Share the road
“At the end of the day, we’re all just walking each other home.”
Anne Lamott, one of my favorite writers, first introduced me to this quote, taken from author Ram Dass, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it these past several days in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
On the heels of one of the ugliest episodes in recent history, the hate-filled Klan march in Charlottesville, we’ve seen Americans rushing in to help in Houston without any obstructing filters – color-blind, gender-blind, class-blind.
We’ve seen the images and heard the stories, heroic rescues by neighbors with boats, folks traveling from hundreds of miles away to lend a hand and help rebuild, countless others asking for ways to contribute.
We saw them after Katrina, after 9/11.
Why is it that only after catastrophe strikes do we look into the eyes of others and recognize our own shared humanity?
Why is it that so many of us rush in to save another who, on a different day, may be the subject of our derision and contempt?
Some of those rescuers, I dare say, could just as easily have been supporters of what happened in Charlottesville.
What turns decent people into angry, hate-filled marchers, intent on violence?
There’s been plenty of ugliness in this country this past year, whipped up by fear- and hate- and anger-mongering by the powers that be in Washington, tearing into the moral fabric of this country.
And now we have the Dreamers.
A nuclear crisis is looming in North Korea, another devastating hurricane is headed toward Florida, the healthcare system has been sabotaged, the federal government is facing a shutdown, the west coast is burning.
That’s more than plenty on the plates of our leaders, and yet yesterday – with no approaching deadline or imminent threat – the president and his attorney general took the time to serve eviction notices on hundreds of thousands of would-be proud Americans.
In 2012, our government told the young and undocumented who came to this country as children that if they came out of the shadows, identified themselves and lived here as do other law-abiding citizens, they’d be protected under the law.
Scores of them did that, holding up their side of that promise. They attended school, learned the language, obeyed the law, went to work, served in the military, contributed to their communities and proudly behaved like citizens, more so than some who think just waving a flag is enough.
Yesterday though the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- under the guise of passing the buck to Congress -- announced that we were reneging on that bargain, telling those dreamers that in a few months they’d no longer belong here.
Yes they do, Mr. Sessions, yes they do – just as much as do you, your ancestors and anyone else who came to this country with little more than the dream of America in their pockets and the promise of protection under the law.
This is and has been their home too, and at the end of the day, we’re all just walking each other there.
Maybe it’s a longer walk for some. And maybe it takes others longer to get on that road.