Thursday, November 28, 2019

Living the dream

That is what I was doing. For 22 years, despite some not so good experiences, I was living the dream. I won a green card in the lottery and in 1994 I arrived in America - no, the streets were not paved with gold and I never expected them to be, but the opportunities were there for anyone who was prepared to work hard enough to get within grasping distance; and I was, and I did. The story is documented in my book.

But now the dream has crumbled and I am beginning to feel that I am living in a nightmare. Ever since the election in 2016, all of my fears are one by one, becoming reality. Before the election I continuously lamented the future that I saw should the unthinkable happen. My husband assured me that America would never allow such an atrocity; it did.

At first I thought that it was horrible to see the hatred being created, but then I realized it was there all the time. All that had changed is that the new regime condoned hatred, bigotry, racism and nepotism. If the President of the United States openly displayed these traits then all of those Americans sharing such unbelievable 'unAmerican' feelings crawled out from under the stones and out of their swamps. How could I have believed this was the land of the free, home of the brave? it is the land of the worst kind of hatred, greed and evil. Why would anyone believe that just because the war against slavery was won, the feelings that created slavery were not still in existence?

I told my husband that if Trump became president I would leave the US - I couldn't imagine continuing to live here, to my mind that would not only be condoning all that he stood for, but also giving up the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the new life that I had fought so hard to create. Of course I would not leave my husband, and I know he would have come with me. But we couldn't leave. The irony of it is I was stuck in this nightmare because of my responsibilities to a republican who voted for this monster. My widowed mother in law lived with us from the time her husband was moved into a home with Alzheimer's and she was fast losing her eyesight. We had willingly taken on the responsibility of caring for her, and while that was in better times, the responsibility and the commitment still remained. I was trapped.

My life had become a treadmill again and the dream was shattered, because a dream was all it was, now I am in the real America where the only people who will ever prosper are rich, fat white men - possibly a requirement is blond hair and blue eyes. We are back in Nazi Germany - with people who don't match the exact specification being locked up in cages. Seriously, who would ever have believed that America would excuse kidnapping children and locking them up in cages! Who could have believed that America would stomp on refugees fleeing from war, poverty and torture. I do not want to be associated with the people here who think that is OK.

I can't even imagine the awful panic those children are experiencing. If they survive to grow old, they will never forget, and no doubt will relive it in times of stress. I hesitate to describe the small trauma I experienced when I was about 6 years old, because it was so small compared with what these children are going through. I was out shopping for back to school supplies with my mother and my siblings - as we walked along the busy city street suddenly I was on my own. I didn't know it, but my mother had turned into one of the stores and I had continued walking. I can still feel the panic deep inside of me that I felt when I suddenly realized I was on a strange street, surrounded by strange people, and I had no clue where my mother was. I was sure I would never see her again. What these poor children are experiencing is so much worse, I was free to run up and down the street and scream - and I did. There were people on the street prepared to help me - and they did. My terror only lasted for less than 5 minutes, as my mother realized I was missing and came out of the store looking for me. Who is going to help these poor forgotten children in cages?

I watch the poor becoming poorer and the rich becoming richer, education being chipped away at, health care becoming a privilege of the rich and a woman's right to choose being removed and put in the hands of those rich, fat, white men. I wonder, can this country ever recover from this? And will I ever feel the same about America? I don't think so. Now that I know how much hatred, racism and greed exists all around me, I want to leave, never to return.

As the 2020 elections approach, even with the impeachment hearing in progress, the same fears fill my head. I don't trust the processes in place to protect the American people from such a criminal and self serving administration; they are just processes with no real power to do anything but point fingers and attach labels. Tyrants and dictators cannot be controlled by being labeled and children cannot be reunited with their parents by pointless processes devised hundreds of years ago for a totally different time and circumstance.

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