One of my recently favorite shows is about time travel. Two groups of Americans are traveling through history, each one trying to ‘save’ the present/future by stopping the other group. The ongoing question is whether it would be better to change history – save Lincoln, kill Capone – or if it’s best to keep history the way it was, even if that reality was really quite horrible. They chase each other through history trying to solve the debate.
I’m not quite sure why I love the show – it’s a hapless mix of history, sci-fi, and drama – and while the characters are great, the plot is unbelievable and confusing.
Maybe I love it because I love hero stories. On the days when nothing I do seems to make a real difference in the world, it’s fun to get lost in a story where average people really DO make a difference. Even if that difference is all make – believe.
Many of my regular readers noticed that I haven’t posted in 3 weeks, which is a long break. The Graduate Preaching Fellowship continues, but my focus is changing. Due to the recent Executive Order from the US president, most agencies that work with refugees in the US have to lay off employees and will, effectively, be helping fewer refugees for the next 4 years*.
While the goal was always to transition to Latino Immigration around this time of the school year, it’s hard to be objective during a time of great political turmoil. Thanks for your patience, dear readers, while I process myself what the future might hold for us.
I don’t have a time machine. I can’t go back to change the past, and I can’t predict the future. So how do I know what to do now?
So, dear readers, I’m still going to be posting stories and pictures about my work in MI and around the US and Latin America as I learn more about immigrants and refugees in Michigan, in the US, and around the world.
Until then, I share with you this poem on which I’ve been reflecting:
I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And now
is when they need you to be brave.
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
is when it will all be clear to them.
*Even if the Executive order might be found to be in part illegal, the president has effectively stopped additional refugee entries for 120 days and has decreased 2017 entries by 50%. During the court appeals process, refugees which have already received legal visas to enter the US might be able to do so, but as the Office of Refugee Resettlement isn’t “officially” placing refugees from Feb-May, they’re also choosing not to pay the agencies which resettle those refugees during that time. Whether the President ‘wins’ or ‘loses’ the court case, refugees are ‘losing’ the chance to resettle here. .