Monday, July 16, 2018

Next Door

I wish I could comprehend it: this anti-immigration stance that is so prevalent these days. Not just our "President," but across the globe. This idea that borders, lines marked on a map, somehow define who should live where. The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the lines put on our map were placed there out of convenience and time. It took us a while to wander as far as the Rocky Mountains, then extricate and exterminate the indigenous population to make room for settlers to come and plop themselves down where another culture had held sway for thousands of years. 
And in neighborhoods across the United States, where one group of immigrants showed up and eventually took over the shops and houses left by another. Entry level tenements that once housed folks from Ireland filled up with Italians and then Koreans and so on. Each of these shifts came with their share of grumbling and, at times, violence. Xenophobia? Ironic considering the natives here on these shores were generally welcoming and hospitable, providing us with the makings of a Thanksgiving feast. Or so the legend goes. 
White folks have ruled the roost here in North America for a couple hundred years. It's been a good run, but statistics suggest that it may be coming to an end. Like so much of what happens on this planet, that doesn't fit with that white-folk-dominance, needs to be challenged or argued. Or stopped. Don't let anyone else in who doesn't fit the parameters (white) set by those (white) in charge. If this sounds oppressive and evil, it was the basis of a regime that held sway in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Now our "President" is visiting Europe, spreading a message: an influx of migrants fleeing violence and seeking asylum has caused the continent to lose its culture and “changed the fabric of EuropeAnd I don’t mean that in a positive way. I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I think you’re losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or fifteen years ago.”
My guess is that the Lenape might have similar feelings about Trump Tower jutting up out of a landscape that was once their hunting ground. But that was five hundred years ago. Ten or fifteen years ago, there was a shawarma place on that corner. Or maybe that was down by the United Nations. Things change. People change. Not attitudes. The actual people. Our "President" is talking about a continent with thousands of years of history, and he is quibbling about what happened a decade ago. 
Then I think about those woolly mammoths hanging out on the land bridge across the Bering Strait, watching those early humans wandering in their direction. "There goes the neighborhood." 

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