This morning, I got an email from a reliable source stating that ICE raids in Santa Fe yesterday hit Sonic and Blue Corn Cafe, arresting workers, workers who are likely parents or sons or daughters of other Santa Feans. It was the straw that broke this camel’s back, until.
When you write a progressive political blog you are constantly tracking the internet for information. And in this day and age, you rarely find anything positive to report. That can become a problem. My mind is constantly mulling moral and ethical offenses related to the environment, poverty, racism, or sexism. Or I am considering how our Democratic leadership is betraying us left and right….and then there is Trump. At the end of the day, Roxanne and I often ‘unplug’ with a glass of wine and Democracy Now! and no one can pack more human misery into five minutes better than Amy Goodman. In this context, I have moments where I just sag beneath the weight and wonder if there is any purpose at all to resisting, the forces are so insidious and strong, how do we persist?
Lately, I’ve been reading a good deal about immigrants….not immigration policy, the abstraction and not immigration statistics, mere data. But about immigrants, people, farmers, restauranteurs, parents, children. I had just read an article about how the Mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, had warned the Bay Area about an imminent and large ICE sweep that was coming. No doubt her announcement saved many immigrants from deportation.
But still 232 immigrants were detained in just two days in the Bay Area. I was sitting at my desk pondering that statistic and the reality of what it meant. 232 people had been grabbed from their lives, their wives, their kids, their parents. Those not grabbed, the relatives and friends, will hear from someone that they thought their dad had been arrested. And a seven year old girl’s life will be devastated. Multiply that by 232 families torn apart. And that is only the Bay Area. So I was thinking about that.
And then I got an email about ICE raids in Santa Fe and it got closer to home. And I hit one of those moments where enough was enough and I slammed my fist down on the table, startling Quilo our cat.
What is wrong with us?
- How did we become a country that severs the lives of thousands upon thousands of neighbors? How did we get to where some view other humans as something other than human, something that can just be wrenched from their lives and sent away?
- How did we become a country that denies health care to millions, leaving them to choose between rent, heat, food or live saving medication?
- How did we become a country that shutters away millions of Americans, many on minor offenses, often for years and years in squalid cells? And then we expect them to transition to ‘freedom’ in a world that will not hire them or house them.
- How did we become a country that utterly destroys our earth and the futures of our grandchildren, consigning them to dystopia?
How do we somehow allow this to happen? All of these thoughts flooded through my head and I really was headed into a very dark space. And then an odd thing happened. I had been a mental health consultant in the Bay Area before moving here. I saw an email come in from a former colleague and could see that he was sending me a report on a program I’d been involved in launching that treated early psychosis with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). An oversimplification of how CBT helps those with psychosis is that it is a means of training you to redirect your thinking and take control of where their mind goes.
It struck me that I needed to deploy a bit of CBT on myself. I had a choice: I could focus on the bullets above or upon the workers on Cerrillos who had been arrested, or I could focus on Somos and the Dreamers who are heroically fighting every day for the rights and lives of those immigrants. And so I forced my brain to go into the sun, into the world where a sustained movement driven by thousands and thousands of committed activists, persists and persists and persists until a tipping point is achieved, and that which we’ve dreamed of for decades begins to sprout. I thought of my friend Mariel whose slogan, “seeds beneath the snow” resonates so strongly with me.
So maybe tomorrow Rep. Lujan won’t take the lead on banning AR-15s or advancing single payer healthcare. But I’ll keep scattering the seeds and hope the snow thaws soon.
Categories: Personal & Collective Action