I think that Fox News has the appropriate reaction:
https://crooksandliars.com/2018/10/fox- ... onds-speak
and I'm not exactly a Bible person, but...

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:24 pm 
Richard's original post stated that a river of sorrow is coming our way. That's undeniable. What we can or should do about it is a different matter. There are rivers of sorrow all over the world, with more coming or going. We may not be able to solve every problem, but we can recognize the humanity of every sufferer and not try to exploit them for political benefit.


 Author: upcountry
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:18 pm 
Interesting and good discussion.
I mentioned the concept of "invasion" in the light of a comment made to me by another. Technically, without arms, I'm not sure you could call it an invasion but it still is a violation of a nation's sovereignty, borders and laws--especially when flying the flags of their home countries. We don't allow our own citizens to violate federal laws so it's puzzling why it's proposed we should let others do so. We all agree that the plight of Hondurans is a sad situation. As it is in Venezuela, Bangladesh and Sierra Leone and rural Myanmar. And Chicago, Baltimore and Compton. I'm the grandson of immigrants on both sides of my family. In fact I still have documentation of a family member who entered the country (legally) through Ellis Island. The other side of my family migrated from Germany post WWI, not a time for a pleasant reception. They both worked hard, started businesses, eventually owned homes and did so without government assistance programs or benefits. The "charity" they received came from individuals or churches, the government was not involved.

History can often be used as a ploy or excuse to justify or explain the present whether or not there is a direct connection or causality. Granted we seriously messed up in Central America, but it's not like it was Utopia before we did. One could speculate (and some might know how to determine) that living conditions for individuals may actually be better now than over what life may have been like one hundred years ago before our selfish or misguided interference. True our governmental policies were and still are tainted by corporate and financial interests, but that exists on both sides of the aisle and no matter who is in office. It's a corruption of the system that both parties share depending on which financial and corporate entities are supporting their party and campaign.

The whole basis for the concept of charity, at least in Christianity as elicited in the verses, is that it's a voluntary personal offering to another by an individual--not a governmental policy funded by obligatory tax dollars. If I wish to give I do so, but I don't expect others to be mandated to do so to the same causes I do. Or because its a "moral" idea or a "nice" or popular thing to do. I support programs that others may disagree with but that's my right and their right as individuals. I supported troubled Vietnam veterans, horrified by what they saw and were forced to do, while others screamed "baby killers" and shunned them. At the time, it wasn't cool. Before I retired I was upset that my local and national work associations financially supported positions that I disagreed with using dues I was required to contribute. My mandated "charitable contribution" was not my choice, it was someone else's choice, as it would be the case with any governmental policy.

Also I'm sure that Jesus would not support charity to any specific entity, groups or races over another. The verses quoted imply charity to be unconstrained and not limited to any specific group or individuals but to all. I'm not sure he'd be cool with charity towards, lets say, only foreign nationals of a particular demographic over citizens from violent cities in their own country who may be of a different perhaps less popular demographic. I don't think Jesus was racist and would promote charity to benefit one population over another. A careful reading of these verses indicates Jesus spoke of the individual being charitable as opposed to a governmental or mandated policy. A definition of the word stresses "voluntary" and implies it's a choice made by individuals and not dictated by cultural conditioning, much less by the opinions of other taxpayers.

As a nation we've done pretty well and we have all benefited to some degree. It would be wonderful to save the people of Honduras and other beleaguered countries. Americans are acknowledged world wide to be extremely generous in contributions to charitable organizations when compared to other industrial nations. You can jaw about democracy and the wishes of the majority, but that's only great if you are part of the majority. And the majority changes. And people learn. The overwhelming majority in 1750 had no problem with slavery. The culture of the time decided that; in hindsight we see they were wrong. What if we are wrong about some things, especially those things based on emotion, wishful thinking and the way we wish the world should be?

 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:22 am 
The use of the word "invasion" at all regarding the caravan of Central Americans is a win for the Trump propaganda effort.

First, those people are nowhere near the U.S. border, so they most certainly haven't invaded this country.

And, according to what I am hearing about their intentions, they plan to apply at USCIS checkpoints for entry into the U.S. If they get in, it will be legally.

Characterizing them as dangerous, illegals, invaders, criminals, etc. ad nauseum, is just another of Trump's long list of lies and deceptions. The idea that thousands of U.S. soldiers are needed at the border to "STOP THE INVADERS!" is just another great con job, based on paranoid fear, designed to keep bad people in office.

What I can't fathom is how so many Americans keep falling for Trump's ugly and destructive manipulation.

 Author: alan wagman
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:57 am 
First, Gordon has already addressed the falsehood that the people in the caravan are intent on violating U.S. law. Their clearly expressed intention is to obey U.S. law. That was also the case with the families Trump and Sessions separated – and in hundreds of cases destroyed.

