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November 07, 2018


Beth, I'm feeling many of the same things you articulate here. I went for a walk today up the road behind my condo, where the road turns to dirt and passes cornfields and farms, and I thought about the balance of action and introspection, and the balance of having a clear-eyed view of how broken things are while also rejoicing at how far we've come. Temperamentally I need some optimism or I descend too easily into despair. I'm trying to focus on the positives today, including the ones you mentioned in your post. And... I see more clearly than ever before how long the road ahead will be.

I believe it is useful to ask persons (both for and against immigration), what a man asked me a year or so ago, as I tried on a coat in his store: "Where are your people from?" Unless a person is indigenous, our families all came here from somewhere else, and the majority have histories of struggle.

I've also been influenced by working with persons from all over the world, some immigrants, some here to study or on an assignment.

Having recently retired from almost 30 years of refugee work, it is hard to see the demise of the U.S. refugee program. When I started in this work, the U.S. accepted over 130k refugees. In FY18, only 22k were admitted; the lowest number of refugees the US has accepted in 40 years. Over the years, I had the privilege (and sadness) of hearing their often horrific stories of loss and displacement. I visited refugees in their homes where I was welcomed as an honored guest, when in fact the honor of visiting them was mine. The lack of compassion in the current administration is beyond understanding--led by the little-minded Miller and his even smaller-minded boss. Rage at this turn of events is overwhelming, but I will take a little consolation in seeing the young Somali-American woman, a former refugee, heading to Congress.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.