Tag Archives: anti-Immigrant

The Morning After the Mourning After

This morning I went to a yoga class.  I was exhausted and anxious and needed to let go of some stress. My daughter is getting married this evening and all that anxiety has built to a peak of anticipation.  I figured a little stretching and sweating would do my soul some good.

The instructor, Jeff Martens, is a great teacher. He speaks softly during class, reminding us of proper posture and breathing techniques.  He also speaks words of wisdom, meant to guide us into greater relaxation and greater submission to the spiritual process of yoga.

Today he reminded us that every posture is a prayer that we pray with our body and our soul. He reminded us that prayers are not requests; prayer is more than asking for things. The prayers we make with our body are affirmations of all that is already ours: health, peace, communion, joy…or conversely, they can be affirmations that we believe we exist in a state of struggle, discontent, and FEAR.

There has been a lot of fear this week.

I told you in my last post that the days after the election were particularly difficult for LGBTQ persons, minorities, and women.  Many were consumed with fear that they would lose their civil rights, their safety, their nation and their home.  This week wasn’t much different, and I had plenty of people who cried their way through their session, worried about the future and wondering what they should do next.

One of my clients yesterday was particularly upset, and nothing seemed to comfort her. We talked about the allies that are all around her; people who love her, people who are not willing let her be re-victimized or denied safety.  I reminded her that I will always be an ally.  And then I told her that my greatest hope is that there are many good people in powerful places, people who are not willing to silently stand by as millions are denied their civil rights and human dignity. I said that I believe those people will slowly reveal themselves as Trump’s plan unfolds; I believe that one by one they will stand up and say “Not in my America!” and they will be our allies as we fight against a rising tide of bigotry, sexism, and homophobia.

It won’t be as simple as the split between Democrats and Republicans. I told her that we will probably all be disgusted to discover bigots, misogynists, and homophobes among people we thought were our allies.  I’m betting we will also be stunned at the number of staunch Republicans who stand up for civil rights, equality, and justice.  Neither side has a monopoly on righteousness; in the long run, I believe that this will be a great blessing that will work to our advantage.

She smiled at me and said it was a lovely idea, but she wasn’t sure it was realistic.

I told her that I am counting on it.

I never thought it would happen so soon!

Today Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton made an announcement in response to President Elect Trump’s decision to begin deporting undocumented immigrants.  The mayor stated:

“Phoenix is an incredibly diverse and welcoming city where we endeavor every day to protect our community while treating residents with dignity and respect, no matter who you are, who you love or where you come from.

Our diversity is our greatest strength as a community, and our strongest selling point as an economy. It says much about who we are as a people that Phoenix is considered one of the safest and most welcoming cities in the United States for those seeking refuge from the violence of war-torn countries.

That will not change, regardless of who is president.

Residents and visitors can be assured we will professionally and steadfastly uphold the laws of our city. But that does not mean that Phoenix will fall victim to discourse that is openly antagonistic and hostile to members of our community.

The Phoenix Police Department will never turn into a mass deportation force, even if the new government in Washington, D.C., threatens to revoke federal dollars. This is something worth fighting for, and we will not be bullied into taking backward steps on civil rights.

I cried when I heard it on the news, and I cried when I read the article online, and I am still crying as I write this right now.  There are things worth fighting for: our deepest values and dearest morals, but most important is human lives.  These things are worth standing up for, no matter what the cost.

Today the Phoenix mayor (along with mayors in Boston, New York, and Chicago, as well as the police chief of Los Angeles) took a stand against bigotry, hatred, and fear.

This morning I heard that every posture is a prayer, an affirmation of what we have.

Today powerful people in a number of major cities struck a posture of resistance to injustice. They still have some stretching to do before their posture can be firm and true, and we need to join them. We are only beginning to understand just how deeply our privilege (white, straight, male, educated, etc.) has stepped on the necks of our brothers and sisters. As a nation, we need to change our posture to a prayer that affirms freedom for all, justice for all, and welcome to all who would live in peace.

