One-Liner Wednesday: Ben Franklin

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
~~~ Benjamin Franklin

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One-Liner Wednesday: creativity

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
~~~Albert Einstein
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One-Liner Wednesday: criticism

“The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. Oppositional energy only creates more of the same.”
~~~from the core principles of the Center for Action and Contemplation  https://cac.org/about-cac/missionvision/
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US immigration

The current United States government offers so many perplexities and outrages that it is difficult to react or reach out to policymakers about all of them. Or most of them. Even closely following a handful of issues can be daunting as legislation and DT’s mind often change markedly over the course of a few hours.

One of the most critical issues at the moment is immigration. DT has insisted since his campaign began that he would build a wall across our southern border and deport undocumented people. He also wanted to restrict Muslims from entering the country, even though that clearly violates the US Constitution and laws.

As president, he has succeeded in restricting visas from some majority Muslim nations and has been deporting some undocumented people who had been allowed previously to stay. In recent months, problems have intensified for people who were brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers. Then-President Barack Obama had signed an executive order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, protecting some of the Dreamers until Congress could pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Senate did so in 2013, but the House of Representatives failed to consider it, so DACA stayed in place until DT rescinded it in September 2017, calling on Congress to put a law in place to deal with the issue within six months. At the moment, there is the threat of a government shutdown because the budget still hasn’t passed and a replacement for DACA has been drawn into the negotiations.

It’s actually even more complicated than that, but I’ll spare you any more details.

The general upshot is that the current US immigration system is broken and has been for a long time. Some of the same people who rail against immigrants are exploiting immigrant labor, either undocumented people or those brought in as guest workers. For example, DT’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has for years used H-2B visas to bring in foreign workers, even though there are Floridians available to take those jobs.

Immigration issues are sometimes used as cover for discrimination, prejudice, and racist attitudes. The most blatant recent example is DT’s disparaging Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries while asking why we don’t have more immigrants from Norway, a country with less than 10% people of color.

The vast majority of United States citizens are either immigrants themselves or have forebears who were immigrants. Many of those people came here to escape poverty or oppression in their home countries, the same reasons many current immigrants come here. Others came here to join family members.

It is hypocritical for people in government to disparage current immigrants when people in their families followed the same pattern in settling here.

It is true that our immigration procedures are desperately in need of updating. Processing times are also very slow, partly due to outdated procedures and quotas.

As some readers may recall, my daughter E’s spouse is British. They met in grad school and married and now have a daughter. At the moment, E and the baby are living in the US with us; L had to return to the UK after his student visa expired. They hope that E will be able to get a spousal visa in the UK later this year. Despite the uncertainties caused by Brexit, it is much easier, faster, and cheaper for E to get a UK visa than for L to get a US green card. I’m sad to say that there are some in the US who might use L’s immigration status, even though it would be legal, as a covert means of racial discrimination.

It has been heartbreaking to see families being broken apart as parents are deported away from their citizen children or children leave the only country they know to go to a parent’s country of origin where they may not even speak or write the language.

Congress and the President have the power to show compassion, justice, and welcome to immigrants by instituting a new system with an earned path to citizenship, similar to the path their ancestors followed in setting here.

Enough of the name-calling and threatening and divisiveness.

It’s time to protect the Dreamers, those under temporary protected status, and all immigrants, regardless of current documentation status. As Emma Lazarus wrote in “The New Colossus” which is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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One-Liner Wednesday: change

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
— Rumi
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One-Liner Wednesday: hope

“Hope is that thing inside us that exists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.”
~~~ Barack Obama
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Black dresses/Golden Globes

I watched the red carpet and the Golden Globe Awards ceremony last night. I admit that many of the nominated films aren’t available in area theaters and many of the television shows are on platforms or channels I can’t access, but I am interested in award shows for cultural reasons.

This year was especially interesting for its part in the ongoing efforts to finally make lasting change in the areas of gender equality and sexual harassment/abuse. As was widely reported prior to the the ceremony, women were wearing black to call attention to these issues. In the days leading up to the ceremony, some commentators wondered aloud if that was too frivolous a protest.

It was not.

The questions from reporters on the red carpet, usually centered on which designer made your outfit, presented opportunities for women nominees and presenters to highlight the issues, demands for systemic change, and efforts underway to address the problems, including a legal fund just started to assist victims of sexual harassment/abuse across all walks of life and types of workplace.

Many of the men joined in the efforts as well, wearing “Time’s Up” buttons in support of the effort and adding their own comments to the discussion. Some of them also wore all black, replacing the usual white shirt with a black one under their tuxedo jacket.

The emphasis continued during the award ceremony itself. Some presenters pointed out gender inequity in the industry. Many of the winners spoke passionately about telling the stories of people who have been underrepresented and unheralded and emphasized that things were going to change in our society to make it fairer and more just – and that the energy for change would not flag as it sometimes has in past efforts.

The highlight of the evening was Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. deMille Award, which was hopeful and inspirational. The text of the speech is here.

I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon.

May that day dawn soon.
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