Inside Out: Coming to America

canstockphoto12339761Yesterday was a perfect day in my neighborhood. The sun was out. Pasty white Minnesotans emerged from their Netflix caves after months of winter. Immediately some started their leaf blowers (which I posit is the worst invention ever). I went to the park with my daughter and one of her besties. They played basketball, as I sat at a picnic table and read.

I love my neighborhood more frequently than I hate it. It was built in the late 1950s, tracts of little nondescript ranch houses. We add shutters and paint different colors but in the low light of a late sunset and a few beers under our belts, we’d be easily confused. It’s a working class neighborhood near schools and apartment buildings and a grocery store. We can walk 15 minutes to anywhere we need to go.

I’ve been here about 16 years and have watched the young couples move in and out as their families expanded. The retirees move a little slower. Some have gone to nursing homes. The demographics have changed from the homogeneity of Germanic and Scandinavian residents to a more diverse neighborhood with families of color.

canstockphoto9412008(1)When I hear all the angry conversation about immigrants, I don’t understand it. I love being in a metro area for the richness of its diversity. My daughter’s friend is from Kenya. This is a family that completely transplanted itself into a bizarre culture, with its Minnesota niceness and subtle and not-so-subtle bigotries. With its climate so opposite from theirs. With its language so difficult and complex to learn. That they chose to uproot their lives and come here is amazing.

At the park, a Hispanic mother followed her toddler son as he rambled happily across the lawn, while his father chatted with neighbors. The little boy unsteadily walked over to the picnic table where I sat and stared with big, beautiful dark eyes. His mother smiled shyly at me as I rolled a basketball to him. He laughed with delight and was off, carrying a ball twice the size of his head.

I don’t think she spoke English and I’m not yet confident enough with Spanish. Smiles did our communicating. I think about their lives here and why they gravitate to communities that reflect their own cultures and experiences. It must seem overwhelming and isolating at times. My fellow Americans curse and spit about why “they” don’t do this or that, when many Americans are barely literate and do nothing to pursue self-improvement.

There is something about the immigrants whom I have met in my life. The inherent optimism of moving someplace foreign – a belief that a better life is possible and that they have some say in that. From the antics of some Americans, it is quite apparent that they have no such belief. They believe in a savior with a comb-over, that a boastful ingrate will lift them out of their shitty lives and save the country.

It’s amazing that anyone believes a politician will improve their lives. Politicians do very little that isn’t badgered out of them by polls or bought and paid for by donors or brought on by bad publicity thanks to activists. Individual choices and protests still impact our country, are still part of the algorithm of the elusive and mythological American Dream. There’s no point in waiting for a mouthpiece to do the work for you.

canstockphoto5109847Now, I’m a bleeding heart liberal, there’s no doubt about that. But I also served my country, worked my ass off, came out of poverty into a middle class existence. I believe in the power of hard work and education and ethical living. My street cred as a hardworking American has been established by every hard knock, graveyard shift and paid tax.

As a resident of planet earth, though, I believe in compassion and kindness and seeking to understand. My experience in this country, as a first generation American, was helped by the color of my skin and my language skills and happenstance of birth. While I’ve experienced sexism in the military and various workplaces, I’ve always assumed the individual was some sort of stupid I couldn’t fix and got on with things.

Last week, I attended a lecture by presidential biographer, Jon Meacham. It was an interesting, if not somewhat sanitized, conversation about the impact of some presidents on the country. What I was struck by, though, is that Jon Meacham is two years younger than I. He’s an executive editor at Random House. He has numerous biographies, including one that won a Pulitzer Prize. I felt momentary envy. Huh, so that’s what a successful career track looks like.

canstockphoto18730397Still, it made me think about how much control I actually do have over my own life. I made very specific choices, some of them good, some of them terrible, that got me here today. Despite the times when I struggled, when I had no health insurance, when I turned in pop cans for grocery money, I never assumed that the state of things was anyone’s fault or responsibility other than my own. Sure, there’s all kinds of systemic flaws that can really mess up a linear rise in circumstances, but for most white Americans, it’s on us. Yet we still seek to blame.

The minute I rise in defense or even in curiosity of immigrants’ lives, some dipstick will share anecdotal evidence of people gaming the system or laziness or criminality. I can double down with stories of Americans I’ve met who game the system, are lazy or are criminals. Hell, I’m related to some of them.

canstockphoto32473828At this point in my life, I do have a tendency to romanticize lives of people outside my purview. I recognize this and remind myself that people from other countries likely have the same percentage of shitheads that we do in the U.S. But these days, some of our citizens seem the more immediate danger.

