Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The (Relative) Calm Before the Storm is Practically Over/ people like us

I'm bracing myself, I really am. Just waiting for the next horror to unfold and make me anxious and upset.

I meant to post this yesterday, when the new policies on immigration weren't out yet and I could have written that the calm was almost, but not yet, over. Sigh... this new  "regime" of #45 is relentlessly upsetting (I was going to create a new and unfortunate #45 label for the blog, but I already have "Unprecedented times," so I'll keep that instead). 

The worst part about all of this is the utter despair that it's not a far fetched possibility that there will be EIGHT LONG YEARS of this nightmare. And by then it may be too late to reverse the damage done to the country (whose democracy and prominent position in the world may be very well be destroyed), to the environment, to the lives of countless people who will be hurt by the immigration laws and the healthcare act's demise. People will die. And, there may be war, an even worse prospect.



Why would anyone want to go to war? This horrible man Bannon, which SNL displays as death personified, wants to do just that. Some people profit from wars, other people actually enjoy inflicting suffering on others they disagree with. (Shudder)

How will this country be in four or eight years? How will the world be?

By the way it's going, it seems that in this country truth and facts won't matter, racial and gender tensions will become worse and horrible, the rich will be richer still and the poor more destitute. What else?

The past two weeks have given me some small, but much needed respite, but I wish I could have hope! :-( There is no hope. Even my optimist husband is gloomy, upset and discouraged. He refuses to watch SNL because he doesn't think it's funny. He watches Steven Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers instead.

I read those new memes on facebook, the one about the "I will not work with him" to do this and that and this long list of horrible setbacks which you're supposed to cut and paste and add your name to the end; or the one about the country "being great again" because everyone is mobilized, getting informed, calling their representatives, etc. and I just feel worse and worse.

There are news and calls to protest events and countless appeals for signing this or that petition show up, and I am truly thankful that nearly everyone I'm friends with on FB feels that same way. And then these horrible articles are published about how we're isolating ourselves and only interacting with like-minded people and not trying to understand the other side.

How can we understand the other side, though? HOW?? I'm truly afraid to talk to most people in my church for fear that we have next to nothing in common except for our religious denomination/faith. I cringe to think that one of my son's teachers (soon to be homeroom teacher for 8th grade in September, my older son's teacher in both 7th and 8th grade) went to the inauguration. I don't want to talk to him about any of these things. How can I? It's too personal for me, being an immigrant and all... I don't feel like I can talk to anyone without breaking down into sobs and making them really uncomfortable. But maybe I should? I probably wouldn't cry, I would just sound so angry and upset I'd be incoherent and unable to formulate good arguments. I just can't bring myself to talk about politics with anyone. Sigh...

people like you and me

Last, but not least, a few quick words about the three families from Aleppo we are sponsoring. I have met one of them, the young man in his early 20s who came with his parents and whose apartment we helped rent. He came to church twice and sat with our family. The day I met him, it was hard, very hard, not to cry. I quietly followed him and my husband to our seat, almost biting my lip, crying inwardly. Just thinking about the other two family and their 7 children makes me want to sit down and cry and cry at the outrageous thought of not helping such families, such people.

Such a handsome young man. Dark hair, black rimmed glasses, shy and quiet, doesn't speak much English. His family is Yazidi, BTW, that's why he came to visit our church, the other families are Muslim.

I got some snippets of news from our friend who lives in their same town and has visited often the two families and taken them to the doctor/hospital, etc. (the 2 year old girl of the youngest couple was having lots of trouble with her legs, I don't know if there was a diagnosis yet). The older couple who has four children, twin boy and girl (14), two boys (11 or 12 and 9) probably had their application for refugee status granted because the middle boy has autism. After they'd left Aleppo to Turkey 4 years ago the children had never been able to go to school. The autistic boy had actually never been to school. After all their paperwork and immunizations got straightened out, they went to school and the boy with autism loved it. So much so that the next day he got up and got dressed on his own and was next to the door waiting for the bus.

If that doesn't make you want to cry, I don't know what will.

Then, two weeks ago my friend posted that one of the twins and the boy with autism had gotten hearing aids and had been able to hear their mother's voice clearly for the first time. The fathers are working and our pastor helped them buy a car so they can drive to work. The 20+ year old young man doesn't like it here because it's very rural and there's nothing going on -- social life is intense in Middle Eastern countries. I hope that after they get work and apply for their residency they can move to a place that will suit them better.

One of the things I hated the first day that young man came to church, about 12 days after their arrival and 7 days after the travel ban was issued was how several people kept telling him: "You came just in time! You're so lucky!" Why did they need to point that out? Sigh...

Maybe I'll get to meet the other families this coming weekend. I'll let you know more about it when I can. And soon the next storm will start, that will impact the lives of many more people like them -- like us. :-(


What Now? said...

I can't even imagine what it's like to be an immigrant and hear the unrelenting bad news. It's bad enough as someone who isn't an immigrant. I have a dear friend who is married to a Muslim immigrant from Iran, and their family is all so depressed that they just seem broken these days.

And it must be so hard to wonder if the folks at your church may be pro-Trump. I've always gone to pretty lefty churches (and, now, synagogue) because that's who would welcome a lesbian, so I've never had to face that worry of worshiping with people whose values I disagree with so fundamentally.

jo(e) said...

Yes, to all of this. I live in a rural neighborhood that last summer was filled with Trump signs. These are difficult times.