Second, it can be said of almost all of the immigrants from south of the border – both the documented and the undocumented – that they, as Upcountry said of his own grandparents, “worked hard, [many] started businesses, [many] eventually owned homes and did so without government assistance programs or benefits. The ‘charity’ they received came from individuals or churches, the government was not involved.”

Third, Upcountry says of Central America “that living conditions for individuals may actually be better now than over what life may have been like one hundred years ago before our selfish or misguided interference.” For the sake of simplicity in this discussion, I only mentioned destructive U.S. activity from the 1980s onward, but it did not begin then. One hundred years ago, Central America had already been destructively dominated by U.S. interests for nearly two decades. See, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company. We must reject false claims that “the white man’s burden” benefited its victims. Upcountry is correct about one thing: Since the Monroe Doctrine pronounced the American imperium in 1823, it has not mattered to Central Americans which imperial party governs this country.

Fourth, Upcountry is wrong about the New and Old Testament verses about charity – specifically about the voluntary nature of the commanded "charity" and the universality of the intended recipients. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, which has no word for “charity” in the sense of giving from the heart. The word used in the cited Hebrew verses is “tzedakah.” Tzedakah is mandated giving – it is what Jews are to give because Jews are commanded to give, no matter what is in the givers’ hearts. And the intended recipients of the mandated giving are also clear – other Jews. As for the New Testament citations, Jesus spoke in a completely Jewish context to other Jews who would have understood his words in a completely Jewish context. Paul, who grew up as Saul, a Jew, would have understood Jesus’s words in the same way.

(The word for acting out of heart-felt kindness, not restricted to giving, is “chesed.” One gets credit for chesed, but chesed is not commanded – Judaism recognizes that actions can be subject to commands, but feelings have a life of their own. In the story of the good Samaritan – keeping in mind that Jews of that time despised Samaritans – Jesus was making a point about the virtue of heart-felt kindness that went above and beyond the commandments.)

Fifth, with regard to the statement, “Americans are acknowledged world wide to be extremely generous in contributions to charitable organizations when compared to other industrial nations,” see https://www.theguardian.com/news/databl ... untry#data. I’ve extracted data on the per cent of people in industrial nations who give to charity. I leave it to readers to draw their own conclusion about whether the U.S. is “extremely generous.”
1 Netherlands 77
2 United Kingdom 73
3 Ireland 72
4 Switzerland 71
5 Australia 70
6 Hong Kong 70
7 Austria 69
8 New Zealand 68
9 Denmark 67
10 Iceland 67
11 Canada 64
12 Italy 62
14 Luxembourg 58
15 Sweden 52
16 Israel 51
17 Germany 49
18 Norway 43
19 Belgium 40
20 France 31
21 Spain 25
22 South Africa 15
23 China 11


 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:04 am 
I feel compelled to write a response to the points raised in this conservation. I'm a creative writer, unfit and unable to write the informed essays that appear here. I take license with current events to paint pictures from the heart, in this case, to use a snapshot of the suffering of the Central American diaspora to draw our attention to...well, suffering.

As far as telling the truth is concerned, I am as welcome as a corn cob in the outhouse, sometimes doing more harm than good. But I must say that all those who write here are telling their own informed truth, expressing their own reason and passion, and as individuals, should never be judged by their respective positions on anything. Remember, free speech is free speech, not a cudgel of opinion (although, I must admit, I have wielded my share).

So, let me say this: Upcountry is a very dear friend who has done more to help kids, to understand and selflessly guide them, than anyone I have ever known, so I take his positions to heart because I know from whence they came. He has provoked a conversation that is a vital part of our electoral politics at the moment. But never forget what this is about; not illustrative histories or the mind games of 'what if', but the dirty, shoeless, unwanted and desperate humans beings sleeping under rain soaked blankets and eating only by the charity of strangers, and all without exception seeking a better life. And they live in all corners of the world where cell phones and video cams are rarely seen. If aid comes from governments or NGO's or from any charity, synagogue or church, whether it comes from George Soros or Pat Robinson or Gomer Pyle, nothing can change a rock into a pillow, except the magic and mystery of love.


 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:29 am 
Thank you "rearnheart" for not only opening up this discussion, but acknowledging that everyone's opinion counts; as a matter of 'free speech'. One doesn't have to be labeled red or blue to strongly feel the effects of current issues in this country, especially the present march towards our southern border. The following is a column by Bob Lonsberry, which I'm sure many can relate to. http://www.lonsberry.com/writings.cfm?story=4213&go=4

 Author: upcountry
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:14 pm 
Not to ante up this thread, but with respect to Alan's and Richard's insights and thought, I'd like to respond for the sake of discussion to some points.

