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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mother of Exiles

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
  - The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus, 1883
     Engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty

 

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...

Well, give me your tired and poor yearning to be free just so long as they’re from Ireland or Scotland or Germany. The Netherlands? Italy? We’ll take them. England’s okay too. Maybe Poland and Greece.  Even the stinky French. Why, we’ll even take the Russians. Sure what the heck, welcome to America! Come on in.

Brown Spanish speaking children from where now? Central America? Whoa, not so fast.

Hey, there’s a reason why the Statue of Liberty holds her lamp above New York Harbor and not the Texas border. Just saying.

Because that’s America right? That’s who we are, a bunch of fat old white Christians with signs and bibles screaming hatred at a busload of brown children.

Yeah, fuck you, huddled masses yearning to breathe free! Back on the bus! 

America is for Americans and there isn’t enough for you. Get back on the bus!

No, there isn’t enough for you. No.

We’re a country that has so much goddamned food we have TV shows about it. We have food festivals. We have entire cable channels dedicated to food, just pictures and pictures of food, of people eating food, of animals eating food. Every kind of food.  Burgers so big it takes a football team to eat one. Contests where Joey Chesnut eats sixty-nine hotdogs, sixty fucking nine hotdogs in one sitting. Sixty nine hotdogs, that’s more fat and protein and calories than any dozen kids in the slums around Panama City see in a week.  Guy Fieri drives from restaurant to restaurant and he wipes more food off his fat bling covered face than half the world eats in a day. The average American family scrapes more food into the garbage each month than most of the poor south of our border see in a year. We have so much cheap food in America, that our poor people are suffering from an “Epidemic of Obesity.” 

But we can’t spare a sandwich for a busload of poor brown children.  Fuck ‘em! Back on the bus!

We’re a country where preachers are millionaires. Religion has its own TV shows and theme parks. We don’t just have churches in America, we have giant Mega-churches, temples of glory made from gold and crystal and thousand dollar bills!  We live in a country where Joel Osteen’s weekly collection plate take averages half a million dollars in cash.  We live in a country where religion rakes in tax free billions and buys itself the court and the election and looks out of our TVs every week complaining about persecution.  Persecution.  We live in a country of divine exceptionalism where, according to outspoken religious leaders, our borders were drawn by no less than God himself. Oh yes, those children on our southern border are violating God’s very law, according to America’s bestest Christians:

What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.

That was Bryan Fischer, in an article for Barbwire. He doesn’t say who you should get permission from, Jesus I guess, since they’re His borders and all. Texas mega-church pastor Robert Jeffress agrees, in an interview on Fox and Friends he said,

Yes, Jesus loved children, but he also respected law. He said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. So, we need to do both. Show compassion, but secure the borders.

Jesus respected the law? The same Jesus who got himself nailed to a cross for breaking secular law and the edicts of the local religious leaders? That Jesus? Is that the law abiding Jesus we’re talking about?

I ran a, albeit cursory, Google search, but I can’t seem to find where either of these men condemned those Christians who routinely cross borders without permission, carting boxes full of bibles and the Good Word in defiance of God’s law and a nation’s sovereignty – like those Americans held in North Korea for attempting to proselytize the communists. Or hey, how about the more than fifty charismatic evangelical churches who belong to Ministries Without Borders? I mean, the sin is right there in the name, isn’t it? But, I guess that’s different, when you’re breaking God’s law for Jesus.

Funny thing, I’d be willing to bet whatever sum of money you like, that the vast majority of those kids crowding our southern border are Christians, come from overwhelmingly Christian nations. But, hey, God’s law, right?

You know, it’s damned convenient how God hates all the same people Bryan Fisher does, isn’t it?

Despite their piety and their tearful respect for Jesus’ compassion and their billions in tax-free genuine US dollars, American Christians can’t spare a dime or a bed or a fucking sandwich for a busload of brown children who are coming from real actual persecution and exploitation and degradation and poverty and horror upon horror.

No, Jesus says fuck ‘em. Get your little brown ass back on the bus, Pendejo!

We’re a nation where half our population decries abortion and birth control. We cry crocodile tears for all the little babies and their oh so precious right to life. But real, live, breathing children? Fuck ‘em! Back on the bus, America has no room for you!

Ah, but of course it’s all Obama’s fault, right?

We wouldn’t be in this pickle if it wasn’t for Barack Obama and his evil plan to brownify America. 

Oh we never had to secure the borders before Obama, by God! He invited them here, these dirty diseased little parasites, didn’t he?

And now it’s all come undone, yes it has.

This, my shiny electronic friends, this is Obama’s Katrina.

That’s what they’re saying right? Obama’s Katrina moment. Oh sure, conservatives have called the BP Oil Spill Obama’s Katrina. And the Fort Hood Shootings. And the NSA leaks. And the Swine Flu outbreak. And the AIG bonus scandal. And the slow economic recovery and the unemployment rate and housing, those were all Obama’s Katrina. There was Hurricane Sandy. There was even a propane shortage in the Midwest that invoked momentary speculation about Obama’s Katrina moment.  And, of course, there was the Affordable Healthcare Act. And Syria, Haiti, and Benghazi. All Obama’s supposed Katrina. 

Why, there was even speculation that Obama’s “Mom Jeans” were going to be his Katrina.

But this, this, at last is Obama’s Katrina.

Those brown children massing on the border? This is finally it for real, man!

That’s what Texas Governor Rick Perry says,

“As I recall President Bush got chastised greatly for not showing up in New Orleans when Katrina occurred.”

Bush had a Katrina, and the partisan scales must be balanced. Conservatives won’t stop until they get equality – Obama must have a true Katrina. And, boy oh boy, this time, this time, they just might have a valid comparison.

A bunch of poor brown people caught in the middle of a humanitarian disaster? Pretend like it’s not our problem. A deadlocked government, too caught up in their own partisan bullshit to take decisive action? Deny the victims food and shelter and medical care and adequate sanitation. Build a wall around them … and shoot any that try to get out? 

That’s what Militia Jesus would do, right? Fuck ‘em, get back on the bus!

Well, maybe Governor Perry is right, because it sure sounds like Katrina to me.

And it’s all Obama’s fault. It’s Obama’s fault that we’ve been propping up and toppling corrupt Central American governments and their various revolutions and insurgencies since Teddy Roosevelt decided to build a canal across Colombia.

And sure, it was Obama who funneled more illicit money than the gross domestic product of entire nations into Central and South America to satiate America’s bottomless lust for cocaine and black tar heroin and weed – oblivious to the bloody violence and the horrifying oppression that results.

It was Obama who ignored the poverty and the disease and the corruption and the exploitation that grows day by day south of our borders – horror so great that children are willing to risk all, willing to risk rape and murder and enslavement and death in the boiling desert, willing to risk the wrath of “Patriots” with their signs and their guns and their Duck Dynasty hats and their well fed bellies spilling over their camouflaged belts, just for a chance – no matter how slim – at America.

