Thursday, July 04, 2019

On This Day

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

I have always loved the Fourth of July. Even as a kid living in poverty in Southern California, the holiday always seemed to produce the twin smells of grilling and fireworks that seemed to epitomize the promise of summer and youth and even now makes me smile.

This year I am having difficulty with the day. Not because of a lack of love for my country. I am grateful to call this flawed place my home. I am indebted to those who came before me and those currently serving including several family members, to secure freedoms for me and us. It is our responsibility now to pursue greater justice for our fellow citizens who, in various and historical capacities have been denied equality of opportunity that others have enjoyed. Further, it is our obligation to ensure that our values are not compromised by those elected in our name.

I am having difficulty with the day because as I write, there are thousands of my fellow humans, many of them children, in camps constructed for their detainment. Conditions in these camps are horrendous by most metrics. Conditions that could very well be a ticking time bomb if not systematically addressed. Regardless of how we got here, humanity ought to be non-partisan. In light of Independence Day, and that it is a celebration of the promise of individual freedom, celebrating with those children in mind seems to have lost a little of its luster or now.

Therefore, I want to encourage any and all who are still reading this melancholy reflection to do something. Before you fire up the grill, crack open a beer or let loose aerial illuminations, contact your legislators and tell them you want this to stop immediately. Tell them you want them to stop traumatizing children and reunite families. Tell them you want genuine comprehensive immigration reform and a Marshall Plan for Central America that will deal with many of the causes of our current situation.

Tell them that you'll watch how they respond...and then actually do it.

Let them know that mercy, grace and forbearance are some of our greatest democratic principles.

If you live in Clark County and Washington state, doing so is just a click away:

If you live in a different state, click here

If you are fortunate enough to have a 401(k) or mutual fund, do what I did-find out if you might be inadvertently financing for-profit prisons like the companies running these camps. If you are, contact the broker and tell them you want them to take action against these investments. Nobody should profit from the imprisonment of another person, even if you have committed a crime but especially not children. It is immoral and has the stench of human misery associated with it.

I will celebrate our nation's birth. But not before I do my homework. In all of it's difficult past and uncertain future, she is worth it. Making sure that our national soul and promise is alive for those children and others like them, it is worth it. It is also worth remembering that our ideals are not necessarily a definitive destination, but a continuous work in progress that often means we must look ourselves in the mirror and course correct.

Posting, liking, commenting is not activism.

Acting on principle is activism.

It worked 243 years ago.