Repairing the World

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Last weekend I watched the wonderful documentary on Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (which I suggest that you watch also, since Fred Rogers was an extraordinary man).  While I was watching it, some of the words mentioned in regard to the mess that’s the U.S. right now were “Tikkun Olam” which I’d never heard of before.  The words were referenced with regard to the question ‘what can we do to help ourselves and the world right now’?  The response was “repair the world”.  I’m leaving a link below that better explains the background and original meaning of these words, but also emphasizes that the meaning that is usually associated with these words has to do with repairing the world by means of social justice and human responsibility toward fixing what is wrong with the world.

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While changing the entire world is a huge task, and one that most of us are unable to achieve, after watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I was struck by how much each one of us can change the world.  How, you might ask?  By changing the world we live in.  Of course, we can sign petitions, march in protest, vote and give money to causes that resonate with us.  We should do all that.  But there are also direct actions that we can take.  We can declutter and make our homes as peaceful as we can.  We can also work at a soup kitchen.  These actions aren’t either/or, remember.  We can treat everyone we see with kindness.  And, for those of us who have limited money, it can be the most direct way of repairing the world.  I hope that I can manage to create a better world right where I am.  Hope you are inspired to do the same.

 https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

 

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10,000+ Children and Counting

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Over 10,000 migrant children, some of them seeking asylum on their own, and others taken from families seeking asylum, are now being held in various places in the U.S.  This is an increase in numbers, and they are being held in a variety of places.  Some are being held in tents in the desert of Texas, other are being crowded into other shelters which were never designed to hold the amount of people they are now being forced to hold.

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Some of these facilities are being paid upwards of $750.00 per day, and someone is making a lot of money from this.  Not only that, but the money trail leads directly to the Trump administration, including one company paying half a million dollars toward Trump’s inauguration.  Other companies making millions on these practices include Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education), and Jim Mattis (Secretary of Defense) as part of their investors.  Vice President Pence also has ties through his brother to other of these providers.

I’ve left some links for you to follow if you want to find out more.  The reporting is not only from highly respected new outlets, but I’ve also included a Snopes link. Let me know your thoughts on this matter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/us/migrant-shelters-border-crossing.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/us/migrant-children-detention.html

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/14/politics/immigrant-children-kept-detention/index.html

 

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/are-10000-children-in-u-s-detention-centers/

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Quotes for Columbus Day

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I thought that I’d try something a little different for today.  Here are some Native American quotes I’d like to share with you all.

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Don’t Be Silent

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It’s important to speak out when there are injustices being committed.  Right now, in the U.S. there are forces gathered against many of our rights as citizens.  Not only are we treating asylum seekers as criminals, but we are allowing the murder of unarmed civilians be overly aggressive police.  Racism and bigotry are running rampant, and an entire gender is being told to “sit down and shut up”.

Who are the perpetrators of this?   For the most part it is angry white men.  Whether they identify as “incel”, white supremacist, or simply Republican, the message is always the same.  Whatever it is that they want, it’s so much more important than what you want/need.  The rest of us, and yes, there are more of us than them, are being divided by race, gender and sexual orientation.  It’s time to join hands and stand together.

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If you believe in “liberty and justice for all”, do whatever you can with what you have.  Sign petitions; write your congressperson; register to vote (if you haven’t done so); join a protest/march; give a donation to an organization that follows your own morals.  Do what you can.  But most importantly, do not be silent!

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Why Are People from Honduras Seeking Asylum?

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As we all know, there are a lot of people from Central and South America seeking asylum at our southern border.  However, I haven’t really seen much information regarding the reasons why they’re seeking asylum.  We’ve all heard about the gangs, etc. but not the reasons why these countries are falling apart.  Since I’m an information seeker, I decided to look into one of these countries and let you know why there are so many problems there.  My first pick was Honduras since this was the country that caught my eye.

