I, too, am an immigrant.

I may not be brown-skinned, but I’m still here to take your job.  My parents took your jobs, too.  I’m not sure if these are jobs Americans just won’t do.  All I know is that we’ve worked our butts off to build the life we’ve got in this country.  And I know undocumented immigrants who work even harder.

I may not wear a hijab, but I know what it’s like to be a refugee.  I know what it’s like to fear the government of my old homeland, and to hope and pray that I will be accepted in my new one.  And yet what my family experienced is nothing compared to those fleeing their bombed out houses and lives in Syria.

I’m lucky to have white skin, so I don’t stand out too much.  Unless I speak and you hear my accent, you may think I’m one of you.  Even if you do hear my accent, you won’t mind, because a European accent is sexy/cute.  I’m just another fortunate person enjoying the fruits of this country’s success.  “God bless you!  Welcome to America!”

But I can never allow myself to feel too comfortable.  Because in a society which needs scapegoats, nobody is ever really safe.  And you need scapegoats.  You’re angry and frustrated.  Things haven’t turned out the way you hoped they would, so you’re looking for someone to blame.  This will not end well.  Today the scapegoats are the people coming across the southern border.  Tomorrow they might be anyone who speaks a foreign language in public, or anyone who doesn’t salute the flag quickly enough.  Someday, the scapegoat might be you–the person who’s pointing the finger right now.

I can also never allow myself to point the finger, because that would make me an ugly hypocrite.  I am grateful to be able to live here, and I can’t close the door on others who want to come in, only because their culture is different or their religion makes me uncomfortable. After all, we immigrated from a country which, at the time we left it, had a Communist political system.  What if my family was automatically suspected of wanting to spread Communism?  Everyone from that part of the world could have been a radical Communist, right?  What if we were considered too high-risk to be allowed into the States?  Doesn’t matter that my family actually opposed Communism.  Many refugees today are running away from ISIS-style fundamentalism because they hate and fear it, but we are suspicious of them anyway.

So when you talk about how we should keep “them” out and how “they” make us unsafe, I can’t help but feel a little anxious.

I was once one of “them”.  I still remember what that’s like.  And no matter how Americanized I become, I will never be exactly like you–I will always be an immigrant.

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Well, the election is just a few weeks away and my mind is in pieces. Politically speaking, I’m stuck in a no-man’s-land between disappointment and anxiety. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way right now.

I’m disappointed by the airstrikes in Syria. Disappointed that no matter which party is in power, we keep doing our perpetual war thing. Our addiction to constant military conflict seems to be a train which has jumped the tracks and cannot be stopped by anyone. I just hope it doesn’t end with our country’s demise.

But I’m anxious that if the Republican side gains too much strength, they could do even more damage. Their openly stated goal from the beginning has been to block and get in the way of anything the President proposes. I can complain about the Middle East, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my mother has health insurance for the first time in years. Repealing the ACA would have a real effect on my life and my family. Also, I’m in no mood to see the guys in Congress try to force more socially conservative stuff down our throats.

Having Obama in office hasn’t made as much difference as I had hoped it would. But having more Republicans in the House and Senate could make a bigger difference than we think it will.

So the disappointed side of me will continue to shake a fist at all the pictures of pretty, pretty missile explosions which my TV box keeps showing me. But the anxious side of me will vote for and is signing up to volunteer for the local Democrats in our state.

The rest of me remains in no-man’s-land.

So, we’re making war in the Middle East again, eh?

I know that people complain about Obama spending too much time playing golf, but right about now, I wouldn’t mind if he went back to golfing instead of this. After all, one of the naive reasons for my vote for him was that he would be pulling us out of military entanglements.

Hell, with how useful our politicians have been lately, go ahead and put them all on the golf course. They’ll accomplish more there. The Republicans love shutting the government down and don’t want to do a damn thing, so it’s the perfect place for them. It’ll make me happy if I can turn on my TV one fine Sunday morning and see them all doing what they do best, putting around on the green. I won’t spend any time watching them, though–golf bores the living shit out of me.

Yes, but if that happens, who will do the real job of governing? Simple–leave big business and the military industry in charge. We already know they’re the ones running the country.

