My View of the Train Wreck

I’ve been staying away from the news as much as I can, but it’s hard not to slow down and examine a train wreck sometimes. So, in the first week, I spent considerably more time on Facebook than I usually do, reading peoples rants, opinions, and vitriol. It broke my heart that some people are behaving the way they are. I commented minimally. Usually, just to be funny when others were making jokes. I mean, a person still has to smile and laugh. Everything can’t always be serious or terrifying or outrageous. When I read the news, I made sure it was from sources I know and trust, not new or unknown sites.

It has been a terrifying ten days. I’ve cried more times than I’d like to admit, though only once has been for myself. I’m white, middle class, and born in America. My only downfall is that I’m female, and really have always been more of a lower middle class. But I have my rights as an American citizen and they can’t be taken away from me unless I do bad things.

My husband is a different story, though. His rights are only temporary, and they’re about to expire. My husband is a Muslim immigrant, and his green card is up for renewal. In between making sure his paperwork is filled out correctly and gathering evidence to prove to the government that we’re really married, living together, and genuinely in love, I’ve stopped to gawk at the train wreck that is happening to us all as a nation.

Now, people are being turned away from the US. People who applied for visas and went through years of vetting, are being denied entry. People who live here and have green cards may not be allowed back into the country if they leave for vacation or happened to be out of the country when this was declared Friday afternoon. Now, this is only supposed to be from seven specific countries. For now. Luckily for me, my husband is not from one of these countries. But what about when his country is added to the list? What about when President Pussygrabber decrees all Muslims banned and all foreign nationals evicted?

What about when a new executive order is signed that ends the renewal of green cards? What about when the citizenship test is no longer offered? What about when foreign nationals start to be ejected in the name of national security? What about when I have to move to an impoverished war zone where I don’t speak the language if I want to stay with the man I love?

My husband and I went to New York City last summer. I needed to go to ThrillerFest since I was a debut author that year, but I wanted him to come with me since we’d never had a real vacation before. It was great. Aside from learning a lot at the conference, I had a ton of fun with my husband. We got to do a bunch of touristy things, the coolest of which was going to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It thrilled me that I could teach my immigrant husband of my own family’s immigrant background. I even bought an Irish flag pin that I now wear on my hat every day.

At one point, I was overcome with emotion on Ellis Island and had to sit down for a while. The thought had occurred to me that if we hadn’t always been the melting pot of the world, where would we be? Who would we be as a country? How different would we be? The white-washed “Protestant nation” that came to mind stunned and sickened me. If we were not a country of immigrants, I would not exist. My family would not be here if my Irish Catholic great (to whatever degree) grandfather had not come through Ellis Island so many years ago. I would not be here if other great-great etc. grandparents had also not immigrated to this fine nation in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

I grew up being told I was a Heinz 57 by my grandmother. She said I was a little bit of everything—mostly Irish and a bit of Cherokee from my dad, mostly German from my mom’s dad, and every other kind of European from Grandma. Of course, to her, that was everything, but she was from a different time. The only reason I exist is because of immigration. I would not have been my father’s daughter if Ellis Island had closed its doors to the starving and persecuted Irish people. So I sat in the halls of Ellis Island, where many decades before, my grandparents walked through that very building as they entered this beautiful country, and I cried. I couldn’t explain to my husband why. I could not even fully understand it myself. But something about the beauty, the complexity, and the vastness of it all just overwhelmed me.

This last week has been a nightmare. The main thing that has helped me, aside from my sweet husband’s comfort and assurance that it’ll turn out okay, is music. Mainly, Tool and A Perfect Circle. Maynard’s broad, obscure lyrics have helped to bring me comfort, express my outrage, and calm my nerves. I must’ve sang Right in Two at least a dozen times this weekend. Because they’re obviously copyrighted, I’ll not quote them here, but I encourage you to go look up the lyrics.

I’ll wait.