Because that’s how it is, you know. I’ve been there, Central America, South America, and I’m not just talking about the spotless tourist beaches in Cabo and Mazatlan and the Disney adventure tours in San Jose where cruise liners the size of Las Vegas hotels arrive to unleash a flood of well heeled gringos come for cheap entertainment and cheap prescription drugs and cheap sex. Where the locals look on in well concealed envy and play their dimwitted roles for a few American dollars, si, Senor! Muchos gracias, Senora! No, I’m talking about the other places too, places in Ecuador and Guatemala and El Salvador and Mexico and Panama and Colombia where it’s so goddamned desperate that people are willing to risk everything, even the lives of their children, for a chance at something better.  It’s so bad that no matter how many barriers we put up, no matter how high the wall or wide the moat, no matter the guns and the barbed wire and the dogs and the confinement centers and the militia, no matter the corpulent Americans waving their signs and screaming hate in purple faced rage, it is still orders of magnitude better than where they came from.

No matter how many times you send them back, they’ll  keep on coming.

Because that’s what America is to them, the golden door.

They are the tired and the poor.

They are the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

They are the wretched refuse of distant teeming shores.

They are the homeless and tempest tossed.

This isn’t an immigration crisis, it’s a humanitarian crisis.

And there is nothing you can do to stop them, short of genocide, short of killing them all. Short of making America into a land so terrible, so horrible, so repulsive, that even those utterly without hope wouldn’t want to come here.

Or…

Or, we could do it another way.

They’re calling this Obama’s Katrina, but Hurricane Katrina didn’t have to play out the way it did. We can learn from our mistakes. We could have rallied as a nation, we Americans, we have it within us to be magnificent, but in our petty selfishness we have lost our union and the sense that we are greater together than apart. All of us.

Hate and fear and rage and selfishness do not have to carry the day.

We do not have to become a fortress nation self-imprisoned behind minefields and barbed wire and machine guns.

We can be the America of that promise.

We can be a welcome shore and a beacon of liberty and freedom and hope for all.

Despite the protests of a selfish few, we are America, and we have more than enough resources, far more than we ourselves need – our garbage, the food we throw away, would feed millions! We can welcome these children, we can give them refuge, we can feed them and heal them and educate them and give them a future. We can give them hope.  And, perhaps, send them back one day with our willing help to remake their own homelands into something better, something equal to the United States, into beacons of liberty and freedom and prosperity in their own right and we can put an end once and for all to the actual causes of illegal immigration and the actual things that caused this humanitarian crisis.

If we truly are the people we claim to be, we would build a new Colossus, a new Statue of Liberty, a hundred times the size of the one in New York’s harbor.

And we’d stand it on our southern border with her lamp held high enough for all to see.

And she would be the very symbol of America, her flame the imprisoned lightning, and her name would be Mother of Exiles.

And from her beacon-hand would glow the world wide message:

Welcome!

Because that, that right there, is the promise of America.

151 comments:

  1. I see the people you describe, those screeching away at the little brown children on the bus, and I am reminded of something else. I am reminded of the photos of ugly white faces screaming at little black children trying to go to school - horrors! - in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education.

    I read something by an apologist for the screamers, who said that people are not angry at the children; they're angry at the government. All fine and good, but they are screaming at the children. At frightened refugee children who dare not scream back.

    This is supposed to be America? I don't think so. The ugliness, the obscenity of the screamers do not represent my country, and I am ashamed of them and for them.

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    1. Okay, I think I see the problem here: EMMA LAZARUS WAS FULL OF SHIT. Anyone who takes a hard look at the history of immigration into America knows that we have NEVER had an open-door policy. My own great-great-grandfather—an officer in the Prussian army—had to change his name (it sounded too Polish) and accept menial labor in order to make a living. Irish-American friends of mine remind me of the signs that read HELP WANTED—NO IRISH. Jewish friends tell similar tales about their ancestors. We dragged Africans here in chains—and we've done our best to make them pay for our bad treatment ever since. Swedes were considered stupid, Germans and Japanese were automatically considered treasonous, and Italians were viewed as dirty over-breeding minions of the Pope.

      The hordes shrieking at the children at our borders are simply carrying on the fine old American tradition of pulling up the ladder behind them as soon as they got in. It might make everybody feel better if we sent ol' Liberty back to the French and stopped pretending we were ever anything but gate keepers.

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    2. The fact that there have always been bigoted nativist idiots, and that they have always ultimately failed, reinforces rather than contradicts the argument of this post
      -Graeme Sutton, Victoria, BC.

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    3. Uh...Emma Lazarus was not describing what was. She was describing what should be. And sorry, old sport, but immigration policy was MUCH easier in the late 19th century, before the eugenicists passed the 1920's laws that favored immigration from northern Europe, excluded Asians (especially the Chinese), and started sending exiles home.

      The history of immigration in this country is much, much more complex than you seem to think it is - and for all the difficulties your ancestor had (and sorry, taking a menial job was probably because he couldn't speak English, and oh yeah, did he try to join the AMERICAN Army? And did he expect special favors because he was, oh yeah, a member of the most arrogant and disliked officer corps on the continent?), one fact remains:

      He got here in the first place, and no one screamed at him, called a racial epithet, and tried to throw back on the boat to Europe.

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    4. Decent comparison....ugly white hateful faces indeed

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    5. Ever hear of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882?

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  2. Thank you, Jim.

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  3. I wish I could give you a standing ovation right now.

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    1. You can. But if you're alone in a coffee shop, it'll get you talked about. Just saying.

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  4. Jim,

    Thank you for this, I have been appalled at the way we have greeted these children and others. I can't imagine being a parent who has had to let their children go on such a horrendous journey as being the better choice. As far as the bible goes, I don't know what Bible these screaming hate mongers read but it's not the same Bible I read. Hatred, fear, anger and bigotry were pretty much all frowned upon in the Bible I have read, especially the New Testament which is supposed to be Christians guide book not the Old Testament. What do I know, I'm just and old bleeding hear liberal hippy. I can't believe how backwards we have gone. Just as an aside I saw a meme that said for the children that were stopped at the border just to tell who ever stopped them that their name was "Fetus". Sad to infer what that means, just exactly what you stated in the your essay. We're very concerned about a cluster of cells but a flesh and blood child, fuck em.

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  5. Yes. To all of what you just wrote, yes.
    If Blogger had a "like" button I would hit it until my fingers bled.

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    1. There's a very popular (if nevertheless somewhat sucky) commenting platform that would fix that. You know, long as you're in a remodeling mood, Jim...

      Speaking of which, place looks nice!

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  6. New template! Shiny! Which Alaska mountain is this? (I'm assuming that's where it is.)

    Jim, your "donate" paragraph? You've got this strange word I've never seen before--"accepreciation"--for "appreciation." At least I believe that's what you meant to say.

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    1. Thanks. Appreciglarble should be fixed now.

      The mountain is Pioneer Peak, here in Palmer, Akaska - basically my backyard. I typically post pictures of this mountain each week on my facebook page.

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    2. A Bushism, perhaps?

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  7. Well done, Jim. Although the government may not have rallied as it should have during Katrina (being led by Brownie and all), many citizens jumped in to help in the year or so afterward. Many church-sponsored mission trips during that time targeted NOLA rather than their typical destinations in the Caribbean and Central American, as the need was so great. It would be interesting to know if any church groups that are currently so vocal about their opposition to the current humanitarian crisis were involved in any Katrina rehab projects.

