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My Agenda?

October 10, 2010

People have asked me whether I am out to promote the gay agenda. I’m not actually sure there is a gay agenda.

I do get hot under the collar when people make homophobic comments in front of me, because my brother is gay, and I think maybe 8% of my friends are gay, although I haven’t actually counted, and would I count really close friends or just people I say “hi” to?  I could ask my facebook friends to self-identify … awkward.  I write about gay rights because it’s an easy topic to discuss in a witty style. There’s a lot of fodder out there.

If I do have an agenda, it is to stand up for basic human and civil rights on behalf of the 12 million men, women, and children living, working, and paying taxes in this country without the protection afforded to the rest of us by the laws that govern our land. I am talking about people whose immigration status is uncertain: about illegal immigrants.

. . .

In an effort to process the enormity of what has happened to me, of what it means to get Really Bad Cancer and then survive it, I play an extremely dysfunctional game with myself. I play, “Would I switch places?” When I see or hear about someone whose luck is just terrible, who is the victim of a genuine tragedy, I ask myself, “Would I switch places with that person?”

Usually the answer is “Of course!” Unemployment?  Foreclosure? Bankruptcy? Home invasion robbery that leaves you unharmed but scares the stuffing out of you and leaves you unable to sleep? Terrible car accident? Hurricane? Lightning? Smog? Absolutely. I’d switch places in a flash.

I was talking a few months ago with the nephew of a friend of mine, a kid whose parents brought him to this country as a small child to give him a better life. I’ve been helping him apply to college as an international student. He’s smart as a whip, nice, funny, a great athlete, and any college would be lucky to get him. He’s one of the 12 million with no viable path to citizenship, and he and I were talking about what it is like. He told me about the fear of his parents being deported, working in terribly unsafe conditions, about not having access to health care, about not being able to call the police or the fire department, about the fear that any small event could trigger the breakup of his family, that INS could come into his house at any moment, take away his parents, and send him to a country he has not lived in since before he could read or write.

Would I switch places? Not on your life.

When living with the fear of everything that can happen to you as an undocumented alien is worse than having “terminal” cancer, something is terribly wrong.

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  1. Mak Kulkarni permalink

    Wow! In most of your blogs, you are writing my thoughts. I wish I had the gift of writing as well as you do. I have become a fan of your blogs. Please do keep writing.
    – Mak.

  2. Nancy Kirk permalink

    I wonder sometimes about illegal or undocumented. My father was born in Buffalo. The family said they came in through Ellis Island. And then took a trip to Buffalo? More likely they slipped over the border from Canada. This was in the very early 20th Century. My grandfather beat his children and drank and my indomitable grandmother worked as a janitor. We became very respectable within one generation. All of the secrets are buried (in New Jersey). But my heart which tends not to bleed, and does not beat to the tune of the personal is political is with the undocumented and always will be. How to integrate them into America is beyond my pay grade. My parents figured it out. They will too.

  3. Nancy, the solution presents itself in one generation, thank goodness. I think that’s what they mean by “children of immigrants” in terms of all that makes this country great. I’m proud to know you.

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