Overcoming Fear

Fear is driving us apart as a country. Fear is leading to an increase in racially targetted hate crimes. Fear drove the massacre in Pittsburgh last week. Fear does not have to be our future. I have spent countless hours over coffees, dinners and in-person training and mobilizing churches, individuals, and Bible studies to welcome and do life with newly arrived refugees, offering friendship, giving the gift of time, English practice, a driving lesson or a ride to the grocery store. I realize it is not always comfortable to start a conversation with someone that is different than you. It … Continue reading Overcoming Fear

Mourning

I got this mug in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh. Since ending up back in Ohio, I find myself there a few times a year to salsa dance, often staying with my friend Becky and going to this coffee shop. Becky, my British scientist friend and I danced in the same circles in the UK together and rekindled our friendship after many years apart when we found we were in nearby US cities. We couldn’t be more different in many ways, but our love of dance and conversations about politics and our cross-cultural US/UK lives have given us much in common. … Continue reading Mourning

The Next Three Weeks

In early October the fiscal year ends for refugee resettlement for the year in the US and the new year, new budgets and most importantly new numbers of people we will potentially accept will be set. The US has had a refugee resettlement program since WWII and it’s operated much as it is now since the Refugee Act of 1980. The program has been under assault in criticism since the campaign and in reality since the current administration has taken office despite none of the complaints being true. The are heavily vetted. They contribute to the US economy. None have … Continue reading The Next Three Weeks

America at its Best

Beauty. I was at the dentist today with a Muslim friend from Pakistan/Afghanistan. Her translator, an Indian Sikh man with a turban and her and myself were speaking in broken bits of three languages. Urdu between them, her Pashto, and my English to each of them. An elderly white lady came through the door with a walker and the Sikh man jumped up to help her. She didn’t look up at him and settled in behind us. A few minutes later as we were chatting about all kinds of random subjects the lady in the walker behind me spoke up … Continue reading America at its Best

My Thoughts the Travel Ban: Is it Good?

The Supreme Court ruled the travel ban was within the legal authority of the President. It is legal. I am glad for our check and balance system and that the courts saw this case. “It is legal,” they declared, and “allowable according to his powers to ban countries from entry,” but does that make his order good? That is what I want us to think about today. Just because it CAN happen, SHOULD it have happened? Is the travel ban good? The president said it was “to make America safe.” It was to protect America from people who wanted to … Continue reading My Thoughts the Travel Ban: Is it Good?

On Ethics and Justice

We are living in strange times. There have been assertions lately from certain legal teams that the president has the power to pardon himself or herself. No, no sir, the president cannot pardon himself. This was decided long ago by the Department of Justice. “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself.” – DOJ August 5, 1974 The logic should reason for itself that unless we were living in a corrupt country more akin to a dictatorship, self-pardoning would be a gross misuse of power. We are all, … Continue reading On Ethics and Justice

Reading Through the Rhetoric – Caravans and the Mexican border

Here is some current events homework for you. 1.) Google “asylum seekers” so you know what it means. 2.) Look up “US policy in Honduras and Central America” so you know our contributions negative or positive to people fleeing their country. This is an interesting non partisan report from the Wilson Center exploring the history and US policy: Crime and Violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle  3.) Ask yourself why a caravan of 1000 asylum seekers we knew were coming who told everyone they were seeking amnesty and walked across Mexico (which is no safe feat.) are being painted as “dangerous to … Continue reading Reading Through the Rhetoric – Caravans and the Mexican border