    One correction to note: "We’re a country were preachers are millionaires" - 'were' should be 'where'.

    Amy from AZ

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    1. Let's not forget a lot of local boat owners trailered down to search for the stranded. How much to do you want to bet many were WW2 or Korea vets?

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  8. Portmanteau for "acceptance and appreciation?

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  9. Bravo, sir. You ever so eloquently put into words the anger and the sadness that I feel. Thank you.

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  10. Good stuff...I can't check 'you are my god', 'I cried', 'I hate you' so I'm going to check 'Squirrel' for lack of a better choice. You have my political vote, if you should ever run for office...that's something, right?

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  11. I'm a big fan of Stonekettle Station, and I've read a lot of things here that made me say, "YES, THIS!!!!" out loud, but this is the first thing I've read here that made me cry.

    I cried because it says everything I want to say about how ashamed I am of us and who we've become, and I've said these same things over and over, but never as eloquently. I cried because I often cry at the words of the New Colossus ... at their beauty and at what those words said about America, and at how far we fall short of them and don't deserve them. If I had one wish that I could be sure would come true, it wouldn't be for money or fame or good health or a long life or any of those things. I would wish more than anything else that we would be the country Emma Lazarus and all of those who read her words on Ellis Island believed we were.

    I know how way more than fortunate we are to live here, to have what we have, to be able to complain about First World problems, to have eating disorders because there's so damn much food we have to puke it up to keep from being the size of mountains ... to have the poorest of us living better than the middle class lives in many other countries. And it makes me sick at heart beyond words that we would rather be what we've become than be be what we could be ... what we were born, as a nation, to be.

    Thank you, Jim, for all of your hard-crafted posts and all of your wonderful words, but especially for this beautiful piece of writing.

    I've shared this on Facebook and asked that anyone who wishes to share it would do so from your website. You are a treasure.

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    1. What Kwach said, right down to the crying. I can't say it any better.

      I'm sitting here with tears running down my face - and it's not because I am a menopausal divorcee with three cats living in a trailer. Honest.

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    2. Me three. Kwach and Terri have it exactly right. (I'm menopausal too, but I only have one cat. Hope that's OK.)

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    3. I also agree so I guess that makes four.

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    4. Make it five, no menopause and a fat horse. Still cried.

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    5. Well said, Kwach. And another great piece, Mr W. I needed to see words written that exactly describe how I feel about this.

      Oh, and I just changed my dog's name to Jim.

      bd

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  12. PS: You never accepted my friend request and I'm hurt beyond words. No really .. it's nothing ... I'll survive. Maybe. ;)

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    1. Send me a facebook IM and introduce yourself. Otherwise I've got nothing to pick you out of the other 1500 friend requests that are currently pending.

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    2. Also the ship load of Jews that no one would take in before WW2. I watched that pompous ass McCain on CNN this morning and wanted to pull him through the screen and strangle him to death. But it is always the hyper religious hypocrites who dont want to share anything. Last Xmas I started a fundraiser at work for donations to a food bank so others could enjoy a holiday dinner and guess what? Not one of the god-fearing, bible thumping creeps donated a miserable cent. Also I sent a friend request that seemed to have been accepted and then I couldn't make comments on FB. Any ideas, suggestions?

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  13. Thank you Jim.


    MrsGunka

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  14. I've been attempting to frame an editorial based upon the same concepts and metaphors, but I just don't have the talent necessary. You do. You said it EXACTLY the way I wish I could have!!

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  15. I throw the bible right back at them. Matthew 25:31-46. Works every time. Spittle flecks and all.

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    1. Good one! I'll try to remember it…

      Freeportguy

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    2. On the rare occasions when Matthew doesn't work, I follow up with:

      Hebrews 13:2

      Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

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  16. This Christian nation of ours is turning into a royal selfish BITCH. Too much fucking tea party tea.

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  17. The snark - she burns :)
    I had to clean the screen after the "canal across Columbia."

    Thank you for another brilliant essay.

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  18. Just another reader impressed as all hell with your eloquence and what you're using it to say. I too remember the screaming ugliness directed at little children in Little Rock in the '50s and Boston in the '70s and I'm so very sorry that these people -- egged on by the worst of the rich and powerful in our society -- are still screaming their ignorant hate at helpless kids. Thank you Jim for writing this.

    Tehanu

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  19. Jim, I hardly know what to say. I'm crying. Thank you for writing this. Every. Single. Word.

    This crisis *is* in my back yard, and some people are behaving little better than those horrible screamers out in California. Much to my surprise, our local newspaper (mostly a RWNJ rag, but with a new editor, so...) is actually *trying* to dispel some of the more outrageous rumors about the children and mothers now here and being housed in unused dorms at FLETC in Artesia, about 40 miles down the road from us--ironically, a Border Patrol training facility. So far no mobs are turning back the transports, but the talk and rumor-mongering is ugly and no telling where it's going to end up.

    I writhe in shame that my country cannot do better than this.

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  20. It's (unfortunately) possible to throw a dart towards any date in American history and find some group of people who would find the ugly screaming rejection more typical of Americans than most of us want to admit.

    However.

    It's easy to find the worst of us. Thank you for speaking to the best in us.

    Back Yard Mountain is very pretty.

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  21. Thank you. Brilliant as always.

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  22. I have to agree with so many previous posters, this is so well written and evocative that I sit here enraged and crying.
    I was discussing this with a friend this morning. The general un -American behavior, the lack of compassion, and total absence of understanding off that wonderful quote from the Statue of Liberty.
    I think everyone should be taught enough to pass the citizenship exam and read the Bible. Then they would actually know the sources they miss-quote so often.
    Thank you again, this bleeding heart, hippy, liberal, Christian, minister applauds you.

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  23. Bravo! You get it, and express yourself so eloquently. Thank you for speaking for all of us that feel the same way.

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  24. I did cry, but I've been crying over the whole damn obscene affair since it began.

    I did laugh at your reaction checkboxes. A PERFECT touch.

    Thank you!

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  25. Once again you say what so many are too cowardly to speak up about. People should be ashamed of themselves.

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  26. The part that makes my head want to explode: The screaming yahoos are utterly terrified of unarmed kids who are already in government custody. People like Bryan Fischer aren't just inciting people to be cruel -- they're inciting and applauding cowardice. And their trying to disguise their demagoguery as either religion or patriotism is just sickening.

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  27. Thank you, Jim. I have been so ashamed of the yellers and screamers. Now I can point them to this essay when they ask me why I don't seem to like them.

    -Paul Cooper

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  28. I'm definitely not the crying type, so I will just say thank you so very, very much for sharing your truly nonpartisan wisdom. I've followed you on FB these last few years, well maybe for one year, and find myself drawn to each publication of 'Stonekettle' like some magnetic force - is there a cure for my addiction?

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    1. Only if you become one of THEM. So, don't fight it - just wallow in the addiction. :)

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  29. I put a check on the "I cried" choice, though it is merely my brain that cries. That said, you are my "Vorbild", my example of how to get others to see what you (and I) see... As always, Thank you, Sir!