 

Resources about the immigrant and refugee experience in the US:

Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

10 Essential Films about the Immigrant Experience

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Syrian Refugees Part 1

US Refugee Admissions Program (Subtitled: It ain’t easy)

69 Comments on “Inside Out: Coming to America

  1. Interesting. I just had a conversation about diversity with a friend, yesterday. She and her family and I were having a dim sum brunch and marveled at the wonderful assortment of ethnicities around us.

    The Toronto of yesteryear was the poster city for WASP. Boring as bat shit and it was a real drag every time I had to come here on business. I come from Montreal, where we started off with a mix of English, French, native Indian and branched out from there — a total hodge podge of humanity who came in all shapes, sizes and colours and speak a multitude of languages. It’s what I know and what I love.

    By the time I moved to Toronto in 1985 things were improving but now this city, and its suburbs, are unrecognizable. Finding the WASP in the crowd is like looking for Waldo, there are restaurants serving every time of food imaginable and we have both neighbourhood mom and pop shops that stock ingredients from everywhere and huge, mega grocery stores that offer everything you could possibly ever want — from spices to rices, to produce and protein — from literally every nook and cranny of the world. I actually wonder how they get some of it in here, because it’s fresh.

    And the best part is, you can find us all living together, in the same communities and neighbourhoods, trading recipes and customs and celebrating our cultural differences. It’s absolutely fabulous. Donald Trump wouldn’t know what to do with himself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is exactly what I mean about the richness of it all. It’s an amazing time globally when you think for thousands of years, like tribes aggregated and segregated and saw others as outsiders and interlopers. But it’s a transitional time, when the cost of otherness, colonialism and racism can clearly be seen coming through the cracks of civility. Changes like this never come easy, but they’re coming. Thanks for sharing your experience, Fransi.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks for your blog post Michelle. That’s what inspired my comment. It’s odd, it is so “usual” here I don’t think about it. But you are right — it is a transitional time and change scares most people. I am lucky because I’m the opposite. I crave change. My mother used to have an expression and I think it’s appropriate for these times. “It has to get worse before it gets better.”

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Important post Michele. Thanks for sharing. It is distressing to see the downward spiral of tolerance and acceptance in our politics and our people. Mono cultures are unhealthy environments, whether plant, animal or mineral. The structures of such environments are inherently weak.

    The fact that Trump and his followers refuse to acknowledge that they are responsible for inciting the push back they are now experiencing is indicative of the depth and extent of their disconnect from rationality. They’re a danger to the health of our republic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Donald Trump is emblematic of our country’s growing pains – the pendulum that swings back and forth as we, sometimes violently, adjust to changes on our sociopolitical landscape. The key now, is to get beyond this, to pull back from the edge and to come to our senses. Good, not perfect, governance is the goal and I believe that in the end, we Americans will get it right. If not, I plan to stay and fight (peacefully) until we do.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s soo nice to be reminded that there are still good people out there! Every country has their share of “shitheads” as you say. New Zealand has definitely got our share of racist, self-entitled “welfare-bludgers” with an opinion on immigrants, regardless of the fact that they themselves are doing little to look after their own country and support our own citizens and local businesses… there is the current view that Asian and Philipino workers are taking up jobs that New Zealander’s could be taking… as if they would have taken said job… pretty unlikely. Some people I know have been on welfare their whole lives, and yet there is nothing really wrong with them (if you don’t count the chip on their shoulder’s). I feel sorry for them, they will miss out on the bounty that life has to offer, and it is really their loss. If they just channelled the same amount of energy into doing something more positive, who knows what they could achieve.

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    • I try not to get too gung-ho about welfare and entitlements, because then it unleashes a torrent of judgments I wish not to invite. Some people need help. That’s why we have a social safety net.

      I do believe in social welfare reform, but not the lazy budget-slashing sort, but rather the need to figure out how to actually get people on their feet who want to be there. Our system is flawed in that it only helps at a subsistence level while not giving enough of a boost to get people off and running. Plus, it seems rather spiteful of the wealthy and powerful to set their sights on those who can’t fight back, while lining their own pockets with corporate benefits. Politically, it is a shell game and a mean-spirited one at that.

      Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve read so many other blogs in countries with similar problems. Human nature is human nature, I guess. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Well said, Michelle. And you have the background to back it up — not many of us card-carriers do. What has happened to civil discourse?? Such scary times we’re living in. I only hope they don’t get scarier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a potential for scarier to happen, I suppose, but there always has been. I’m taking it for what it is – a reason for those of us who have been a silent majority for years to speak up and make our presence known. This country does not belong to the fearful hatemongers alone. I’m feeling strangely patriotic these days. Let me clarify – patriotic, not nationalistic – that’s a whole other kind of ick.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What if people are basically cool with diversity, as long as it’s in an acceptable balance? Maybe some resistance to immigrations comes from a fear of becoming the minority in your own community / state / country. There is a projection that whites in the U.S. will be a minority in the not-too-distant future. How would whites handle that? As a black woman, I’m used to being the only chip in the cookie, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought about this a lot, Kim. My daughter goes to a public school where she is a minority (30% white students). Her group of friends looks like one of those old Benetton ads. Kids are so much smarter than adults when it comes to change. The world you describe is her world now.

      I know this is what some white people are afraid of, but it’s not a particular fear of mine. I’m guilty of a different kind of racism – exoticizing races other than my own, in that I find them interesting and get a little excited when I see more people of color living in my neighborhood.

      I have to hold myself back from asking rude questions about lifestyles and hairdos and languages and food, because I’m curious. I just need to settle down! Between the discussions about the gender spectrum and the increasing diversity of our country, I think it’s a very exciting time to be alive – so much to learn, so many ways for our world to expand. Admittedly, white or not, I’m a bit of a freak in my own right.

      I so appreciate your thoughtful question and shivered a bit at the phrase “acceptable balance”, imagining everything from DNA screening to eugenics when people in power would determine what that meant.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Nice post! Love your descriptions of the neighborhood, which brought to mind my visits to see relatives (Finnish immigrants) who settled in Minnesota in various places.

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    • Thank you. It’s an interesting place to live, if you pay attention long enough. I suppose that is true of any place. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere and I think it likely that I’ll stay.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m tired of the propaganda that some people fall for so easily. They really think that it’s the poor folk that’s draggin this country down when it’s the rich folk suckin it dry!

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    • I think there’s a lot of propaganda on both sides of the aisle. We’re a sound bite nation these days and for some people, that’s all the thinking they’d like to do. I do find targeting the poor to be a cowardly approach – the whole idea of punching down is repugnant.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. On another note, and in response to some of the comments I’ve seen coming through, has there really been a decrease in acceptance? or has the focus just shifted over the years? Hatred and violence is a constant throughout history. Soo much blood has been spilled in the name of people’s beliefs and we look back and gasp at all that happened… but is it really all that different to what is happening now? did we learn anything?

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    • Social evolution is slow, but if we just look at the last 50 years, between the ability for people to connect and the pushes for tolerance and acceptance, we’ve made great strides – almost too quickly for some people to adapt to.

      In darker moments, I wonder about the nature of humanity – this need to always have “others” against which to fight or to blame. Perhaps a slower, less obvious evolution is at play. I’d like to believe that the need to cooperate and compromise will become a necessity for us to survive globally.

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  9. Yes! I have been richly blessed by having friends across racial and socioeconomic boundaries. These days, the thing that scares me the most is not the thought of a Trump presidency, but the truth that so many Americans seem to identify with his mean, judgmental, divisive mindset. Thanks for this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I think Trump is a magnet for frustration, without a true ideological stance. He’s an opportunist – a mercenary who exploits other humans. People don’t know what to do with generalized frustration and Trump is there at just the right moment to give them targets.