... … …

They’re amazing, right? The line about squandering is one of my favorites. But that’s how I’ve felt all week. If the angels are watching, they’re totally like—wtf? Are these humans freaking serious?

I was raised to not judge someone by the color of their skin or the country of their birth, but by the ideas they express and the way they treat others. People who preach or perform acts of hatred are bad people. Those who help others and talk of kindness are good people. It always seemed pretty simple to me. Which is why it didn’t faze me one bit to learn that my husband (before he was my husband) was from Palestine after I’d spent a couple years studying Israeli martial arts. It didn’t matter to me where he was from or what his religion was. He was good to me. Kind, gentle, caring, loving, generous, and smart were the things I saw in him—not his religion or his country of origin. Color matters so little to my family, that I am the second woman to marry someone from the Middle East—albeit four decades after the first. Between my father’s three children’s additions to our family, there are three non-white people who are now part of the family. I am proud to come from such loving and open-minded people. Someday, I hope to follow my brother’s example and adopt orphaned kids that need a home, a family, and love. It brings me joy to know that I come from such generous stock, to know that my father often engaged in local charity by sharing what little he had with those in his Yonkers neighborhood who had even less. Because that’s what a real Christian does—gives love, charity, and compassion to his fellow human beings who are in need.

What shames me, is hearing my fellow countrymen decry the admittance of people who are desperate for safety. Human beings just like you and me who merely want the simple dignity of not having to fear for their lives every single day and night. I’m sickened by the vile things people say about—and to—complete strangers simply based on their religion or where they were born. When I heard that the immigration/travel ban/visa suspension was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, I felt physically ill. I had to go sit down at work. It was devastating and disgusting to watch history repeat itself less than a century later. People have been saying it a lot, but I have to say it again. Anne Frank was denied a visa to the US. The young girl whose diary has been read by millions of school children didn’t have to die. She could have been saved. But she wasn’t and so now we read her private thoughts and feel her terror reverberating through the decades, knowing all along that the end will come. Anne will die and never write again.

What other great minds are we losing by leaving them locked away in a war zone where false Muslims kill real Muslims? What harm is a mother going to do to this country when all she wants is asylum, and we give it to them?

There is a general area here in Kansas City that we call North of the River. (Genius, right? It’s in Kansas City, but not the same thing as North Kansas City, nor is it the same as Kansas City North.) So, up north, there is a concentration of Syrian refugees. The United Nations has sent a number of Syrian families to KCMO as refuge. The UN—not the US—gives these people three months of rent and food stamps. Then they’re on their own. My husband has met many refugees at Mosque and he’s shared some of their heartbreaking stories with me. A woman who lost her husband and one of her children, while another of her children is now disabled. An old man who lost his whole family. But the one that stuck out the most to me was the woman with five children and a blind husband. They all have green cards now, but how can she hope to support them without the help of their extended family from back home in Syria? Now, she’ll have to rely on the Muslim community here in KC to help her get by. It’s a good thing, too, since real Muslims are so kind, loving, and charitable. A collection was taken up among the people at Mosque one day so that a refugee could buy a car. Another person there gave the man who needed a car a job. The kind-hearted Muslims in this community have helped to pay rent for refugees when their aide runs out. They’ve taught the women how to drive. They’ve helped and supported these newcomers because they understand the kind of hell from which these poor souls have escaped. Many of the Muslims in my hometown are first or second generation Americans. Many more are immigrants or refugees themselves. They know the terror and fear these people have been through and how all they want is to feel safe. Can you even imagine what it must be like to live every day in fear that you will be shot or blown up by dirty liars, pretending to be part of your faith merely so that they can besmirch the name of Islam?

