Meaning, Machinery, Understanding


Joey trying to think deep thoughts. (Columbia University mortarboard & tassel courtesy of Rebecca, MSW)

What is the meaning of life? Search me.  I’m a stuffed kangaroo.

A good thing about a head stuffed with fluff is that a stuffed head doesn’t stew.  Not in any sense of the word.

Jeffrey, whose head is filled with meat, stews (and as meat, could be stewed, mmm!) all the time.  It doesn’t get him anywhere.  The more he thinks, the fewer answers he has to the Great Questions.  It exhausts him.

These head-clearing Rides are a relief from that stewing.  They teach humility; we see how our new friends and neighbors along the road live life in their way, not ours.  We are made to feel properly small in a big world.  We are reminded that we know nothing and that it’s wrong for We-Who-Know-Nothing to interfere with others’ efforts to live their own lives and find their own answers to the Great Questions.

In contrast, American immigration law aggressively interferes with others.  Its jumble of contradictions hurts us morally and practically.  It draws perverse distinctions among people based on accidents of birth.  Its machinery separates families, deprives businesses of workers and customers, expels according to arbitrary parameters people who face death abroad, bullies the weak, makes “criminals” of innocents who break arbitrary silly government edicts.

Just because People With Guns & Jails say so, it is a civil violation or (in some instances) a crime to walk from There to Here, to sell your labor to a willing employer, to live in America with your America-born spouse and children, even to draw a breath on a particular spot on Planet Earth.  The laws of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad say, “protect the stranger, love your neighbor as you love yourself,” but those laws are no match for those who profit from guns and jails.

Absent emergency, it’s wrong to stay in a private home uninvited.  But America is not a private home.  Someone who supports herself through honest labor and respects her neighbors and her neighbors’ property has as much right as anyone to be here.  Status violations—that pretend to make a good person into a criminal merely for living and working and loving and doing what human mammals do—are abhorrent, a crime against nature.

We aren’t so naive as to think that judges, lawyers, jailers and others who are paid to crush our fellow humans because of where they were born, will stew about this and one day rise up en masse and declare, “NO MORE.”  (Jeffrey used to dream that the private immigration bar would go on strike and the system would choke as a result.  Foolish boy. They too have a stake in the status quo.  And who dares to go first?)  Remember Upton Sinclair:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Human Rights First and its volunteer attorneys help refugees who can’t afford a lawyer.  Their salaries—or lack thereof—do NOT depend on “not understanding.”

They understand.

That’s why we support Human Rights First.

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3 thoughts on “Meaning, Machinery, Understanding

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Best wishes on your journey….I am very proud of you…I hope to visit this summer at some point and hear all about your adventure face to face…..Take good care,


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