Freedom

I have very strong political opinions. Every day I see things on Facebook that I really support and every day I see things I really really disagree with. I want to type snarky comments contradicting people’s fallacies or post things that I might caption, “Take a look at THIS!”
But I don’t. Usually. Because the way I see it is that everyone is free to form their own opinions, and my political posting on Facebook will probably not do anything to influence the political state of our country. It will, however, influence the relationships I have in my life.
I do think there is a time to stand up for something. I have no desire to sit idly by while gross injustices happen.
But sometimes you have to acknowledge that you hugely disagree with the people you’re related to, the people you do business with, and the people you wave at when you’re out jogging. You have to acknowledge that, and still decide to be kind and civil to them, and still decide to have relationship with them.
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Today, I want to stand up for something… for freedom. I want to stand for the right to be different. To have people in my country, in my community, in my family, and in my Facebook feed who have opinions and make decisions I completely don’t respect, and yet still respect them as people, and even value them. Because that’s really freedom. Not to be shamed, bullied, silenced, or unfriended for your opinions. Even if they’re strong. Even if they’re wrong.
I want to stand up for the right to talk about my political opinions without being pushed into a political camp or unfriended by people who were at my wedding. I want to stand up for the right to criticize people I will probably vote for, and to agree with a point made by a candidate I would avoid in a dark alley. And I want to stand up for your right to do that, too.
I want to stand up for freedom, and respect, and how wonderful it is that we are all different, and how beautiful it is when we live in harmony with one another.
Not unision. Not all matchy-matchy, everyone pick a side, put on a uniform, and find a furious chant to to yell louder than anyone else.
But constrasting, multi-faceted harmony. That’s really freedom.
That’s my strongest political opinion.

Why we can’t take refugees right now, honey.

Once upon a time, there was a family with 318.9 Million children. The dad owned a small business, and he manufactured… um. T-Shirts.

And at first, when there were only 1 million or so children, everyone pitched in and worked on those T-shirts, and they made enough money that the family survived, and were content.

And then all the T-shirt companies got into a big war, and bombed each other, and there were no T-shirts for awhile. It was sad for the other families, but the first T-shirt family’s business didn’t have much damage, and they made tons of T-shirts, and suddenly got really big. Everyone was buying from them!

They had so much work to do, business was booming, they made so much money! The family prospered, and they were proud.

And it wasn’t too long before those kids, who worked a lot, started realizing that there was some unfair distribution of labor. So they made some rules to keep everything fair. They called them Labor Laws. They worked well.

But too soon they realized that they didn’t have enough T-shirts for their orders. And they didn’t want to go back to working as hard as they used to…

So they started hiring the work done in places like China, Brazil, Taiwan.

Where they didn’t have to pay those kids so much money. And the kids from the T-shirt family took jobs doing non-production things like managing, advertising, and designing cool things for the front of the T-shirts.

Now, here’s the thing. The family business was doing so well, that when more kids came along, those kids expected the same benefits the first kids had.

So they imported more T-shirts from China, Brazil, and Taiwan, and they gave the younger kids positions at the T-shirt business. But these positions were not actually making T-shirts… These positions were doing things like… singing songs, or giving massages, or serving lattes to the kids who were doing those extra-production jobs at the T-shirt factory.

And they kept the business going.

And for years this went on, with all the kids in this T-shirt company living pretty well on the fat profits from the sales of T-shirts,  but then Dad and the accountants started talking about the money they owed to places like China, and to some of their suppliers like Japan, and they started talking about reducing the allowances to some of the bossy kids, who were making obscenely more money than the not-so-bossy kids. Like, grossly obscene.

Meanwhile some of the kids were bitter about how much money went to protect them from people who hated T-shirts or to fight other people who made T-shirts, or giving money to kids in their family who weren’t working enough (because they couldn’t or wouldn’t, that was the question), and meanwhile some kids were having problems paying for their schools and their doctor visits, which they said should be better and cheaper, and there was a whole lot of squabbling about money in general.

About that time, they were also having trouble finding enough made-up-positions in the T-shirt factory, and some of the older kids started saying, “Why don’t those young whipper snappers start making T-shirts, like I did at my age?” But all the new kids had just had their nails done and didn’t want to make T-shirts themselves, and besides, some of them realized that if they were paid the current starting salary to make a T-shirt? Well, that T-shirt would have to be sold for over 15 bucks, and there’s no way the company would make any money like that.

All this was going on, and all the kids were divided into factions that were throwing elephant and donkey poop at each other, and then…

And then Syria had a problem. You see, The Dad in Syria had a pretty bad control and anger problem. About 9 million of his kids ran away, and needed a place to stay.

They knocked on our door. Oh, did I mention this is our family?

Yes, this is our family. 

And  we have 318.9 million children in our family, and not very many of us have jobs that are actually making a profit for the family business. And we’re all thinking that maybe there’s not enough allowance to go around, even though we all have pumpkin spice lattes and iPhones and Black Friday deals and Christmas is coming when we are probably getting everything we want, thanks mostly to our cashback advance Capital One card.

And so what are we going to to do with 2% more kids?

And some of us kids start whispering… Maybe the kids have anger issues too, maybe they’ll come in here and cause problems here.

And other kids say maybe it’s a trick, and their Dad sent them here like a Trojan Horse to sabotage us because he hates us, they’re just pretending, they’ll come in and ruin our family. 

But mostly we just all keep bickering, because that’s all we know how to do in our house.

This is already a fairly long story. And you’re probably falling asleep. I know there are lots of people who know lots more about history and economics and the actual logistics of taking foster children in from other places in the world. I’m sure you can correct my story, you can bitingly refute everything I say with witty, educated responses about how wrong and unenlightened I am, and everyone can laugh and go on with their skits about Kylie Jenner’s lips and whatever next trending topic they’ve designed to distract us, or maybe no one will laugh, because no one will read this, because I’m just one more hashtag Syrianrefugees, and I don’t have enough followers and I’m not on anyone’s radar.

But I think this story has more to do with the refugee problem than people are talking about.

Everyone thinks it’s about the refugees-  are they safe, are they going to come in here and hurt us, But I don’t really think that’s what it’s about.

I think it’s about us, what’s going on in our country.

I haven’t written the ending, because I think that happily ever after would mean that our family woke up and got off our entitled high-horses.

Happily Ever After maybe looks like we work with our bodies instead of social media, and we love our enemies, we do good to those who made the clothes we’re wearing, and we treat our actual neighbors like we actually knew their names.

And that’s hard to do, I know. I don’t do it well myself.

 

But wouldn’t that be a nice ending? Maybe it will happen. Maybe sometime there will be a refugee sleeping in our guest room.

Or maybe the story will end with us saying we just can’t take refugees because we just can’t be brave enough to take a good hard look at our family… at ourselves.

I guess we’ll have to decide.

Sleep well, honey.

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There are an estimated 9 million Syrian refugees.

The president has plans to approve 10 thousand to come next year.

26 State Governors are opposed to relocating Syrians to their state.

The median household income of the 99% in the USA  is $43,585.

 

The median household income for the China, where the T-shirt I’m wearing is from, is $6,180.

The US National debt is over 18 TRILLION dollars right now. That’s a crazy number, and that’s a crazy link. I don’t fully understand it. Does anyone want to try to explain it to me?  (I would also like to know why it looks like for every 3 citizens, there’s about 1 taxpayer.) Here’s more about the top 10 countries that the US is in debt to, including itself.