United States of Amnesiacs
I’ve been obsessed with this song for about a month now:
The whole damn thing is good and each line hits me to my core, but at 3:13 is why I keep listening to it over and over. “I believe NO ONE is ILLEGAL. I believe EVERYONE is equal.”
I’ve always held an idealized vision for The United States in my heart and mind. We’re the land of the free and despite our stumbling along the way it continues to be the core of the country’s existence. This country is built on the backs of the most vulnerable among us. The exploitation and killing of the natives, slavery, Japanese internment and the ongoing migrant crisis are all serious stains on the history of this country. Even though we fought a civil war about it, discrimination and segregation continue. Our biggest failing as a country isn’t only the atrocities we’ve committed, but our failure to learn from them.
I’m a firm believer that an attack on one group of people is an attack on ALL groups of people. I am incredibly privileged, white, straight, male…but the people I care most about in this world live in constant fear. Fear for their lives, their freedom…their very right to exist. It’s a struggle on so many fronts that I find myself overwhelmed and unsure of where to even begin.
Right now I find the most pressing battle to be the one on our southern border. The migrant crisis horrifies me. I actually don’t care if they’re refugees or simply allured by the promise of a better life in the US. People deserve more dignity and respect than being put in concentration camps, waiting for their fate to be determined by a foreign and clearly hostile government entity.
Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the United States government tell me that when the cards are on the table they are willing to toss people in cages and throw away the key. It doesn’t matter who they’re willing to do that to, it’s only a matter of time before they are willing to do it to people who think “it’ll never happen to ME.”
I don’t actually think the government is gonna come and put a bag over my head and I’ll disappear quietly in the night…but I do think the more the rights of others are eroded the bolder they will become until one day you find yourself more and more convinced that it just might be possible. That’s all it takes. The fear of it and they can control you.
I can no longer stand idly by while people suffer in cages in the name of…freedom? Safety? Democracy? I don’t even know anymore. So, in solidarity with the growing number of people being held captive at our southern border I am wearing handcuffs for the foreseeable future.
They are legit steel handcuffs. Although as you can see, I've seperated them (I still need to be able to function). I’ve already been wearing them for several hours at the time of writing this and while they aren’t the heaviest thing I can imagine wearing, the weight of them is noticeable. I intend to wear them indefinitely until something significant changes for the migrants entering this country. In my mind it means at least as long as Donald Trump is president. I’ll also be document the experience here. It’s my hope people will ask about them and I will share why I am wearing them. I’ll be deciding on a few of our items in our shop that I will donate some of the profit from to a still undecided border advocacy group. As you can see, there are a LOT of options: https://www.nnirr.org/drupal/border-groups
I don’t expect to change the world, but together we can hopefully improve some peoples lives. I encourage you to follow the link above and donate to a nearby group, volunteer if you can, or show up to protests. We are all human. No one is illegal. Everyone is equal.