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  10. Michelle, such a powerful post! Growing up, you could count on one hand the number of non-whites in my high school class of 462, myself included. I always felt at the same time completely accepted and totally an outsider. My parents immigrated here at a time when calling home to Taiwan was prohibitively expensive, and they had only a few friends and family to contact in a few states. They came here, like so many of their generation, and really did build their lives from the ground up. I witnessed racism and discrimination first hand, though none violent. I cannot remotely fathom the experience of other groups; my privilege is not lost on me, as the ‘model minority.’
    OH, the assumptions we make about ourselves and others!
    People like you, who seek self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and social justice, are who keep us all from falling off the cliffs to base anarchy. Thank you. I wonder if you have already seen this article; it offers a fascinating view of the underlying foundations of Trump’s rise, and a disturbing glimpse of Fransi’s mom’s phrase, “It has to get worse before it gets better.”
    I wrote on a comment on an earlier post of yours that I thought we could survive any outcome in this election. I still think that, but the potential costs of a Trump or Cruz presidency loom ever greater and more frightening. Please keep sharing your perspective!
    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read that article with a sigh, Catherine. We’re like a nation that has a huge daddy complex. It seems ironic that this is emanating from the party of “small government”, the same people who use phrases like “nanny state”. They just want to be told what to do, to be taken care of, to not have to deal with anything or anyone different from them. And please, please, don’t challenge them to critically think about anything. Just pat them on the head and tell them it will all be okay, because it’s always the fault of someone other than them.

      Thanks for writing about your experience in the U.S. It reminds me of the nature of a family, where each child has an entirely different experience of family from each other. Our experiences living in this country are different by virtue of ethnicity, socioeconomic status and family culture. It is this part that so many people just can’t get – they can’t imagine everyone not having the same experience, the same access to opportunities and the same level of treatment, when time and again it is proven not so.

      On a lighter note, I am going to be a real danger to any authoritarian state. Menopausal liberal white ladies who don’t give a shit about how things look, make the best, most unrepentant activists. My time is coming.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Love this: “On a lighter note, I am going to be a real danger to any authoritarian state. Menopausal liberal white ladies who don’t give a shit about how things look, make the best, most unrepentant activists. My time is coming.” Hear, hear (picture parliamentarians pounding on tables and rudely disrupting the Speaker of the House)!

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  11. Good Post,Thanks for sharing. It is distressing to see the downward spiral of tolerance and acceptance in our politics and our people.

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    • Thanks. I don’t know that we’re seeing a downward spiral as much as some very revealing moments about our populace. It’s like the internet has become real life – people are revealing their true selves with no fear of reprisal. Maybe it’s more honest, but wow, is it ugly.

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  12. We all come from families that were immigrants here at one time. I don’t know how the haters manage to forget that, but they do. Perhaps if we got them to read– and understand– this post they’d be clued in. Well said Michelle.

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    • Thanks, Ally. Unfortunately, some of these attitudes are generations old as well and no blog post will impact that. I try to remember that hate is usually a result of fear at its core – fear of change, fear of loss and fear of irrelevancy. It becomes less clear once that hate becomes a collective force unified under a snake oil salesman.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed this blog post very much. Immigration and Welfare are some very hard pressed issues in America. Sometimes too, much like politics, the views that are expressed tend to be rather harsh, stereotypical, and even downright ugly. This post is a reminder that we cannot go judging all based on the actions of a few, or even many. For the things one man does, does not and should not define all.

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    • Thank you. I suspect that there are more sensible people out there than what we’re seeing highlighted by the media. We’re just not using a bully pulpit for self-aggrandizement. Many of us will be heard loudest at the November elections.

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  14. I like your use of the phrase “the algorithm of the elusive and mythological American Dream.” I had always taken the concept to mean that, with enough elbow grease and bootstrap pulling anyone could be a success. Yet, I think that by ‘anyone’ they mean white males of a certain social standing and class. It seems to require a little bit more for ‘anyone’ who does not fit that mold. (Or who does not have a father giving them a million dollar loan.)

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    • I think a re-definition of the American Dream is happening at this very moment, as our society expands to be more inclusive, tolerant and accepting. Because it’s happening, no matter how much some people wish to turn back time. And I would say with the gutting of America that the corporate oligarchy is doing, even white men are finding the American Dream elusive. It seems an ephemeral thing that only the dreamer can define for themselves. Apparently, that dream looks like a fascist state for Mr. Trump et al.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I just attended the Naturalization Ceremony of a close friend of mine whom I’ve known for about five years now. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced in my life. There was just so much joy in that room, so much pride. I wish the nay-sayers could understand the dedication these people have in coming to this country.

    Note: the Naturalization Oath is actually one of the most comprehensive that any American is asked to adhere to.

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    • My mother and grandmother went through the Naturalization process several years ago. What always struck me was how much they had to know for the test and the fact that many Americans don’t even know the basic facts of their own country. I didn’t even know some of the answers.

