My mom called me the other day.
“When are you coming to visit?”
“In a few days, mom.”
“Wonderful….the weather is awful, the news is worse, it’s hard to sleep. I don’t understand this world. They are protesting in Boston. I’m so nervous for all those people. If we weren’t already in this county we would never be allowed in.”
“Mom, we have been here for 3 generations, the weather looks good tomorrow…turn off the news.”
My mom has led her life as an optimist and wears rose-colored glasses. She was a theatre major and loves to dismiss discomfort. But, mom at 84, living alone, with the TV as her constant late night companion, is awash in memories of Germany in the 40’s. The news this past week has triggered those memories.
I cannot make her feel better as much as I wanted to. Hearing her concern makes me feel even more sad. I’m glad I will be visiting her soon.
My son texted me on Saturday;
“My friend can’t visit his family in Canada.”
“What! Doesn’t he work with you and doesn’t he have a work visa?”
“This is awful.”
I couldn’t comfort my son. He didn’t ask me to but I wanted to anyway.
Worst of all, I don’t seem to be able to comfort myself.
As I waited at the airport the other day this woman told me she is OFF social media. “Totally off”. She doesn’t want to listen anymore.
“Do you work? Do you have kids?”
“No, I don’t work, I am raising my kids and I can’t listen to social media and be anxious all the time and raise my kids.”
I looked at her in disbelief and wondered, how do you raise kids and remain disconnected…is that even possible?
I texted my friend who I check in with almost daily…a few days had passed so I shot her a “How you holding up?”
“I’m depressed, the world is so disturbing, but I’m going to protest today – check out my Instagram.”
There she was holding a sign, “Immigrants, Make America Great Again!” She was with her sister and had a big smile on her face.
My social media is abuzz with protest and links to the ACLU for donations. My Facebook and Instagram are full of pictures of airports packed with marchers and signage.
When we landed in Logan Airport last night, it was 11 pm. Chatting with two tanned men who were just back from a 5 day Mexico trip they told me,“We were so happy to go to Mexico and give them our support. But you know, there will be a backlash. We are in the retail business and Americans will be the ones hurt by the increase in prices…we will be the one’s paying the higher prices.”
Another man joined in, “I’m Iranian, I have a green card. I travel all the time. I am here for a meeting in Boston but my job takes me over the border to Mexico and back regularly…this is a mess. It took me 2 hours to do what normally takes 3 minutes.”
Everyone is being affected, my mom, friends, kids, and fellow travelers.
The world is changing rapidly and it’s happening at a 24/7 pace everywhere we turn.
So do we turn it off like that lady at the airport? Do we just turn it all off?
This morning my email feed was abuzz with more news of how the world was reacting to the Immigration ban. It has touched us all because frankly we are a country to immigrants.
“On Sunday night, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the star of HBO’s hit show “Veep,” described her experience as the daughter of an immigrant.
“My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France,” Dreyfus said. “I’m an American patriot, and I love this country. Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish and it’s un-American.”
One thing I know that has changed over this past week is none of us can tune-out the changes that are happening in rapid fire. Whether we are concerned about immigration, women’s issues or the environment for starters…we are either actively or passively part of the change that this new administration has brought.
If you have an Iphone, or a TV, a radio or interact with others…you are involved.
The truth is, what we have learned this week is that we are not alone…and we are not helpless. We may not get exactly what we want but that doesn’t mean we should stay quiet.