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  30. As a Progressive Christian, please remember that we are not all like the Evangelical Conservative hate-mongers you describe. I am a member of Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented, and follow other Christian Left Facebook pages, and all of us who are fed up with being lumped together with these abominations of faux Christianity. Otherwise, I fully agree with you.

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  31. It's a shame that it seems like a large percentage of the American people are hell bent on making this country so undesirable that people will not only not try to get in but will actively start leaving.
    You know like old Mitt's voluntary deportation.
    As to the revenue stream people who really like your blog can do what I have done and disable their ad blocking software for your site.
    It's not much but about all I can afford right now.

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    1. dear nit wit....how do i disable my ad blocking software for jim's site....i have a mac. thanks for your help...

      stephanie

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    2. Adblock Plus on Windows systems has options to turn it off for specific URL's.
      I'm not sure about on a MAC but the same options should be available in any ad blocking software.

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    3. If you have Google Chrome, there's an adblocker called "Ghostery" which allows you to selectively block or allow ads based upon the site. It works with Mac too. :D

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  32. Those people screaming at the bus full of children make me ashamed to be an American; OTOH the mayor of Dallas, who challenged Dallas civic leaders to make room for as many children as they could, made me proud to be a Texan. Which is a hard thing to do these days considering the stupidity of our Governor Pointy Boots.

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  33. Thank you so very much. I am not articulate enough to express my feelings. You have done it for me. Thank you.

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  34. I HATE reversed-out type. Hard to read for those of us with aging eyes. Now I will enlarge the page to 500% or more and read the essay. Thank you for your attention to this matter. (I didn't say I would blow up the page to read it because you get enough threats already.)

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  35. Funny, I could have guessed you'd be in favor of the end of sovereignty of the U.S.A. Go Jim! Welcome the North American Union!

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    1. "...you'd be in favor of the end of sovereignty of the U.S.A."

      Right. That's what I said. Uh huh.

      Thanks for the laugh.

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    2. Abbeyknight, can you say NAFTA.

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    3. That's right baby! Viva La Raza! You gringo suckers got some bad stuff coming your way.

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  36. wait 20 years and all those white fat Christians are minorities...then listen to them weep

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  37. Thank you for writing this essay.

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  38. Could you have another quick button such as, "Hell, yes!"? I am also one of those progressive Christians who doesn't want to consider you a god. I do, however, greatly admire your writing and agree with the sentiments in this essay. It's amazing to me that you/we have to explain the concept of sharing to other so-called adults.

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  39. There. Now I have read the essay. And I will give you money, because it was awesome. And the I will go lie down and rest my eyes.

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  40. Great essay as is almost always the case from you, but please reconsider using white on black text for your new website format--it is extremely hard to read and I want to savor every word--Thanks!

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  41. South Jersey DocJuly 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Jim, you've done it again. Hit it right out of the park. You, Sir, are a wordsmith, an artist of the spoken and written. You are to words what the late, sainted Harry Mabs was to pinball.

    The new look of the website is smashing, too. I'll assume the photography is yours. Nicely done, all around.

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  42. BOOM! there it is!

    you made me cry like a little girl.. i am spamming it on twitter..i honestly think every last american should read this.

    just damn..

    @grim_chikn

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  43. In an odd coincidence of the universe, I started reading this while listening to Woody Guthrie sing "...if you don't have the do-re-mi..." - a reference to the Okies being turned back at the California border in the 30s. In the face of fear, we even turn on our own, as well as those trying to follow us in (as someone mentioned above). I was not surprised by the reaction over this stream of children; saddened but not surprised. Thank you for expressing so well what so many of feel.

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  44. South Jersey DocJuly 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    My first donation (I'd missed the link in my greed to read the article) will be forthcoming after my next Social Security check arrives.

    I cheerfully salute the opportunity to pay, in my small way, for the riches you present to us with such regularity. If you ever find yourself in South Jersey, there'll be some adult beverages for you as well.

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  45. Sir,
    you've done it again and I don't know how you do. I was torn between wanting to applaud and wanting to cry.
    Not to take anything away from you and your beautiful words, I'll just offer two small points;
    1. In a poll a few years back, people in Louisiana blamed Obama for the Katrina response, so I offer that they've used up HIS Katrina.
    2. Damn Bro, you are sexy when you get angry, no disrespect.

    Keep on keeping on.

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  46. You never cease to hit the proverbial nail on the fucking head. I laughed I cried and I've been screaming about this to no avail...and you said it better than I ever could. Not to be a dick, but....lmao. When are the decent people in this country going to wake up and stop the bullshit ?? Silence is the voice of complicity people. I'm over here in my little corner of the corn fields ranting and raving, but no one wants to hear it. I've never been so ashamed to be an American as I have been the past 15 years.

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  47. Thank you sir! very good read!

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  48. Thank you for all that you are doing and expressing and sharing with us. You are keeping me sane. I look forward to every post you make. And reading the comments is also affirming, knowing that your minions are intelligent, diverse, humorous, and well-spoken. An odd thing just happened, when I clicked the Donate button, the type in the post reversed to black on white. Thank you so much for fixing this. The white on black was freaking my eyes out!
    Onward!

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  49. Jim! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for switching to black type/white background! My poor aging eyes are not worthy.

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  50. And the "liberal media" (end sarcasm font) plays the willing mouthpiece to a very vocal minority. The majority of American's- across the board - want this shit to end. People and organizations in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin (I think) all poured out to open shelters, bring supplies, help with the kids, etc. It's the fucktards in Congress who are playing political theater with the purse strings while the mob shake's its pitchforks in front of frightened children and the camera's keep on rolling.

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  51. Thank you Jim. You've eloquently and forcefully said everything that's been rattling around my head....

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  52. Why dont we just throw out the constitution all together and invite every1 living in a 3rd world country to the USA. Then when crime soars and u get a taste of violence from some ms-13 gang member who killed some1 for kicks u can whine and cry and wonder why jesus allows such things. Lets just save the whole fucking world why dont we. We cant, cause well soon b a 3rd world country right along with them. Idiot!

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    1. Ooooh, awesome. I was afraid I'd get all the way through this without one real genuine American Patreeeot weighing in. You know, for Freeeeeeedom!

      Do me a favor, would you Mr. Patriot, show me the article in our Constitution where it says we leave children to die at in poverty and hunger and at the hands of those self-same gangs you're so very very terrified of. Please, show me. I'll wait while you look it up - get your mom to help you with the big words, Okay?

      Oh, and while you're at it, please, Patriot, tell me again about violence. Go on. Tell me about third world countries, and tell the one about how Jesus doesn't want the whole world saved, just America. I love that story.

      Word of advice, NOYB, next time you call me an idiot, try to do it in a paragraph where you're not writing l33t speak like some 13-year old jr high school drooler texting on a cell phone. Okay?