Part deux, in which Republicans continue to long for the advances of a strong, manly leader, so much so that they fall head over heels for an ex-KGB man.  Here I thought that they were supposed to be anti-Communist.  I should have known that they would always choose the Commie over the black guy in the White House.

I just wanted to take a moment to remind the conservatives who are waxing nostalgic over George W. Bush’s unwavering foreign policy (At least Bush went to the United Nations!  Wait…I thought conservatives hated the United Nations?) and who are expressing disdain over Obama’s perceived weakness–I would like to remind them that most of the world, including many Americans, is still recovering from the hangover caused by W’s “I’m the decider” leadership.  This is one of the things making the Syria situation so complicated.  When the British parliament voted against supporting American military involvement in the region, the fiery speeches given mostly came down to one question:  “Remember Iraq and Afghanistan?”  If anything, Obama was criticized for wanting to rush into action, not for uncertainty.  A survey of British voters shows that 59% of them are feeling cautious because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  And of course, surveys also show that the American public is very opposed to getting involved in Syria, deeply war-weary because of our two long military entanglements.  Not that it’s a bad thing if Americans have become a bit more skeptical about war.

The point is, it will take time for all of us to heal from W’s decisions…and in the meantime, the Republicans would like to see even more of the leadership style which got us in trouble in the first place.  I’m glad they’re not in charge of this situation, otherwise we might be fighting the entire world by now.  After all, anything less than that just wouldn’t be manly enough.

All day long, I’ve been listening to conservatives accusing Obama of looking weak over Syria.  He has been too indecisive, he has changed his mind…  If only he was a stronger leader, then they might be able to respect him.

Yeah, right.  What complete bullshit.  I can only imagine the hysterical outcry that would be happening right now if Obama had been a Bush-style, more decisive leader on this.  For instance, if he had not consulted Congress over Syria and had just gone in.  We would be hearing discussions all day long about Obama being a dictator and about FEMA camps.  How dare he not consult Congress!  He is trampling on the Constitution yet again!  It would be another one of those days when, if you’re a right-wing radio listener, you retreat to your basement to polish your guns.

One of the dilemmas this President has to deal with is that he cannot appear to be too strong.  He’s already considered a dictator for passing the moderate Republican health care plan.  I’m no fan of military involvement in Syria, but I suppose at least I can be grateful that the President hasn’t been too much of a “decider”.  There is only so much right-wing hysteria I can take.

Donald Rumsfeld was always good with the zingers, and now he’s back.  I just got done watching an interview with him on CNN.  Just as I was done picking my jaw up off the floor at the guy having the nerve to critique someone else’s *war-making decisions*, he made it drop again.  When the interviewer asked about the faulty intelligence leading to the Iraq war, Rumsfeld responded with “You know if intelligence were a fact, it would be called a fact, and not intelligence.”

Sounds like we’re back in “there are known knowns and unknown unknowns” territory.  Conservatives like to claim that they have the facts on their side, while liberals only have emotion.  Well, sure…easy to say that you have the facts on your side when you can interpret those facts so broadly and also include dubious “intelligence” in your arsenal.

 

When I first started to write this post, I thought–I’d like to say how I feel about us going to war, but the NSA might be reading this.

But then I realized that the reality is far sadder than that.  The conspiracy theories aren’t true.  Sure, the NSA might be scanning for some keywords, but there isn’t anybody out there attentively reading what we have to say.  They aren’t hovering over our houses in black helicopters.  I don’t believe they’re using new technologies to read our minds, or electromagnetic frequencies to brainwash us.  I really don’t think that my opposition to the war in Syria will cause anyone to send a swarm of tiny robots to invade my body (although that might be kinda cool).

They have a far better strategy than that–they ignore us.  After all, we have places like this to vent, our cafes and bars where we can bitch over our drinks before we go back to our obedient daily lives.  Many Americans, both liberal and conservative, are opposed to a military intervention in Syria, but they don’t really care what we think.  The decision about whether we go over there–yea or nay–will be made by that small group of people debating it, without our influence.

Sometimes I wish the NSA *was* reading this.