In my reading I found out that in the early 1900’s U.S. banana companies set up shop in Honduras, bribed government officials, gained control of over 1 million acres of land and sent the resulting money and crops to the U.S.  This buy-up of land converted Honduras into a one-crop economy, setting the entire nation up for massive poverty.  At the same time, U.S. military was used to prevent any uprising against the corporations by the citizens of Honduras, while the banana companies gained monetary control of the country.  By the time Regan was president, Honduras was often referred to as “U.S.S. Honduras”.    Honduras was also used as a place to train the Contras of Nicaragua, which in turn increased the U.S. military presence in Honduras.  This militarized Honduran society and brought about a crack down of any and all resistance to the government, thus squashing democracy.  The U.S. was also instrumental in disrupting the coffee trade under the policy of “globalization”, which led to the destabilization of this industry.

All this has led to an increase in military, a loss of human rights, and many human rights violations.  When the citizens elected Manuel Zelaya, a progressive president in 2006, his promise of reforms upset the ruling oligarchy, who then staged a military coup to overthrow the elected government.  Poverty is a huge problem, with drug lords and a corrupt government, police and military working together.  The U.S. is also at fault for militarily supporting this coup against the wishes of the 35-member Organization of American States.

So, this is a quick over-view of the problems in Honduras.  From what I have seen, the other countries from which asylum-seekers are coming have a history with the U.S. that is much the same.  Clearly, the fault is not with the people who have walked thousands of miles seeking asylum.  I’ve left some links below for your education.  Once again, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we need to look at the history of a problem before we start assigning blame.

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https://theconversation.com/how-us-policy-in-honduras-set-the-stage-for-todays-mass-migration-65935

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/opinion/in-honduras-a-mess-helped-by-the-us.html

 

Who Are We – Do We Know?

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I can’t let silence speak for me.  I don’t want to stay quiet on what is happening to children in this country.  I do understand that the U.S. has a long history of genocide, slavery, stealing children from indigenous peoples, stealing children from slaves, separating Japanese families.    This is who we have been, but I had thought that we’d finally grown up and learned from our mistakes.

I have been proven wrong once again.  We are continuing to our past in our present, and most likely into our future.  This is appalling, and against all human rights.  The U.N. council was correct in condemning this outrageous behavior.  Not only are we taking the children, but we are refusing to tell the parents where the children are.  (And, in many cases the government has simply lost children).  We are at a point in our history where there are two paths we can go down.  One leads to less rights and justice for everyone, and the other leads to empathy and compassion.  Please don’t tell me you are a Christian while also telling me that taking children away from their families is an okay thing to do.  The two do not go together.  “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”  James 2:8. Many of the people coming to our borders are seeking asylum, they are not illegal.  Yet, we are treating them as such.  By the way, illegal entry is a misdemeanor, not a felony, so it is comparable to getting a speeding ticket.  Did you lose your children when you got a speeding ticket?  No, of course not.

If you are upset and outraged by this policy, please let your congressmen/women know.  Make your voice heard.  Don’t be silent, lest your silence be assumed to be agreement.

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1,475 Missing Children

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We’ve all heard about the missing “illegal” immigrant children.  I thought that I’d give you a few links (found below) for you to read.  But, I wanted to talk about this:  many of these children are showing up at the border, alone, without their parents, seeking asylum.  There are many abuses alleged, and the ACLU is taking the administration to court over them.  Also, children, regardless of age, are being torn away from their parents and placed in jail-like facilities, even if their parents are also here at the border requesting asylum.  This is not a law, this is a new policy change put in place by the Trump administration.  Please, educated yourself and think about what this means.  We have a policy in place that takes children away from parents and “loses” those same children.  We are keeping children in jail-like facilities, there is alleged physical and sexual abuses going on, and the administration is okay with it.  What does this say about us, as a nation?  My thought is that for a country that loudly proclaims to be a “Christian” nation, I don’t see much in the way of what Jesus taught here.  What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below.

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https://www.npr.org/2018/05/29/615079848/following-up-on-1-500-missing-immigrant-children-in-the-u-s

https://www.salon.com/2018/05/25/americas-missing-children-over-1000-immigrant-minors-have-vanished-since-october/

https://www.aclu.org/