The View from Space

When my grandson was born I did some research into my family’s history. Unfortunately I lost track of that research, but as I recall I actually traced the ship that brought my family to Philadelphia from Germany in 1754. They were members of a pacifist sect during a time of religious wars. You can imagine that the circumstances must have been desparate. They were poor. Very poor. And to this day most of my family is poor. Even in my own direct lineage my grandparents were desperately poor. I have an ancestor who was listed in the U.S. Census as a “rag peddler”. Imagine that.

And now I live in New Mexico. Unlike what many people think, New Mexico is in the United States (!). We share a border with Mexico.  And even if we did not, that I live in the land of the Hispanic was brought home to me recently when I visited my daughter at the University of New Hampshire. “Where,” I thought, “are all the brown faces?” I have quickly become accustomed to the Spanish accents and the faces of the southern Mediterranean. The Hispanic people of New Mexico are uncommonly kind, friendly and generous.

When I lived in Vermont I used to ride my bike past a couple of local farms that were worked by migrant workers. Every few years the local newspaper would send some strong young intern out to work the fields with them. The experience was always the same. They could barely keep up. Typically they could do about half what the migrant workers could do.

And now we live in an age of fear and hatred toward immigrants, especially illegal ones. Donald Trump has been a master at harnessing that fear.

But imagine this. Your situation in life is so desparate that you are willing to risk every possible humiliation – even death – to enter the United States in the remote hope that you can find a better life.

Try doing this. Do an Internet search on the words “help illegal immigrants”. One result will tell you that this is a felony.

But in the world of the transcendent, helping people who have less than nothing, who are desperate beyond most peoples’ comprehension, is the path of the noble. There are no felonies here. There is only love, compassion, and wisdom. Astronauts say that one of the things they most remember from seeing Earth from space is that there are no borders. There are only people.

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