      I think all citizens would benefit from going through a similar process. I remember how proud my grandma and mom were when they got their certificates. And how loudly they would argue about politics, once they were able to vote!

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    • Thanks, Dave. I don’t know if there is a right choice, but I sure do know that there is a lot of wrong ones when it comes to this election. I keep focusing on the idea that what we’re going for is good, not perfect governance and for someone who will represent us to the world in a manner that is respectful, thoughtful and dignified.

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      • Yes … someone – Obama’s done a decent job – to lead by example, which the president of a republic ought to do (somewhere between our UK prime minister and monarch, perhaps) … anyway, best of luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Right on Michelle . At least you live in Minnesota . In my experience , living in South Florida , there is little chance that the immigrant issue can be sanely resolved by our unresponsive , state government.

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    • Florida does seem to have a lot of issues, especially over the last decade. I do like living in Minnesota, but I was quite chagrined to see that while the Republicans in the metro areas went for bland Rubio, the rural Republicans were all about Cruz, whom I find more insidious than Trump. Still, I think it unlikely to see a Republican in the White House for awhile. They need to get their act together.

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  17. As someone who is not really exposed to the socio-cultural dynamics of the US, but who knows many acquaintances, friends and family members who have migrated to the US just for a better education, a better job and a better life that their country didn’t offer them, I really sometimes find it appalling to read about how many neocons find immigrants “invading” their countries while it is actually the other way around, they should better read history of US foreign military adventures; which are unwarranted more often than not.

    Your piece is a ray of light in such dark talk. I agree some immigrants would end up being involved in some unethical or illegal activity, but you are precisely right when you say that so would the natives.

    The thing about America that really inspired others to go there and look for better opportunities was not her military might or her ability to drop thousands of bombs within a matter of hours to a far off country which neither many Americans knew existed nor millions of natives of those far off countries knew why they deserved to die. It was the quality of education and research it offered, and also its ability to offer equitable and better life opportunities that they went over there.

    I know many people there who have worked hard, excelled in their academic and professional careers and contributed a lot to both the United States and the effort to improve their home country as well. These are hardworking, committed people who value the opportunity that life, and for that matter the US, has given to them.

    What would people like Donald Trump have them do? Stay in their countries and live and die in misery as he brags about commitment to humanity as the American President all the while he continues to bomb their countries, God forbid, or offer them a chance to compete through a fair legal process, and find a better life in the US or elsewhere if they are so able and become actually better and useful people and contribute not just to their own family but to the US as well?

    Thank you for writing this Michelle, its good to find that compassionate, sensible, people who value humanity, life and diversity, still live on this planet.

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    • The real irony in all this immigrant rabble-rousing, is that immigrants are what make America so amazing. That disparate groups of people can coexist – across religions, politics, regional differences, ethnicity – this is what makes America what it is. We’re not great at it, but we can be and no ignorant, violence-inciting carnival barker is going to take us back in time to darker days.

      In terms of the misuse of our military these days, I do believe in a draft of all citizens (men and women) for national service. I would very much like all Americans to be accountable for when we go into other countries. No exemptions – politicians’ kids would be the first to be called up. That would slow down some of this reckless use of human lives, both with the military and of innocent civilians on the ground.

      And the blight on America that even President Obama didn’t fix – closing Guantanamo Bay. We have edged closer to the kind of world the current crop of Republican candidates envision – an authoritarian state with unlimited power. Horrifying to anyone with a sense of history, critical thinking skills and a desire for true justice.

      Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do here. Work that will require the resources of a diverse population.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are so right, Michelle, and the world would actually respect the US more for doing what it used to do best – that commitment to justice and human development. It sounds like a complete no-brainer that the US keeps pushing itself and the world along with it to a ruthless place full of violence, hatred and malice, the kind of world Donald Trump preaches. What I find more astounding is the amount of following he is getting in the Republican primaries, that such a large denomination of the American electoral has accepted this vision? And then they ask “why do they hate us?”

        I agree with you completely that there is a lot of work to do not just in the US, but in the world at large, and it is up to conscientious people like you everywhere to raise more voice.

        Thank you for reading out my perspective and responding to it, though I am not a direct participant in the American political process so probably my perspective doesn’t count really. But as an academic researcher in political science, and public policy, in this “third world” country that so many Americans associate only with mad violence, bloodletting and terrorism, that I have to confess that American politics affects the world, especially our world.

