It’s easier not to think about it. So much easier not to see.
Because thinking about it means imagining being in a situation so bad that my best choice is to try to sneak into a country that doesn’t want me as badly as the United States doesn’t want them.
With my children. My children who, no matter how poor I’ve been in the past, have never not been safe.
Thinking about it means imagining sending my children to a foreign country alone in the hopes that when they get there, they’ll be safer than they were with me.
Thinking about it means imagining what kind of horror show these people must be leaving behind. Fleeing situations worse than anything I’ve ever been touched by.
I honestly cannot fully imagine what would bring me to the decision to flee to Honduras or Mexico or truly anywhere and try to enter illegally if that’s the only way I could get in. And I have an excellent imagination.
Thinking about it means feeling my babies ripped from my arms. My babies arrested because I wanted to find them a safe place.
Babies put in facilities so awful that some assholes got together and come up with a euphamism.
Tender Age Shelters.
The other day we saw an ad in a movie theater (because I spend random afternoons watching movies, not trying to sneak my children across borders into hostile territory) for a hair product called ‘Compressed Micro Mist.’
Maybe the same spin doctor who tried to put a happy face on aerosol hairspray was hired to think of a new way to say ‘infant detention center.’
It’s easier not to look. To turn off the news. To not think about how frantic those parents must be, right this minute while I’m typing a blog post on my MacBook with my children safe.
How much damage is being caused to those children. The children who are not mine.
It’s so much easier not to wonder if this feeling of helplessness was what average people like me have felt during other times of large scale atrocity.
(Dear God, thank you for my #blessedlife. Don’t they know these were the laws under Obama?)
I don’t know what I can do. I don’t have much power. Or much money. Or any idea whatsoever about how I can offer any tangible help beyond voting and helping others vote.
Maybe the most important thing we can do is the hard thing. Especially if we are storytellers. We are the observers.
Maybe the most important thing we can do is not look away, no matter how much easier it would be. Refuse to refuse to see that this is happening. Right now. Right this minute. In 2018, in the United States of America.
“If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
— Maya Angelou
“My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.”
— Jimmy Carter
“Sadly the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president, I will bring it back, bigger and better than ever.”
— Donald Trump
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nationand the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer. Here’s her secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.