Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Saturday, July 13, 2013

5-11-13 RMB Do Unto Others

5-11-13 RMB Do Unto Others

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

I see news often about this state or that state passing marriage equality laws. I like that you champion equality, period. I like that you ask tougher questions than who can marry who, or is that whom? I really must work on my grammar. 

It is important, all of it, equality, fairness, justice…Who holds power? Why is it theirs to wield? If there is an imbalance of injustice, how can it be brought to an even keel? What can we do as individuals and as a nation to reach a better tomorrow?

In Sudden Death I read about how a tennis player, here on a visa, could be deported because she would be breaking the law in some states if it were discovered that she was in a relationship with another woman as she played around the country on her tennis circuit. I know this was written some years ago. I would like to think Americans have progressed beyond this, however I am not an expert on the laws of each state and my skeptical side doubts that we have. 

A doctor I know was a “green card” carrier in his youth. Meaning he was here legally, but still a citizen of Mexico. He came here as a teen, spoke decent English, but had a thick accent. He had to work his tail off to make decent grades, learning subjects as he continued to learn the language. He did well enough to earn scholarships. His dream to be a doctor was realized several years later. 

Once, shortly after graduating from medical school, he was on staff at a Long Beach hospital. They lived in southern Los Angeles, not the best of neighborhoods, not the worst either. Riot activity brought on by racial tension caused an influx of the injured at the hospital. With a young wife and baby boy at home, he did his job that day, as in any other day, he worked to heal people. We all fight for the greater good in our own way. And sometimes our effort, our “fight” for the greater good, shows itself through healing, rather than violence.  

Several years later, well into a respected career as a physician, this doctor applied for and was granted American citizenship. It was not an easy choice for him, to make the commitment to be American, but he had made his life here and that act completed the process. We are fortunate to have him. 

This is just one person, one path walked. Many, for a variety of reasons, take another path. Some crossing illegally to work here. I am not saying it is right or wrong. It is dangerous in many ways. It is heartbreaking that our fences both keep them out and keep them in once here, cut off from loved ones. 

In 2007 fire raged through San Diego’s backcountry. The fire extinguished eleven lives, seven of them were undocumented workers. There is a documentary about this on YouTube titled “The Devils Breath” by Laura Castaneda. If you decide to watch it, have the tissues handy.

Jennifer Silva Redmond and Russel Redmond have written the fictionalized film “El Camino Real” based on a woman caught in those fire. A short film version will be out in 2013, with the hope that it will garner enough support to produce a full length feature. The short film was produced by David McClendon and stars Dahlia Waingort as the young woman. Here is a link to the El Camino Real trailer

The young woman was crossing the border to see her father in the last days of his life and help her mother bury him. She was caught in the fire on her return trip.  

I asked Jennifer to sum up the purpose of the film. "The U.S. is, arguably, the most powerful country on earth, and this is what our undocumented workers who live in our country and contribute have to go through, just to come home to their this as good as we can be?"

My brother stated, on a whole ‘nother subject, “People are people”…the theory applies here as well. 

What is right for one person, may not be right for another. Who to love, where to live, these are questions each individual must answer for themselves. Why is it so difficult for us to support the choices of others? 

How can you look at one man and say his contribution is good because a piece of paper was filed at a certain agency and look at another man with shame because he does not have the coveted proper paper? Does a piece of paper make a person good?

There are many angles, laws and issues involved. Worst of all is that there are no right or wrong answers. When my boys quarrel, I listen and can hear each boy has a point. There is no clear right or wrong answer, no right or wrong boy. Yet when I ask each child if they are acting with goodness in their heart, if their words are kind, if they would like to be treated or spoken to in the same manner that they are treating one another, inevitably all concerned see how they could have reacted better, could have chose better words, better actions.

I know there are financial considerations, tax considerations, language barriers, etc. I firmly believe that if we act with goodness in our hearts, if our words are kind, if we treat others as we would want to be treated, inevitably we will find a better way. 

I like that guy who said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This quote may not be exact, as he lived a very long time ago and he was a foreigner who spoke a different language. 

Peace be with you,


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