It is simpler to look away. It is simpler to think of all the seeming complications of my day-to-day life: leading a workshop for my job, doing chores at home, spending time with our daughter, thinking of how we might rest and recuperate this summer. It is simpler to look away. It is simpler to think that this is something that Trump started, something that is someone else’s doing. It is simpler to think it’s because of the white supremacists — and I’m certainly no white supremacist, right? It is simpler to look away.
How, instead, do I look at what we are doing as a country? How do I read the stories of the horrible conditions we are creating for immigrant and refugee children at the border? How do I grapple with the facts that infants, toddlers, and even children the same age as our daughter are sleeping on concrete floors, enduring lack of food, raising one another without their families or even another caring adult to look after them? How do I consider the effect that my own silence has in perpetuating these abuses? How do I own my tendency to turn my gaze because “those people” don’t look like me? Perhaps their humanity, their inner light, their brilliance is too much for my eyes to bear.
It is simpler to look away. It is simpler to ignore the monstrous disregard for human life that leads us to take these actions. It is simpler to blame, to blame, to blame, and believe that sometime, someone somewhere must do something. But who is that someone…and what must they do?
It is harder to take responsibility. It is harder to acknowledge that sometime is now, that someone is me, that somewhere is here, that something is anything. That something is anything at all. It is harder to believe that anything I could do would make a difference.
It is simpler to look away. And yet…I can’t forget that I looked.
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