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    2. Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but the United States has a likely undeserved reputation as a land of freedom and opportunity, one that looks pretty damn attractive to people who live in such poverty that most Americans can't remotely comprehend. We've already made the invitation, whether we care to admit it or not. What we need to do now is decide what to do about it. The point the Chief was making with this essay is that no matter how you look at it, through a Christian, geopolitical, or humanitarian paradigm, we're all being pretty damn hypocritical about refusing these children aid, aid that they've risked everything so that they might get in and have a chance at a better life than they had back in their home countries.

      Another consideration that seems to be ignored in this whole furball is that if we deport these kids, who's to say that they won't just come right back to the border and try again? Instead of doing something ineffectual like mass deportations, maybe we should *gasp* do the right thing and take them in?

      Or, we could just annex Mexico, because unprovoked military action always solves our problems. I mean, just look at the success we had in Iraq and Afghanistan; they practically welcomed us as liberators.

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    3. NYOB you are a weak person,just admit it and go back to you ego and hatred,it is in you and can't be removed.

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  53. As a teenager, my father emigrated from the Ukraine to Germany through the midst of WWII and came to the US finally with his mother in 1949 when he was 17 years old. His father had been taken away by the Stalin controlled Soviet authorities when he was a child. By comparison to pre-Marshall Plan postwar Europe, America looked every bit like paradise.

    Now 82 and retired, he looks at this country with an understandable anti-let-the-government-control-everything view, and while supportive, feels that a lot of the social welfare programs get scammed by those who are not truly needy. However, he and I agree on the necessity of there being a place for tired, poor, huddled masses to come to breathe free and marvel at a badly flawed system that regularly sends highly educated college graduates back to their home countries upon completion of their studies instead of allowing them to remain and strengthen our work force. And now, we decide that we don't even want to give these younger than college age in many cases children the opportunity to get an education before we drop kick them back across the border...this foolishness would fail in any decent management class...

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  54. As a mother of a beautiful brown child. I thank-you.

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  55. It will cost each taxpayer $4.35 to raise these kids for a year.

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    1. How much does each taxpayer spend on wars that should not have been started?

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    2. This was localized hourly cost https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/war-in-afghanistan/?state=NM&county=1929

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  56. I've spoken of the need to evacuate the human disaster that is Haiti; its nine million souls would fit comfortably into Texas and our USA could invest Haiti's foreign aid share on Texan soil. That's a much smaller step than we'd take to open our southern border with Mexico, but most experiments are models or symbolic of a larger truth. Oh, and the food issue -- well spoken, Jim. There's more fruit in my day's worth of shampoo than most kids will get today. What has our society become, flipped to just unhinged or flopped as only too happy?

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  57. Jim,

    Thank you for so well stating the reason that we should all abide to. I cry for this great country as a powerful few corrupt the base values we should hold sacred. It’s not just a failure of ethics, it’s a failure of reason. A failure driven by incredibly insecure people who cannot step outside their tiny brained rhetoric and embrace the possibilities. Children begging for an opportunity, which we would turn away, never embracing the potential of what they could bring into our lives.

    Aregeorge

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  58. As one of the poor obese people in this country, I can tell you we aren't fat from the abundance of food. We are fat because of the poor excuse for food we have available. Eat enough stale bread, Ramen noodles and enriched plant protein "beef" stew which has 2 inches of grease on top and is mostly potatoes and salty gravy and you'll get fat, too. Wanna know what our last food pantry package was? Mostly breadsticks and pre-made pizzas with the addition of a salt-water grease-ball of a commodity ham and some cheap ass mac and cheese. The only really decent thing we got was a whole frozen chicken and we only get this package once a month. That kind of diet makes you fat, especially when you're only getting 1 meal a day. All that stuff goes right into fat because we're actually NOT eating regular meals and what we do eat is horrible.

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    1. It's not the food itself, its the processing part. MSG was created to make lab rats fat. And it is addictive. And it is in everything. That and HFC, by majority, is what is creating the obesity epidemic. And that chicken? If it wasn't organically raised- it was pumped full of hormones, anti-biotics and other stuff you just don't want to know about.

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    2. Umm, no, hedgwytch, MSG stands for "monosodium glutamate" which is a natural product. It was not "created" in a lab and the idea you implied about it being designed to make lab rats fat is utterly absurd. It is in fact essential for all life, as it is the salt of an amino acid, present and required in nearly all proteins. MSG is naturally present in fermented soy sauce. It has been used as a food additive food in fermented sauces since before the Romans brewed liquamen, a fish sauce. Modern versions are made in Viet Nam (nuoc mam) and England (Worcestershire) as well as the aforementioned soy. While manufacturers may add MSG to their sauces, that is a shortcut to what is normall present. These sauces are prized because they add the quality known as "umami", a distinctive savory and rich flavor that is typically indicative of high protein content. See e.g. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/3/712S.full
      I pretty much agree with you about HCFS (high fructose corn syrup) and obesity. I would not agree with the extremist claim that HCFS is "poison" (fructose is a natural sugar), but the extra 'empty' calories in sodas and other products is bad. I'm sorry that Anonymous has to use a food pantry and doubly so that he or she gets low quality foods.

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    3. The hunger problem is a whole other ballgame. Ronnie Raygun saw to it that the hungry are now in the same position they were before his "thousand points of light" bullshit. Do yourself a favor and see "A Place At The Table" and you'll be surprised at the reasons that keep hunger & malnutrition an ongoing problem in our country. We had a good handle on it and, along with everything else, have slid backward rather than make progress. So it must be more of our good 'Murican policies at work. The good ol' U. S. of A: Trying to drag us 50 years into the past for the last 30 years.

      Pam in PA

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  59. Unfortunately this attitude is not limited to the good ol US of A. I Live down under (that land of meat pies kangaroos and holden cars [ though now apparently also "blooming onions" ???!!])
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IaKVmkXuk#t=24
    The last 4 Federal Governments (Conservative, Progressive, Progressive and now Conservative again) have continually followed similar "principles"
    Unfortunately we are an island nation so it is not busses but boats that are met outside territorial waters by warships

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  60. And of course, one of the towering points of idiocy in all the rage against President Obama comes from those who don't or can't understand his actions towards the underage refugees follow U.S. law established by the man who immediately preceded Obama in office. *SIGH*

    (hitting the "home" button to go find that "donate" doohickey)

    Scott Burnell

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  61. Ignorance is a curse, and here in 'Ceptional Murica, we are surrounded by millions who have never heard of the Massacre at Sand Creek, or Wounded Knee, or hundreds of other stories of oppression, rape, criminal theft, and murder done by the US Government.

    Bottom line is that back in the 16th and 17th century, we "white" folks came over here and assumed we could take whatever we wanted. It was called manifest destiny by the preachers. Meaning that God had chosen the Euro folks to inherit this land, and the people that had been here for 100,000 years before us were not to be an obstacle.

    We slaughtered the natives in their thousands and millions.. We stole their lands, imprisoned their children in re-education camps, forced them to adopt the
    "Christian" religion, and exiled them to a few miserable chunks of land that no one else wanted. The suffering and heart rending cries echo to this day for those who have ears to hear.

    Eventually, we broke hundreds of legally signed treaties and real estate agreements with the native tribes. Think about that. Our Federal and state governments officially committed criminal acts, and to this day few US citizens realize it and most never think about it.

