Immigrants Are Us, Thoughts On Immigration And Fear, Past And Future By Kyle Leach

Most of us who now call the continents of North and South America home are immigrants. My family line lay claim and settled on the North American continent very early during the colonial period. I know they committed what I would now consider gross violations of human rights and I assume even if simply by standing by and doing nothing, because it was adventitious for them, they committed gross acts of genocide. Both would now be seen as crimes against humanity and violations of what we now call International Law. I can tell you for certain my family has never been called to task for those crimes.

Those concepts didn't exist then, they barely hold true now and the arc of history is always rewritten by the successful aggressors, the "victors" and the awful truth of their deeds watered down by purposely perpetuated myths to make the aggressors feel better about themselves and so their progeny can do the same and won't grow up to think or feel anything like I do. They spin stories of their own greatness full of vanity and self approval and demonize those who are different by condescendingly casting them as ignorant, child-like, or victims of their own circumstance who need help. When native peoples had enough of the lies and duplicity they fought for their survival and were labeled "savages." Savages to those people, means not white or not Christian or both. Those natives who survived the invasions were left with the monumental task of protecting their distinctive ways of life by relocating to smaller and smaller "approved" lands and trying to rebuild their futures with those people who were left from their former vast nations, with very few resources to start that process. The fact that so many survived is a testament to human spirit.

My soul carries the weight of what has been done. A slight against one is a slight against all. One person embracing darkness dims the soul of all humanity. I know the truth of what happened and that means I carry the great burden of not allowing people to forget what horrors have happened, in this case, over the last four centuries in what we now call the United States of America.. It is too easy for any person to stand in a crowd, point a finger, and cry witch. The "witches" change shape as time passes. One day a different skin tone, different customs, the next different identities or different sexualities.  Atheists are a universal "witch" of the modern age, hated and marginalized by every other group society has created. It is too easy for people to slip into old comfortable patterns and to be honest people will take an easy lie over a difficult truth any day. For a great example, just look at the media today, especially FOX news. Truth is hard to find, even on the information superhighway; you have to sift through a lot of muck to find the gold nuggets of what is really happening in our world. But that's a story for another time.

Immigrants now severely outnumber the native peoples of both continents. Entire languages gone, art and culture crushed into dust, entire histories erased, civilizations pulled apart, enslaved, potential futures torn from the web of life and cast aside like trash. All that wisdom lost. How many great thinkers, how many cultural creatives, how many people with deep empathy and compassion did the world loose over the last four centuries? All due to immigration by disease ridden, land stealing, culture destroying invaders to paraphrase the modern sentiments of the racist, misogynist, exclusive ultra-conservatives of the United States.

When I was very little I learned that the Israelis and Palestinians were fighting with each other. I really don't remember how. It disturbed me. I asked my mom why they were fighting. My mom told me they were at an impasse and explained the situation as best she could to someone so young. By the next morning I came up with a plan to help them stop fighting. Each year one group would live above ground and the other would live below ground supported by those living above ground. At the end of a year cycle they would have to leave where they had been living, working, playing and switch. You see in my mind I was sure that eventually each side would grow tired of this endless feud over a patch of land and find that they were really no different from one another and find that they could all live above ground together. 

I had similar thoughts about native peoples. I first thought all the federal lands and all the national parks should be given back, then over time we would need to give back more and more of the uninhabited land, then finally we would need to give back the rest. It would be a dramatic reversal of our colonial and frontier efforts. It would start out west and work its way back to the east coast where it had all begun. The solution did not correct at the wrongs; it could not bring back all that was lost. In my mind it was the most fitting justice I could imagine. Our fates would be in the hands of the people that our ancestors killed, displaced, and dishonored. As only the mind of a child can, I thought we would both learn along the way and learn to care for each other. I looked at the elders of many of the great indigenous tribes and saw they had embraced light over darkness when darkness had threatened to engulf them all. I looked into their eyes, into there souls; there was nothing to fear. If it could only be that easy.

I had not learned about hate yet, I did not know fear and I did not know about greed and gluttony. Unfortunately, I do understand them now. They are the real problem in this situation, they are the real affliction, they are the malady we need to cure. The descendents of white settlers of our nation need to learn that one day they will be a minority, in fact in most places they already are. If they have anything to fear it is from their own doing; a circumstance of their own creation, holding on to a perverted, twisted past. We saw this when woman and racial "minorities" fought before the beginning and during the middle of the twentieth century. We saw it when Europe was in Hitler's grasp with Jews, Romany and so many others going any place they could, except here. We see it now with the hysterical(as in hysteria) antics directed at LGBTQ. 

Their religious hypocrisy, the picketing full of hate and yelling full of fear, all directed at men, women, and children who have no home is not only unbecoming it is unconscionable; it must be hurtful to anyone truly following the path of modern Christianity, the universal tenant of love. Really when you really get down to it, the only reason his is happening is that the people fleeing to us are not white. How many times have you heard ultra-conservatives as upset with our border to the north? Can't really think of any can you?

The men, woman, and children that are coming to our border are us. They seek refuge from oppression, they are trying to escape extreme poverty, they are looking for religious freedom and political asylum. They want opportunity and a chance to build a life with us. They will help lead us to our future. They will make us diverse, the will make us even more multicultural, they will make us stronger with their experiences and insights.

Those little children, all alone, making it to our border show us how focused and determined human beings can be. They are an infusion of hope and ingenuity. Two things we need disparately right now. All of them will be elders by the time we approach the 22nd century and I want them to tell future generations how we were an open nation of respect and compassion, when they themselves open their arms for the immigrants of the next century and recall our history. I want those children to know we are proud they chose to come here. I wan them to know they are one of us.