Mandan News

Compassion for others

Layout 1 (Page 1)Both of my loyal readers should be able to recall that I had to abandon my hermitage at heart Butte for the last couple weeks. So, after a weekend of grandkids, a trip to the zoo, bicycle rides and a three-day dance camp, I have re-acclimated to city life.

I think it was the bicycle ride that made me start thinking how lucky we are to live where we are. Most of us around here were born in America, and that makes each United States citizen one of the luckiest people in the world. Indeed, the perils we face pale in comparison to most of the rest of the world.

Our streets are peaceful, and the vast majority of us reside in a very secure environment. Very few of us have to worry about gangs extorting our family, or warlords absconding with our children, or dictator’s turning their citizens into slaves, or roving coyotes haphazardly machine gunning our neighborhoods, or car bombs, or suicide bombers blowing themselves up at the Moose Club and such.

If you’re anything like me, I can barely imagine what life is like in Gaza, the Ukraine or Central America. At best, we might know where these countries are but little else.

I can find Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica on a map, but that’s about all I know about those Central America countries. So to say I’m a bit perplexed about the recent outrage of children illegally immigrating to the US would be an understatement.

Like many other parts of the world; I do know that the United States history in this region is not something we should be proud of. I remember reading way back when I was in college about the banana republics. An incident in Guatemala in 1954 comes to mind. As I recall, the people of Guatemala elected a president who decided to take land back from the United Fruit Corporation and give it to the peasants/local farmers/citizens. The CIA then created a coup that murdered the elected President and replaced him with a dictator that made sure United Fruit didn’t lose its holdings. Then the U.S. secretary of state at the time legitimized the coup by saying, ‘what’s good for United Fruit is good for America.’ And from what I can tell, U.S. policy hasn’t changed much since.

Like I was saying, I am not an expert in this arena, and like most folks around here, I don’t have a lot of solutions when it comes to illegal immigration, but I do cringe when I think about how desperate these folks must be to escape from the hardships they endure in their homeland.

Being a parent and grandparent, I can’t imagine how hard it would be for me to force my child to leave in hopes of finding a better life 1200 miles away, in a land of the free and the home of the brave. To them, we Americans are that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan loftily dreamed about.

The chance of a commoner standing up to the tyrants in these countries is nil. Parents conclude that their only hope is that their children may survive an excruciating journey through horrifying perils and find a better life. So it seems to me that the root of our immigration problem is not at our borders, rather it’s the tyrannical countries that they are fleeing.

Which one of you out there would be able to stop a local warlord from enslaving your daughter, which one of you could withstand the consequences of refusing to be extorted, how long do you think you’d last in an environment where murder/genocide is outlawed but rarely prosecuted? I don’t think any of us would last long.

So I don’t have an answer to the immigration issue, but my sympathy is with the families and children who have to suffer through inhumane treatments that none of us could tolerate. My heart goes out to the kids and my hopes are that our politicians will quit worrying about their next election and get serious about finding solutions.

Finally, I wish that the folks who are so insulted by this issue can become more compassionate in their Christianity … after all these are innocent kids that they’re assaulting and none of these protestors seem to understand how lucky they are to be born here, rather than there.