Today I stand in a posture that breathes a prayer of willingness to stand for others, and gratitude for allies in the struggle.

And I am going to stay in posture for as long as I possibly can.

For more information, use the following links:

ktar.com/story/1362041/phoenix-mayor-greg-stanton-vows-city-police-will-stay-deportation-process/

www.azfamily.com/story/33729670/mayor-stanton-phx-pd-will-never-be-a-mass-deportation-force

For more information on yoga or on Jeff Martens http://www.innervisionyoga.com/

Finally, congratulations to Katie and Phil!  I could not be happier for the two of you, and wish you a long life of joy together.  Phil, Michelle, Dan, Jason, and Arianna…welcome to my family!!

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The Mourning After

This has been a rough week.  My candidate lost, not that it really matters.  My life will go on, largely unchanged.  I still have a job. I still have a house. The fluctuations in the stock market affect the net worth of my retirement portfolio, but I’m only 52 and retirement is a long way away and so right now, those fluctuations exist only on paper.  In the end, November 8th came and went and absolutely nothing changed for me or my husband except the name of our president.

I got on Facebook the morning after the election and noticed that a lot of people have been posting about unity, and how both Republicans and Democrats need to set aside our differences and work towards unity.  Many of my Christian friends have posted on Facebook encouraging their friends to pray for unity and to pray that God grants wisdom and guidance to our nation’s leaders.

Gosh that sounds nice, doesn’t it?  Pray for unity! Pray that God guides our nation’s leaders!

I kind of expect Christians to be praying for unity and guidance on a regular basis. I’m kind of confused why anyone has to encourage Christians to do something that they should pretty much be doing every day.  Moments like this make me wonder if I need to go on Facebook and encourage Christians to brush their teeth and shower daily.

Apparently, Christians are struggling with the basics these days and need some encouragement.

The thing is that I’m not convinced that unity is what we need to be praying for.  Let me explain.

Do you remember when you were still a teenager and you used to wonder when you would meet the one?  I used to dream about the boy I would marry and how handsome he would be; I would dream about the house I would live in and the children that I would have with my handsome husband. I never wondered if the police would stop my wedding, or if the government would refuse to grant me the right to marry the one I loved the most.

Such is the thing we call straight privilege.  I never wondered if I’d be allowed to marry because I thought that everybody had the right to get married…and I forgot that everybody included a bunch of LGBTQ persons who did not actually gain that right until 2015.

Yeah…that’s right…LGBTQ persons did not gain the right to legal marriage in the United States until 2015.  I think I was almost 35 years old before it occurred to me that there were whole groups of people in the US who weren’t legally allowed to marry at all.

So…you can imagine how the election of a right-wing President and even more conservative Vice President impacted the LGBTQ community.

Shortly after I arrived at work on Wednesday morning, I got to listen to the despair of a young lesbian women who is engaged but hasn’t yet reached her wedding day.  I cannot imagine the pain she must have felt wondering if such a basic civil right—the right to marry—would be stripped from her come January 2017.  I cannot imagine how frightening it must be for my gay colleague in Nevada who got married last month just after adopting his son.  I can’t imagine the terror his newly adopted 11 year-old son must feel, considering that the poor boy was rejected by his biological family when he came out of the closet.  Now he gets to wonder if his new family will be destroyed by politicos who don’t even know his name simply because his fathers are gay.

If you didn’t wake up on Wednesday and feel any fear, you are probably white, straight, and male. Congratulations!  That’s quite the trifecta of birthrights!  You might not feel very privileged and God knows how hard you have worked to achieve the success that you currently know.  In fact, I’m pretty certain that you deserve all the money, success, and respect that is currently yours, and perhaps you might deserve more money, success, and respect than you are actually getting.  On the other hand, you have never had to fight for your right to marry your beloved. You have never been arrested for driving while white because it is always assumed that white people don’t have to steal to be driving a car that nice.  And you’ve never been afraid to have one drink too many for fear that the people around you will strip you naked and sexually violate you while calling you the whore.

Please, if you woke up on Wednesday and weren’t afraid, do more than pray for unity.