    The irony is too great to comprehend, in that we have so many who are ignorant of what's transpired in history, and they have the stupidity to yell and scream at children caught in a another maelstrom of suffering and misery.

    I am appalled and embarrassed every day by the ignorance and prejudice of my fellow citizens. Ignorance is a real curse.


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    1. Jkarov, thank you! This subject has been a thorn in my side since I was a kid.

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    2. Ignorance may be a curse to us, but NEVER for Republicans. Republicans thrive where ignorance lives. Ignorance is the #1 reason the Republicans hate our public schools. They want the populace to be ignorant, which is why when they become Governors they shut down as many public schools as possible. If you are an educated, thoughtful, sentient being and not a rich, educated and soulless prick then more than likely you do not vote Republican. The LAST thing they want cropping up out of the public school system is another Obama or heaven forbid even a brown one (bang...republican head explosion). You can never say Republicans do not plan ahead, especially when it comes to elections. Not governing....just elections.

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  62. Nick formerly from the O.C.July 13, 2014 at 5:02 AM

    There is nothing in this op/ed piece with which I disagree. If anything, it doesn't go far enough. At the base of the new Estatua de Libertad we need a welcome center to start the assimilation process. The incoming children need to be interviewed and evaluated and their needs determined, so that we can meet them.

    It's the right thing to do. Plus, think of all the jobs that will be created.

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  63. This is the most wonderful and powerful piece I have seen yet about this crisis! These are children, this IS humanitarian. Even though we are "poor" we do have an airbed and a couch. We have food and safety and compassion and even speak a little Spanish. What would happen if all of us who cared opened their hearts and homes to these children until they could be safely taken back to their families? We'd need help with medical care, even the best healed of us, as it is expensive and these children need it. The images I can't get out of my mind are of the older siblings or cousins carrying babies and young children only to be separated at these detention centers. How terrifying for a child! I am at a loss for the Christian values that keep getting changed to support whatever agenda the conservatives deem correct. That is NOT the majority of Americans, we have lost our voice because we don't have a ton of money and bought influence on Capitol Hill. I believe in your dream for a new beacon on our boarders and a reawakening of our true American spirit. You are a hero in my book for speaking out for those with no voice.

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  64. Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates...

    Not to be picky, but wouldn't our "Sunset gates" be at the, you know sunset end of the country?
    Was this perhaps one of those poetical oopsies that was too late to be fixed, being cast in bronze and all, which is kinda hard to erase, and they don't make a Liquid paper that color?

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    1. Maybe it depends upon your perspective. If you are coming from Europe to America, you're heading west following the sunset, not the sunrise.

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    2. If you are coming from Europe to America, you're heading west following the sunset, not the sunrise.

      I thought of that, but I don't see how they can be our sunset gates if all we see is the sunrise.
      Then again, what do I expect from a poet, anyway, realism?

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    3. Consider how language has changed in a century. I always took that line to mean "set about by the sun" - i.e., our shores run from East to West, and are generally far sunnier than those of the UK and Western Europe.

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  65. Right there with ya, Anthony. Rawlings and Jenkins did a great job of showing the world what governor good hair is really like.

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  66. Thank you for a very thought-provoking essay. It should be on the front page of every newspaper for all to read.
    Just this week I got a call from a "Christian" woman complaining about Obama letting all these children into our country and ordering them to be vaccinated, so they can be put into our school system. How hypocrital!
    America has become so selfcentered in amassing material things, hating Obama fueled by inciteful pundits, that we have lost sight of the important things. Why can't these mega chur ches, movie stars, professional sports stars, billionares, etc give a portion to humanitarian needs in this country? I'm so tired of seeing the kartrashians and others in the news flaunting their wealth. The media has lost sight of what is real news.
    You state the real issues in an eloquent way.

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  67. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

    "Good for me, not for thee." The standard conservative mantra "I've got mine, screw you". When one goes as far as invoking God himself to defend and justify his closed borders policies, he is proving having NO understanding or care whatsoever for the TRUE Christian philosophy.

    Shameless conservatives.

    Freeportguy

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  68. Thank you, my feelings exactly. Luckily or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, I am not very good at expressing my feelings. That's why I posted you to facebook, I'm so tired of the hatred, the unthinking following of halfwits who don't know what they are talking about. I hope they give you the traffic and read the whole thing.

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  69. Really like your writing Jim thank you, but need a minor edit
    " The same Jesus who got himself nailed to cross for breaking secular law and the edicts of the local religious leaders?" needs an a or the between to and cross

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  70. You are well respected for your ability to articulate what so many of us are feeling who follow you. Love the new look!

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  71. Thank you thank you thank you for the change in type. SO much easier to read what needs to be said!

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  72. "Because that, that right there, is the promise of America." Outstanding. These kids are here, in the system, awaiting hearings - by US law. They are not illegal. And they REALLY are not a political football.

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  73. Yes. Because Jesus--the one whose parents fled a government that was willing to harm him all the way to another country--would clearly be opposed to foreign children taking refuge in a safe land. Thanks Mega-churches!

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  74. Much as the statue says we welcome them, we have never really welcomed immigrants here. Our grandparents had to deal with immigrant hate, especially if you had Irish in your background. We treated Germans badly during WWII, and woe betide you if you were Japanese- into prison camps only just a touch shy of the kind we stated were so bad in other countries. But we didn't "purposefully " kill anyone. If you're black in America, several times in our history your life has not meant crap all.

    We've dealt with it in our lifetimes, with people from the Middle East who are hated upon as Muslim, by people who wouldn't know a Muslim if they tripped over one in their living room. Hating on the Bosnians, who came here fleeing death in their own country. Hating on the Koreans. Hating on everyone who is not white and of European descent.

    And it doesn't stop there- if you're white and poor, you're trash, lazy, not worth the skin you're in - even when you can show plenty of evidence against that. And it gets worse- if you are not Christian, you are also scum, and if you combine poor and not Christian - bring on the pitchforks and torches.

    If I could, I would take in some of these children. If it were allowed. But alas, I'm not rich enough by our own government standards - and those who are will not take them in. Sadly, they see putting these kids in warehouses with one adult per 15 kids as better than sending them to a home where they would get decent food, a bed to sleep in and be shown that they are worth something.

    I am fully disgusted with our country on many levels this week - this is just one.

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  75. I don't understand how anyone cannot feel for these children in such desperate situations. I also am sorry for the children of those who are hateful and will likely grow up to be the next generation of haters. " You've got to be carefully taught."

