Silly us! Up til’ now, this blog has lacked any kind of itinerary as to where we’re going. The route we’ve taken so far looks roughly like this.
And now we’re fast-approaching the end of our exploration of English-speaking North America. We’ll stop in San Diego to visit Alain, Andrei, Fabiola, Ismael, Fiore, Jun, and Uncle TJ.
Then it’s Latin America, starting with Mexico, where we’ll likely turn this into a permanently bilingual blog to make it accessible to new friends south of the over-militarized border as well as our older ones in the 49 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces we’ve visited in our collective 83 years.
It’s important and telling to note that we won’t have any problem crossing the border and staying as long as we want in Mexico. We won’t be detained in a privately-run, privately-profiting detention center. We won’t have to cross in the middle of the desert to avoid the Border Patrol. Just like every other of the couple dozen times I went to Mexico while living in or visiting San Diego, we’ll walk right in without any check whatsoever.
This is a differential advantage we don’t want. We don’t buy the idea of a “free country” with “free markets” when 11 million people live in fear of deportation, separation from their families, and work place exploitation and workers cannot migrate to where jobs pay better. We build walls to trap people in poverty, then pay them the lowest wages we can get away with and call it free trade. The immigration reform bill currently trapped in the House of Representatives by the pro-business, anti-human being Republican Party has been overshadowed by the ridiculous and damaging shutdown and near-default, but it’s not dead. In fact, it would pass with almost all Democrats and a few reasonable Republicans voting for it if John Boehner would just let it come to a vote.
The current bill won’t solve global labor inequality or make our immigration system entirely humane and rational. In fact, it would further militarize the border and create a windy, almost booby-trapped path to citizenship. But it would end years of living in fear for almost all of the 11 or so million U.S. residents who are no different from us except in their immigration status and place of birth. And it would eventually (in 13+ years) lead to U.S. citizenship for a significant portion of these brothers and sisters of ours.
So, dear readers, friends we’ve met on this journey and friends from back homes, call or write your Representative to show your support for those who share our country but not its freedoms. And stand up for immigrants in your conversations. Tell your mother why you feel solidarity with the janitor from Senegal, the strawberry-picker from Oaxaca, and the would-be 4th-grade teacher stuck cleaning and re-cleaning rich families’ homes in the Bay Area. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And we know, increasingly, that though the powerful and self-interested may try to divide us with imagined threats, playing on our base fears of change and difference, we are ultimately all in everything together and we’re going to build a better world by looking out for each other, not turning on each other.
from the patio of the River Inn, Big Sur, CA
El pueblo unido jamás será vencido
(The people united will never be defeated)