Go out and create some unity.

Do me a favor.  Look in the Gospels!  You will discover that Jesus did not sit in his prayer closet asking His Father for unity and governmental guidance for 33 years before crawling onto the cross and dying for your sins.  While Jesus’ ministry only lasted three years prior to His death, that man was busy!  He prayed plenty, but He spent much more time doing the right thing than He did praying about the right things.

Look, you and I both know that a Trump presidency is NOT the end of the world, no matter what you or I think of him.  A Trump presidency will not be the end of America as we know it, either.  On the other hand, the people who are terrified of what this election has done have good reasons to be fearful.

Maybe you should find out what those reasons are.

Speak to a Muslim, and find out what it is like to be blamed for the behaviors of other people whose choices you never supported.  Talk to a member of the LGBTQ community and find out what it is like to be denied basic human rights, and to fear that your recently granted human rights will be taken away again.  Speak to a woman who fears that women’s equal rights are about to disappear along with women’s safety from sexual harassment and assault.  Speak to a Hispanic person who fears widespread racism against citizens of the US who just happen to be of Hispanic descent. Speak to someone who benefited from the Dream Act, and find out what it’s like to be raised in the US but considered an illegal alien.  Find out what it is like to fear being sent “home” to a country that you’ve never even visited.

Go and find someone who is truly terrified; sit and listen to them without arguing with them about why they are wrong.  Just listen.  Try to understand that the campaign speeches that you may have found liberating felt like threats to the person you’re listening to. Imagine yourself in their shoes, having to fear your country’s government and what they might do to you only two months from now.

Listen closely to them no matter how you feel about what they say.

Having done all that, if you are still serious about the unity you are praying for, look them in the eyes and speak these words:

I promise to use whatever privilege is mine to protect your human rights and your human dignity.  I may not agree with how your live your life, or how you came to live in my country, or who you worship. None of that matters, because I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and He gave His life to save the lives of every human being, and that includes you and me. If you mean that much to Jesus, then you mean that much to me.  I will not stand idly by while other people try to take away your rights and your safety.  Everyone deserves their human and civil rights. Everyone.

Letting other people have their rights will not take away your rights.

Giving other people respect will not deny you respect.

Working to achieve justice for everyone will create a just world for…EVERYONE and that includes you.

And praying…praying is nice, but when it comes to where the rubber hits the road, action is what it takes to create unity.

And just in case you’re still not sure if God is on board with this idea, remember Micah 6:8.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

You heard the Man.  Now do it.

Get The Sackcloth

Every now and then I come up against a week that just blows me away.  This week it wasn’t work or anything to do with work that knocked my socks off.  It was the sheer weight of evidence that discrimination and hatred are alive and well in the United States of America.

It isn’t that I wasn’t aware of this before this very minute. Discrimination and hatred have always been a part of our culture in the US and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.  I guess that I have just chosen to focus on the areas where the mess is slowly being chipped away, where things are actually improving. I like to focus on the positive and look for evidence that God is doing great things.  Usually I don’t have to look too far before I find evidence of God’s grace and handiwork, and not long after that I find myself filled with peace and joy, having much to praise God for.

Sadly, the last few days have been filled with an increasing amount of despair.

I like to watch the news, sometimes watching it twice a day: once during breakfast and again just before I go to bed. The news acts as a kind of bookend to my day, keeping me aware of the world around me so I don’t end up cocooning in my office with my clients, or cocooning in my home office with my books and my blog, or cocooning on the couch with my family…basically the news rips me out of my cocoon!  Unfortunately, the news is not there to tell us all that is good in the world.  Usually, the news reports on what is broken, destroyed, and badly in need of repair.

This would be why the news is currently reporting on politics.

I realize that we are currently attempting to find two decent individuals that we can choose between for the next president of the United States; it’s not as if the news simply decided to start talking about politics and nothing else.  Actually, I think I would be comforted if they talked about politics and nothing else because much of what I am hearing about the presidential race has little to do with politics and has much to do with all the -isms: racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism.  When you boil it down, all those -isms condense to one thing only: hatred.

