I’m always tickled when someone takes my thoughts and expresses them better than I can. For example, “Walking Alone in Late Winter,” a poem by Jane Kenyon, begins: How long the winter has lasted – like a Mahler / symphony, or an hour in the dentist’s chair… Perfect!
This year winter has seemed the longest ever. But I see signs of spring. On March tenth, I saw two Bluebirds and my heart took-wing. The phrase “bluebird of happiness” flit through my mind. On March eleventh, the first bud on my Clivia plant, trumpeted open with fanfare. Slowly the greening grass peeks above the snow and shouts “Hello!”
Most mornings, regardless of the weather, my bright light comes over the airwaves. Today, the highlight of my morning was listening to Steve Inskeep who is audio-journaling his way east to west along the U.S.-Mexican boundary. “Borderland: Dispatches From the U.S. – Mexico Boundary” is bound to get you thinking. You can follow Inskeep’s trip on NPR Morning Edition. Today, Inskeep reported from Hidalgo, Texas where he watched the interception of 18 immigrants. http://www.npr.org/2014/03/21/292225742/for-illegal-immigrants-journey-to-u-s-soil-cut-short.
(At this point, my fingers hesitate and then halt above the keyboard. My mind jumps to last night’s dinner party and a discussion as to why we listen to the news. The key question seemed to be If we cannot personally affect international politics in Afghanistan, Syria and now the Crimea (to just name a few hotspots) what is the point of listening to the news? If the news is such a downer, why do we expose ourselves to such negativity? Aside from feeling powerless, what exactly do we get out of it?) No one had the definitive answer.
True, we cannot seem to broker any deals with our own nation, let alone foreign nations, but the “thinking” prompted by the issues is an end in itself.
Returning to the Steve Inskeep piece, two bits of information have stuck like sharp pebbles inside my shoe.. First, each mile of security fence averages $12,000,000 dollars. The amount of money is startling. Second, of the 18 immigrants detained in today’s report, one was pretty young: before the illegals could be moved to detention, the guards had to radio ahead for a car seat.
My mouth agape, I am left someplace between shelled and shocked in a cultural vacuum that threatens to suck me dry. The U.S. Border Patrol estimates that 6.5 million illegal aliens cross yearly. (Surely an inflated number?!!) Not all illegals come from Mexico. Many come from Central America; some come from Abroad. Many have travelled for months hoping to join family. Some come for work; others seek asylum. The risks are great. Swimming across the Rio Grande is the least of it. And don’t forget the parallel fences. Yet… once they are here, the detainees in today’s story were held up by the lack of a child-friendly car seat.
How can I possibly reconcile a culture that insists on car seats for all infants and toddlers with a culture that cannot move ahead on immigration reform because doing so would affect the outcome of the mid-term elections?
Although I cannot personally solve foreign policy, immigration issues, and the Congressional impasse, I will continue to listen to the news… depressing as it is. When it’s time to go to the polls, I will hopefully have some thinking behind my vote.