Because let’s face it—Daesh are not Muslim. They break law after law in Islam, paying no heed whatsoever to the faith that is supposedly theirs. It is against Islamic law to kill other Muslims, which is mostly what they do. My husband told me that really, it is against the law to kill at all unless you are defending yourself from aggression. But they are not defending, they are actively seeking out aggressive and deadly ways. He told me that it is against the law to fight or make war during Ramadan, but Daesh does that, too. Sex outside of marriage is also illegal, but those pigs have slave-whores they drag around with them, rutting as they please, passing the women around to others in the group so that all of the swine might have a go at her. Everything they do screams non-Muslim, while their words—somehow—reach above the cacophony of their actions to assert that they are followers of Islam. Somehow, no one wants to listen to the over a billion other Muslims who decry the actions of Daesh as un-Islamic.  

Have you ever heard of Joseph Kony? He’s a warlord in Africa who has abducted thousands of children over the years. He turns little boys into killers and he turns little girls into sex slaves all in the name of GOD. You see, Kony runs the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army. He claims to be a Christian, doing his work for the good of Christianity. He steals children from their homes, makes them kill other kids or be killed themselves, brainwashes them, and uses them to terrorize others. He does nothing good. He brings nothing to the table but pain and misery. But he shouts so loud about how he does this for God, that people somehow believe that this lunatic is a Christian. No matter that everything he does is against the tenants and beliefs of modern Christianity. Sure, he’s probably found some texts in the Bible that he feels justified in using to defend his actions, but he’s missed the whole spirit of the religion. Just like Daesh has missed the whole spirit of modern Islam.

Westboro Baptist Church is another fantastic example of how not to be Christian. All they spew is hatred and vitriol. They are bigots and bastards who pick and choose the tenants of their religion they’d like to follow. Love all people like Jesus said to do? No, fuck that. Let’s hate everyone! The gays, the soldiers, the people who actually care about either of those groups. Let’s just hate them all and say we do it in the name of God! Oh, Jesus preached love and acceptance? Gross! How about bigotry and terror? Bring back a vengeful God from the Old Testament! Ugh. How completely un-Christian…

Now, what is the most peaceful religion you can think of? Probably Buddhism, right? I mean, they won’t even kill a fly because all life deserves a chance to exist. But even the followers of Buddha have formed terrorist groups that kill and destroy. Look it up. Buddhist terrorism. It’s a thing. Because really, every religion has its extremists who claim to be part of that faith, while doing things that entirely contradict the tenants of said faith. That makes them liars, not members of whatever religion they are claiming.

People are needlessly afraid of Syrians, who already go through some of the most intensive screenings as it is. What people should really be afraid of is the Cheetos Smurf. President Fart. Dictator Chump. The Don who dons a dead squirrel. Fuckface Von Clownstick. Or whatever you want to call him. It is not Daesh—or Isil or Isis or whatever you choose to call it—that will bring down America. It is certainly not families of refugees seeking safety who will harm us. It is the Donald. He is harming us by shutting our borders to people who have already been promised entry. He’s harming us in the eyes of the world by not allowing people to come and go as they used to. Old men are refused to be allowed to visit their sons. Spouses and families are being kept apart. Everyone is outraged, and President Fart just keeps on truckin’. He won’t back down. Oscar nominees aren’t even being allowed into the country. Right, dude, because movie stars and old people, women and children—those are the people that are going to hurt us. Jesus… Christ! Even Jesus Christ would tear Chump a new one! Not that the Donald would agree with the Jesus very much. Blessed are the meek? Trump stomps on the meek and grinds them to nothing.

As an American, I’m outraged that this pompous ass has—in less than two weeks—destroyed the world’s opinion of America. He has sanctified the rape of our Mother Earth and the abuse of our own country’s indigenous people by allowing the pipeline to continue. He has turned away people who need our help and have been given permission to come here. As the wife of a Muslim Immigrant, I’m terrified of what might happen to my husband in the future as far as his being allowed to stay here in the life we’ve built together.

As I prepare to post this, I’m watching the train wreck again. Meet the Press is on my TV. Priebus is fumbling and contradicting himself, but made it quite clear that they intend to add more countries to the banned list eventually. Damn it… So this is how the world dies. Live on television while corporate sponsors peddle their wares and sell their meds between interviews. God help us because clearly we can’t help ourselves.