All My Refugee Relations

Posted on November 22, 2015

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Should the U.S. close the borders to Belgium and France? I don’t think so.

Did the student who said, “I know you disagree, ms. eddy, but I think we should just go over there and bomb them all…” –mean France and Belgium? I don’t think so.

Will closing our borders to refugees end terrorism? No.

The Oklahoma City bomber, whose name will not be mentioned here, was from the state where I was born, Michigan. Should the U.S. military have bombed Michigan (upper–lower–or both peninsulas?) to root out terrorism in the U.S.? Or–an updated version–should the President have ordered drones to target only groups of people that the terrorist had associated with, like the U.S. military, computer programmers, or gun rights activists ? Would that have ended terrorism in the U.S.?

Anne Frank died because the U.S. chose fear-mongering over compassion regarding Jews. Should we repeat our history of aiding and abetting genocide?

I am an American, but I am not a patriot. I am a citizen of earth, and I teach at an IB World School. I value cooperation over competition, because it’s more conducive to creating peaceful solutions to problems.  I stand for freedom of religion and freedom from religion–because we’re all human beings, no matter which ideas we favor. That is why I wish to live by the values of reason and compassion, as expressed in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I want the nation where I was born to be ruled by law that addresses our common humanity.

No matter your religion, if you stand for peace, justice, and compassion, I stand with you, my people. My values are rooted in my humanity and can be summed up by the Lakota phrase, “Mitakuye Oyasin,” (All My Relations). I value all life on Earth and recognize our inter-being.

No matter your religion, if you stand for for segregation, aggression, and violence, I will reason with you to see the  value of our common humanity over religious or national identities. Mother Earth is ONE planet; we are ONE people.We must acknowledge the inter-relatedness of all beings.

My senior English class has 26 students; the majority of them were born in other places on the planet. Numerous languages are spoken, as we all grapple with language and literature, reflect on the human condition, make meaning together, and ask, “How best to live?” It’s is a joyful, collaborative space. With these citizens of the world, it is easy to see the inter-relatedness of all beings.

If any elected official, politician, organizational leader, or teacher says that ANYONE should be refused help, segregated, attacked, or killed because of their identity, the listener should recognize the ignorance, fear, and hate that are at the root of that teaching and try to plant seeds of reason and compassion there. This is the work I do every day at my job, in my classroom, where WE ARE A CARING CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. Whoever you are, wherever you were born, I ask you to join me in this work. I thank you for working beside me.

I value our common humanity over any ideas a person may embrace. We CAN change our minds; we cannot change our humanity or our address–EARTH. We all depend on clean air, water, and soil for the existence of our species, and we must set aside any ideas that divide us and take our focus from caring for one another and the planet, this “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam…we call home.”.For this reason, we should reach out to refugees in kindness, in compassion, and as our respected colleagues in the project of human survival in the age of climate change.

 

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