Today I met over coffee with an immigrant family and a non-immigrant friend, Judy, in which we organized a visit of local families to our farm, where the kids can pat, groom and maybe ride a horse, play ball and other games, and we all can picnic — immigrants and non-immigrants together, adults and kids, neighbors, getting better acquainted during this stressful historical moment.
Our conversation, in Spanish, English, and (in my case) a bit of ‘Spanglish,’ was delightful. We laughed a lot and had a lovely time making our plans — 3 adults and 4 kids, ranging from 7 to 16. But beneath our words and smiles ran an unmistakable undercurrent of worry and anxiety. What will happen in coming weeks and months to families like this — loving, hardworking neighbors from Mexico and other places beyond our borders — borders which have been drawn arbitrarily over time as national boundaries always are designed — borders separating neighbors, dividing families, arbitrarily… What will happen?
We didn’t mention Trump. We didn’t have to. His mean-spirited, contemptuous presence invades our space, whoever we are, wherever we go, with whomever — if we are Mexicans or other Latinos, Muslims or Jews, feminists or womanists, African-Americans or Native-Americans, LGBTQ men or women, sick people or old people, people with disabilities or special needs, labor organizers, educators, health care providers, journalists, poor people, socialists, progressives… or allies to these various groups. We are individually and communally battered and bruised by this brute of a man who was elected president or — as increasingly seems to be the case — who grabbed the presidency with a little help from his Russian allies, within and beyond the boundaries of the United States.
After our Mexican neighbors left our gathering, Judy and I shook our heads and, checking in, agreed — we’re both “fine.”
More truthfully, Judy said, hugging me, “I’m otherwise, fine.”
We sighed, because this pretty much sums it up these days — We’re “otherwise, fine.”