First, reports from Mexico indicate that when the caravan crossed 2 borders and eventually entered Mexico, Mexican police and military were pelted with rocks, bottles, etc. The caravan forced their way and broke through barriers and gates. Not a good indicator of being law-abiding. And if their "clearly expressed intent is to obey US law", wouldn't that include US immigration law and border sovereignty?Law abiding doesn't usually mean abiding only by the laws you like. All except a few of the asylum-seekers refused asylum in Mexico. One caravan member was interviewed after he accepted the Mexican offer to stay, get established and work in Mexico. He stated that it was not his intention to stay in Mexico but to work for a year or two to get enough money to pay for a coyote who will bring him into the US. Not an indicator of escaping an oppressive Honduran government and seeking asylum. More an indicator of wanting to go to the US in particular.

Secondly, yes many immigrants will work hard and thrive for their families and contribute to the community and country, but the examples I mentioned entered the country legally and eventually became citizens. And, unlike in the past, there are now federal and local benefit programs that will support those who enter illegally should they decide not to work and contribute. These programs did not exist in the past when it was more "sink or swim". It sort of takes the impetus out of the drive to assimilate and be productive in a new country.

Thirdly, United Fruit Company (and others) did a lot of harm overseas and made large cash contributions to politicians in the US and Central America. Many companies do the same now--Raytheon, Boeing, GE, Google, Microsoft, as well as many non-profits that have a political agenda and use their influence in the US. The US (and Central America) gave in to their dollars and that became a loose leash on government's behavior. I am reminded of a Vietnam vet who told me that when taking fire from snipers in a rubber plantation his group was instructed not to return fire--because the plantation was owned by a US rubber company (I believe it was Goodyear). It was a tough choice for him: hmmmm, let me think, my life vs someone's future tires.... No doubt this is a big part of what happens in the Middle East where a lot of US dollars are planted. My comments were made relating to the infrastructure and technology advancements over the past 100 years in Central America that would be reflected in daily living conditions as a result of US corporate investment, development and trade with the US.

Fourth, I'll admit I'm not in touch with ancient languages. I attended Boston College years ago as an undergrad (and a grad) and was required to take theology and philosophy classes. One (non-required) class was the Sociology of Religion (really thought provoking, I never thought about the dynamic relationship between magic, science and religion and their roles in evolving societies), but no course ever got into old and new testament Hebrew, so I'm at a loss here. The points you bring up are fascinating. Historical context, a primary part of communication, has been largely neglected in the interpretation of religious documents for, well, just about forever. The word "charity" was used in this forum in the context of modern old and new testament biblical quotes, which I guessed referred more to a presumed common "moral" culture than to religion. I believe what I said has been the common Christian interpretation across many denominations, which has shaped the general US cultural understanding of the word. I could be wrong. Even "common" culture is delightfully diverse in this country.

Fifth and last point. The ratings represented in the data from the Guardian are essentially irrelevant. The Guardians data is based on self reporting. Ever have someone call you on the phone in a poll to ask you a carefully phrased question (I also studied research methodology and the creation of research tools, questionnaires and statistics) that if you replied in the negative, you'd give the impression of being a jerk? Who'd want go do that? That's the flaw of self reporting, you can say anything and who would know. It will all be turned into numbers to prove the researchers or publishers point--those who paid for the data. However the Charitable Aid Foundation, a UK nonprofit, basis its rankings on the percent of charitable giving relative to gross GDP. The US ranked first, followed by New Zealand and Canada. Charitable giving by individuals, as a percent of GDP in the US was 1.44%, 0.79% in New Zealand and 0.77% in Canada. UK was ranked fourth at 0.54%. So I feel that the US is still very well represented as to voluntary charity on a local and global scale.

I'm not a Trumpian. I don't respond to dog whistles and calls to arms from liberals or conservatives on a state or federal level. As my dear friend rearnheart used the word, there are no "cudgels" here although he and I do at times tease each other mercilessly over ideologies. I'm an equal opportunity cynic of political ideologies and was a cynic before it became cool. But I do believe that cultural conditioning leads people to spout words, based on feelings, that they have been told are good, or that would make them feel good about themselves and their place in the world, but are not provable or even can be proven wrong. Critical thinking, objectively listening to yourself and others while looking at the bigger picture without ideological filters are all essential. Failure to look at the potential impact down the road, positive or negative, of decisions based on feel-good emotions or unverified beliefs have led to a lot of unintended consequences. We've done it as a country and as individuals before, and a lot of people said "that's a great idea" at the time. It's said that if sheep could vote they'd vote for the guy who feeds them today, even if it's the same guy who will slaughter them later. Chances are we won't be around when those consequences come home to roost.

 Author: rearnheart
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:16 pm 
Mineral...I looked at the article and author from your post. When an essay starts with "Where do they Shit?", you lost me at hello. But I appreciate your commitment to contributing to a dialogue of opposites. We must treat each other with dignity and civility, even when we think we are not. Let us each strive to be better and live by the physicians code: first, do no harm.

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