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  76. As always, thank you, Jim. If we could rise to this challenge, as a people, it could be a transforming moment for this nation. But we will, as usual, muddle through. The screamers will keep screaming their hatred. The doers will quietly mobilize and do what they can (and they can do a great deal. Various churches and groups are already mobilizing here in Texas.), though the media will largely ignore those efforts. I understand our Governor Good Hair even said that this whole crisis has been manufactured by Obama. I keep wondering how. Meanwhile, our diocese is supporting the Diocese of West Texas, which is the home of the churches down in the Valley who are bearing the brunt.
    When I was young, I, like many of your responders, said that I was "ashamed of America" or "ashamed to be an American." It was during Viet Nam, and my poorer classmates were being sent over there, while my richer classmates were getting deferments and going off to college. Then I went as an exchange student to France. It was during one of France's periodic "We hate all things American" periods; DeGaulle had just disinvited our military from keeping bases there, I think. Anyhow, I ended up in Normandy. Funnily enough, there wasn't any anti-American feeling there. My hosts took me to Arromanche. They took me to Point du Hoc. We visited the cemetery. It changed me. I have never again said that I was ashamed of being an American or ashamed of America. Certainly I get disgusted at what I see, but that is all a part of this crazy experiment we are living out. They screamers will scream out their hate and huddle in their fear. But a hell of a lot of decent folks will roll up their sleeves and step up and do the right thing. It won't make the news, but it will get doe all the same. We could publicly acknowledge it, and it could be transformative, as you so rightly stated. But in the end the only thing that matters is that the work gets done. The children will be taken care of. There are already good people stepping up to do it. For every screamer waving a sign outside the buses, there will be a quiet friendly person reaching out. Moe than one, actually. The good people do outnumber the bad in this country. Always have. They don't get noticed because they aren't in it for the recognition. As a nation, we wouldn't have survived this long if the good ones didn't outnumber the bad. As a kid, I saw the graves of a lot of the quiet good ones, there on that foreign soil. And I will never be ashamed of this nation again. This morning in my church, we were told what our little tiny corner is mobilizing to do, and how we can best help. These are the real people of this country. Not one of us is helpless. We can all send a few dollars to the people on the ground, taking care of the kids.
    By the way, after Katrina, the Democratic mayor of my city, and the Republican County Judge of my county, had all the school buses gassed up and ready to head east to NOLA to collect the people stranded there. Governor Good Hair said, "No. We don't want those people here in our state." A couple of day slater, as the situation did not improve, but instead grew worse, our mayor and our County judge went ahead and sent hose buses, and brought the people to Houston. Lots of the screamers were unhappy, yelling about soaring crime rates and gang violence and overcrowded schools. You know what? Our city survived. Lots of those people stayed here. Lots have gone back. We have better Cajun food in this town than we ever had before. We did the right thing, in spite of our governor, in spite of the screamers. -Martha Zimmerman

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    1. Martha, the good does tend to rise above the evil, but in this country it's too much what is sensational, what can make a buck, what can give/take more control which gets the attention.

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  77. Replies
    1. YOU are what is wrong with this country. Not these children. Not the President. YOU and people JUST LIKE YOU.

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  78. Even with Obama instead of W most people have no idea how embarrassing it is to be an American living outside the U.S. Sadly, I think a large majority of the rest of the people in the world are dumbfounded when they read or hear stories like this and other stupid things Americans think and do. They understand why the desperate poor would try anything to get into the U.S., but wouldn't think of doing it themselves even if it were legally possible. In fact, they tell it to my face. For me, the screamers make me sick and come real close to a convincing argument never to move back.

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  79. Mr. Wright, your writing is definitely worth money but this essay is priceless. You are a very gifted man. Thank you for sharing that gift with the world.

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  80. Every time I see these children I think of their parents. How absolutely fucking desperate is your situation that you would allow your twelve-year-old daughter (or son, for that matter) to travel alone thousands of miles to a foreign country, where they will be watched over by God knows who, where they don't know anyone, and where, for at least some of the trip, they'll be riding on the top of a train, unsecured. I look at my own little girl and wonder if I could ever do that and, if I could, how horrible would our lives have to be for me to decide that sending her on such a trip would be her best hope?

    When I see these morons yelling and screaming I think "These are fucking children, you fat, worthless blob of a human being! Have you not an ounce of compassion or empathy?"

    We should unload the kids, load these idiots onto the buses, and ship them down to Central America to live for a few months. Maybe when they come back their experiences down there would have instilled in them some human decency.

    Again, Chief, you've put the words together perfectly. Donation inbound.

    Jon Wolff

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  81. It seems that I am forever thanking you, Jim. With each essay you write, I feel like my own thoughts are being expressed. You give voice to so many of us who share your point of view - this is a huge gift that you give us and one that is so very appreciated. I walk thru this current political climate, hearing my neighbors in my community, and some of my friends express polar opposite views to mine, yet we are all mostly of the same religion and with the same socio-economic background. I feel lost and alone and filled with worry as to what will become of our Country. This latest crisis seems like an easy one to overcome - that is what America was founded on. Who among us is not from immigrant parents at some time, other than our Native Americans? The anger and fear seems to have once again taken over the media but there are many of us here in SoCal who are rallying to help these people despite the rhetoric being spewed politically. Sadly, funding for the resources needed seems to fuel much of the fear and anger from what I hear in our local communities - something that could easily be put in place if we had a working Congress. Until then, it seems we can only sit back and watch while our citizens and politicians tear each other further and further apart because of political ideology. So sad and worrying for the future of our children and for those trying to find safe harbor here in America. It has been heartwrenching watching this all play out so thank you for your thoughts.

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  82. The original meaning of the statue and the Lazarus poem are completely at odds. The statue was originally named "Liberty Enlightening the World". It's message was that the US overcame great obstacles, including abolition and the civil war, and was an example of freedom for other countries to follow. Yes, the country solicited Europeans to populate the westward expansion because they had much in common culturally, with the idea of liberty closely linked to French Enlightenment thinkers and law roughly approximating the British Constitution and common law. It had nothing to do with huddled masses. That plaque was added two decades later, and not by the French who gave us the statue.

    At least he immigrants who came through Ellis Island were invited and properly processed before being allowed entry. They didn't swim the Hudson River and jump a fence.

    I'm not aware of anyone who opposes legal immigration of brown skinned people, so this is straw man argument.

    That said, I fully understand why Central Americans want to escape the violence. The first part of the solution is to end the destructive war on drugs whose vast sums of money, including aid from the US, complete corrupts Central American governments, law enforcement, and militaries. Whether legitimate democratic institutions arise in there place and make Guatemala livable is to be seen, but there is no chance of them right now.

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  83. Rarely have I ever found any author's forum where I agree almost totally with all the author's opinions. You're a good man, Mr. Wright, and thank you.

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  84. Thank you Mr. Wright for putting into words what so many of us can not. I too believe the good go quietly unnoticed, but we need to read your words. Thank you

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  85. Mr. Wright, I like the new site. Very classy. I'm wondering when the god-bothering, fetus worshipers are going to stand up as Christians and and take in some of these kids. I, for one, won't be holding my breath. The looks on some of the people protesting that bus filled with kids reminded me of the masks of pure hatred that greeted the first African-American kids to go to integrated southern schools. Will nothing ever change?

    Peace
    Chris in South Jersey

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  86. Excellent post. Enjoyed reading the entire message. Wish the politicians and clergy would get back to the work of taking care of people not partisan opposition. And Yes, they will blame President Obama for the debacle .

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  87. Wonderful writing. My mother was a Norwegian war bride, and arrived in NY harbor on 4th July 1945. She married an American GI in Norway after the occupation. The Nazis had burned down their home and the family scattered. She spoke no English, was a terrified 22 year old girl, leaving her family and home. Our nation was built with stories like hers. We can never forget who we are. Thank you.