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        • To be honest, I think you give a little more credit than is due to America’s past commitment to justice and human development. That is not to say that there have not been some good intentions on the part of government, but like most entities and people, self-interest guides much of its policy. We’re evolving, though and know so much more about the outcomes of bad policy and muddied interventions. I believe we will and can do better.

          I appreciate your perspective, as it is always interesting to hear how things are viewed outside of the US. With constant media coverage bombarding us, we can become quite myopic.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. So many agreeable points on this post. You have a beautiful blog ❀

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  19. Beautiful post, Michelle! Yes, shitheads all around–and in fact some cultures where I am more afraid to be a woman, a feminist, an animal lover than even our own. I don’t romanticize any cultures. I’m an all-around cynic and think most cultures suck a lot. I try to take the positive from all, choose a few battles, and drink to drown out the rest (sort of kidding).

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    • Thanks, Luanne. I think that this is the problem with some Americans, myself included. Our education is myopic in regards to global knowledge. This leads to one of two outcomes: idealization or bigotry. The only way is to educate oneself, until we clearly see other humans and not just “otherness”. And human nature, being what it is, is both laudable and damning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly–idealization or bigotry. I was just thinking earlier today (and I think this is somewhat related) that the feminists of the 60s-70s thought that women doctors and politicians would lead to a more humane world. It didn’t turn out that way, but the mistake was made because we idealized the nature of “woman” and forgot that people is people heh.

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  20. We Canadians are truly dismayed by the comb-over and all that is being revealed by his hateful rhetoric. I know that there is a huge population of Americans who are equally dismayed. I hope their voice is heard. I wonder if he and his followers would be happy if all those who don’t agree with his vision actually could emigrate to Canada (though I doubt they’d be given refugee status) and all the muslims and Mexicans were sent back to where they came from. The entire economy would claps like a house of cards and there’d be no one left willing to do the shit jobs. He’s so myopic.
    Nice post Michelle. I too enjoy living in a multicultural society – I find the diversity thrilling.
    Alison

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    • Alison, I will not be moving to Canada if this toxic load gets elected. I don’t think Canada deserves a bunch of us yahoos up there. To me, that is as irrational as the people who say if Mr. Sanders is not the Democratic candidate, they’ll abstain or vote for Trump. I would like to send those people to logic camp.

      If we want our country to evolve, reasonable people need to stay and protest and speak up and fight the good fight.

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  21. You are right, we cannot wait for a politician to save our asses, we have to do it ourselves. My country Kenya is a very good case study. Uhuru promised to reduce corruption if he was elected. Within 2 weeks of his election corruption was up by 13%. Kenya was recently voted the 3rd most corrupt country.

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    • In our country, with a voluntary, representative government, it means that representation only happens for those who do something. In 2012, 57.5% of eligible American voters exercised the right to vote. And that’s the bare minimum an American citizen can do. The system is corrupt insofar that we provide fertile ground for it to happen.

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  22. What an important and powerful post, Michelle. And so many great comments. It’s scary to see that so many people seem to have waited for a “strong leader” to save them from all they are afraid of, be it social change, financial struggles or terrorists. I’m with you on the team of post menopausal liberal ladies.

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    • Thanks Helen. The recognition that fear drives much of this, really helps put things in context for me. It makes me realize that we all have to make a choice about what to do with that fear – to stay reasoned and open or to become fiercely defensive. I listened to the news of crowds in Belgium holding up signs for peace after that horrific bombing and it made me cry. Sometimes we forget the heights that humans are capable of soaring to.

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  23. Thank you for this post. I love the richness of being in multicultural environments and frankly America is made up of immigrants and always has been. It’s what makes it rich and diverse. American politics have reached an all time low but hopefully the gods are on the side of good and it surely seems that the Republican Party will finally fall apart. Personally I will vote for Hilary Clinton as president to carry on the legacy of President Obama. Yes to those who will abstain from voting if Sanders is not the nominee they walk a thin and very dangerous line.

    Diversity , different cultures etc is my prime motivation for travel!.

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    • I will vote for the Democratic candidate this year as well. I think it likely to be Clinton. You’re right about what America is made up of – it’s a history lesson missing in the histrionics over immigration. The thought of living in a nation with a bunch of yahoos who look like me is depressing. I’m grateful for the diversity of thought and culture we have here and I’ll do my own part in defending that.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your perspective!

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