I could insert a pithy quote here from a wide assortment of candidates (especially Donald Trump) that is anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim…or anti-women. (God bless poor Megan Kelly.)

But it isn’t just the candidates that are filled with hatred.  It’s my fellow countrymen!  My fellow Americans are busy spouting just as much hatred as any candidate on the podium, and some of them have chosen to add in the distinct flavor of violence as well.

At a recent Trump rally, a protester raised his voice and began shouting anti-Trump statements.  Understandably, he was removed by security, and this is not the problem.  As he was being removed, someone yelled “Set the *&#^%@ on fire!”

Who says that??? Who, in this country where free speech is revered as one of the most important rights we have, advocates to set a man on fire for speaking freely?

And then there were the pictures of klansmen in full KKK regalia outside Nevada caucuses, rallying for “President Trump”.  There didn’t seem to be one shred of shame in them as they paraded around, advertising hatred and yelling pro-Trump slogans…yet they hid their faces.  When you are doing the right thing you shouldn’t need to cover your face and hide your identity.   The KKK likes to say that they believe in God and the United States of America.  The only people I know who talk about God and Country are Boy Scouts and members of the US Armed Services…and none of them hide their face and very few of them advocate racial hatred.

These examples are only a few drops of water in the lake of evidence that we are neither as tolerant nor as free of hatred and -isms as we had hoped to be over 50 years after people of color and women achieved equal rights in this country.

I could give you a lengthy discourse related to all that is wrong with our country, but strangely, the show Black-ish nailed it just last night.  Please watch this clip. It made me cringe, but it was right on the money.

Black-ish Explains Why Racism Isn’t Over

The funny thing is that I started cringing even before Anthony Anderson made his point.  I started cringing as the clip of Obama was showing because I remember watching that exact scene during the inauguration.  I remember the moment that Obama stepped out of the limo and started walking down the road.  And I remember the sudden knot that grew in the pit of my stomach and the sick feeling that gripped me immediately.

I was waiting for the shot to ring out that would end our new President’s life.

I had trouble believing, back in 2008, that the sheer amount of hatred that had been levied against Barack Obama prior to the election wouldn’t conspire to end the hope that his election had brought to me and to many people in our nation.

The fact that Barack Obama is still alive and is our President eight years after his election is a testimony to just how far we’ve come in this country.

The fact that we have campaigns like #BlackLivesMatter (and that we argue about why we need such a campaign) is evidence that things are not progressing as they should.  We are still a racist nation.  And the clearest evidence of that is that we have to have “special episodes” of television programs like Black-ish and then again on Chicago PD to address the widespread violence against Black people in this nation.  Yes…Black people. Not African Americans…that’s not what the campaign is called.  It’s called #BlackLivesMatter.

Yes they do!  Black lives matter!

Women’s lives matter.  Women’s sexual rights matter.  A woman’s control over her own body, which is gift to her alone from God, matters.

Gay lives matter. Gay couples matter.

Hispanics matter.  The lives of American citizens always matter and Hispanics are, by and large, American citizens.

Native Americans and First Nation People matter.  And the truth about how our nation has continued to sin against the Native Americans must be told, because the truth always matters.

Immigrants lives—legal and illegal—matter.

In the end I could go on and on.  But I don’t have to, because God’s children matter wherever they are, whatever color or gender or sexual orientation they are.  God loves all of God’s children and your particular opinion about that person’s spiritual status as a “sinner” or a “saint” does not absolve you of recognizing their inherent worth, nor does it give you permission to treat that person poorly or to discriminate against them.

Hate is not a Christian value.

Oppression is not a Christian value.

Discrimination is not a Christian value.

Jesus came to free us from the power of sin and the havoc that it wreaks in our lives and yet despite the many ways that we confess His name and call him our Savior, many of us appear to be clinging to all the things that Jesus came to free us from.

I look at such things and I despair of our nation’s future.  I don’t know what we need to do to stem the tide of hatred in our nation, but we need to do it soon.

Job 42:6  “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”