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  88. Glad to see you back and like the new decor. A phenomenal post, as always.

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  89. Another great blog. I wish some of these folks who are out there protesting the mostly young children would actually look at themselves and what they are doing. Are they so afraid of everything. And god help me when I hear these ignorant politicians especially Louie G from Texas, say all the crap he is saying, seriously you are afraid of that 5-year old with a crayon and coloring book. (yep I am pretty embarrassed to say I am from Texas, the land of Louie and Governor Good Hair). But sadly all the people who are protesting and everything are doing it because these are little brown children, they are being whipped into a frenzy by the likes of the people over at Faux. I pray everyday that one of these gun-toting fools does not do something stupid. But thank you Jim for being right on yet again.

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  90. Splendid article! Please don't let some right-winger read this and think, "You know, genocide *could* be a good way to respond to this . . ."

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  91. These children will grow up. It won't be long, either. Where will they be? Who will they be? It's not like they're going to simply disappear just because the bus turns around. At the risk of sounding trite or Pollyanna-ish, love is the answer.

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  92. An elderly woman struck up a conversation with us in a diner the other day. It was very pleasant, until she brought up 'that illegal immigration crisis going on down south'. Pretty sure I visibly cringed a bit at her choice of words, but all I could manage to say was, "Well, yeah... some people would call them that. But a lot of them are just kids, travelling hundreds of miles all by themselves... I call them refugees."
    It got awkward then, and she chose that moment to take her leave. But I hope she thinks about it.

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    1. A lot of them may be just kids, as the media reports, but many are grown adults, gang members. Heck, even drug dealers/runners. I'm sure word got out in their respective countries/cities/towns...come to America and we'll take care of you. We'll give you housing, food, health-care, clothing...anything you want or need. It doesn't take much to figure out that in return all we ask for is your vote when the time comes.

      What's wrong with American's being upset when their own government can't/won't take care of their own? Perfect example is the crime in Chicago, Detroit, and other cities. Even the debacle of the Veteran's that proudly served THEIR country, only to be put on endless waiting lists to see a doctor and get the care they were promised. That's a sample of where the outrage is coming from. What's wrong with that? America is the Promised land. But promises aren't always kept.

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  93. Population of host countries with 1 million cumulative refugees | 2003 - 2012

    Countries of asylum Total
    Kenya 3,668,400
    Jordan 2,727,200
    Thailand 1,230,800
    Yemen 1,385,900
    Syrian Arab Republic 6,020,600
    Ethiopia 1,562,300
    Uganda 2,089,700
    Chad 3,020,400
    United Rep. of Tanzania 3,338,500
    Pakistan 15,042,300
    Egypt 1,010,700
    Nepal 1,105,000
    Zambia 1,052,100
    Dem. Rep. of the Congo 1,754,300
    Islamic Republic of Iran 9,824,000
    Sudan 1,553,100
    Algeria 1,093,900
    China 2,105,000
    Venezuela (Boliv. Rep. of) 1,102,800
    Saudi Arabia 1,448,100
    France 1,549,600
    Total 63,684,700

    extracted from a table in UNHCR Statistical Year book 2012

    Some of the poorest countries in the world are taking in refugees with the help of the UN. Do you think we should apply for UN help?

    If people can feel for the plight of the native peoples that lost out in this country, perhaps they can also feel for the population that is having another culture roll over and surround them. I remember my aged mother's distress at not being able to understand the chat of the nursing aides around her. She and people her age and people my age don't necessarily have the ability to learn a new language.

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  94. This was a great post. the one issue I have never heard brought up in connection with this crisis is the story of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. Now a popular feel-good movie, those boys walked accross deserts and lived in camps and were finally given homes and sponsored into countries where they were cared for and educated. There were about 20,000 of them. After the treaty of 2005, some of them returned to Sudan to work for improvement. This was not all butterflies and unicorns for them after they made their journies, but they did not all devolve into mob-like criminals nor did they spread didease and plague-like death in their host countries. They just grew into adults and started doing what adults do. Might be good to remind some of those rabid, fear-filled Christians that their God demands that they sell all they have in order to feed the poor, care for the lepers, and clothe the homeless. Otherwise they do not get to go to the magic place in the sky when they die.

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  95. My first attraction was that you were a CWO. I have a soft spot for the Navy. My son served proudly for 10 years.

    Came for the attraction - stayed for what you said. I have read several of your posts. They have, each, encapsulated my thoughts exactly. I have been so angry and not nearly so eloquent. I've appreciated each one. Thank you. k

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  96. Please this: ''Or, we could do it another way.''
    But please not try to make everywhere like America, the world might just be a bigger place than the good ol' USA

    Diff'rnt strokes for different folks

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  97. Look up food deserts. As someone who came up hungry in america and comes from a family of fat folks-- I really want you to understand why there is a correlation between poverty and obesity: HINT-- its not because poor people have sooooo much food.

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    1. Look, you're taking one line personally and missing everything else.

      I get it. Poor people are obese in America because they get shitty food. The calories are packed into cheap carbs and sugars and so on. But they get the calories and enough to grow obese. I'm not blaming poor people for it, nor am I implying directly or indirectly that poor people are fat because they get "soooooo much food." I didn't say that, you did.

      Again, you're taking what I said personally instead of looking at it in context. Those kids on the border, they're not even getting shitty calories. They're hungry.

      We're the only country that has obese poor people - AGAIN, NOT NECESSARILY THEIR FAULT - but you don't see a whole hell of a lot of poor Somalis or Guatemalans with the same problem. America has so much, we can afford to throw junk food at poor people without a second thought and then complain about an "epidemic of obesity."

      That's my point here.

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  98. Jim: I can see that I am gonna spend a lot of time crying over what I read coming out of you: Our similar sense of compassion (and outrage) is so the same, tears pour out of this crazy old man here.....Thank you, Jim.....Thank you, Pete, for showing me the way to Stonekettle......My love to you both, and as always, to all sentient beings in all worlds.....Thanks, Jim.......yogi, tucson desert......

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  99. Since I'm at a loss for words all I can seem to get out is Thank you Jim.

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  100. We have, as usual, been down this sorry road before. A few years ago I put together a cabaret show about the Vaudeville era (roughly 1890-1930). The more I looked at the social and political climate of a century ago, the more I started getting a sense of deja vu.

    We had a massive wave of immigration early in the last century. Then, as now, most of the immigrants were "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" and then, as now, they were hated by many of the people who were already here. And many of them weren't white.

    This was back when the term "white" was more exlusive than it is now. Catholics weren't white. Neither were Jews. All of the grotesque characteristics psychos like Louie Gohmert are attibuting to refugees from the south were routinely applied, back then, to the Irish, Italians, Russians—pretty much everyone who wasn't a white Anglo-Saxon protestant.

    For a revealing look at turn of the century attitudes towards immigrants, few things are more revealing than the film "Fights of the Nations" by inventor and rabid bigot Thomas Edison: http://www.loc.gov/item/varsmp.2412s1

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