Do the Right Thing

Can you imagine how horrible things would have to be for you to grab your babies and attempt to cross the ocean in a rubber dinghy? How bad must life be when that’s your only option?

Some people say we cannot take in refugees because we have our own homeless population to contend with.

Our homeless brothers and sisters have been on the streets for decades, and it seems rather like cheating to now use them as our best excuse for closing our borders to refugees. Some say, “We can’t even feed our own people!” But in a country where we throw away 40 percent of our food every year, why can’t we? We produce nearly twice as much as we consume, and what we don’t consume ends up in landfills.

If we are being honest, we must admit that we are a nation that holds its poor in contempt:

I work; why can’t they? Why should my taxes be used to pay for someone else’s healthcare?  The person in front of me bought a steak with food stamps, and here I am, a hard-working, tax-paying, patriotic American, and I can only afford fish sticks.

Yet in the face of aiding foreigners, those for whom we hold this contempt suddenly become our precious darlings (in word if not in deed). If we never provide succor to another refugee, our homeless will still be homeless. And at the metaphorical stroke of midnight when the refugee crisis has run its course, our precious darlings will once again become the contemptible fringe.

I believe that the universe gives us multiple opportunities to do things better in spite of our long history of doing things worse. In the 30s when Hitler was unleashing unthinkable torture on our fellow humans, Americans were frothing at the mouth at opening our borders to those ‘Jesus-killing Jews.’ In the 40s when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, we rounded up our AMERICAN neighbors and put them in internment camps. After the Vietnam War, it was the ‘Commies’ that we couldn’t let in because they would destroy our American way of life. And here we are again at the same threshold, and this time it’s the ‘Muslim terrorists.’ How many times will a karmic opportunity present itself before we, as a nation, do the right thing?