Doesn’t matter if you are young or old, some days you’re just tired.
No energy to go about the tasks that you do each day. You just want to sit or lay down in your favorite spot and do nothing.
Just the other day I felt that way. I got away from my desktop of drawing and writing and sat on the couch. It was an unusual day for Los Angeles, there was cloud cover and a slight pissy rain falling.
I looked over at Wolff’s book glaring back at me and said to myself, “No, not now.”
Beyond the rain-dappled window, you could hear, as you can hear every moment of the day, the sound of the freeway traffic on the 134 humping by.
I picked up my phone like we all do and started to thumb through the Facebook as a last resort before I found myself inevitably doing something.
There were the usual memes people have discovered for the first time. The pictures of meals about to be consumed. The harsh language of anger at the world and how it’s treating these first world citizens.
Then I thumbed upon a strident voice wanting immediate attention.
It begged a question, “If you want to be an American, why don’t you go through Ellie Island like my grandmother did?”
I smiled at first at the spelling of Ellis Island, just a typo I suppose.
Then I frowned at the sentiment. The intent. The belief in a legality that didn’t exist.
My own perplexity at the lack of knowledge of history, of place, of time, of the peoples involved, are really let’s all be honest, the sausage making that is Facebook communication.
It’s a bowl of watery mush. It’s a conglomerate of half-baked ideas held together and cooked with feelings instead of knowledge. Its banter, gossip, theory disguised as a platform for the exchange of ideas. Both good, bad and indifferent.
That being said, I come back to the sentiment about Ellis Island.
When Ellis Island opened its doors in New York City Harbor in 1892 people before and after came to America with no prerequisite for their admission.
All they wanted was to be free.
They didn’t have to speak English. They didn’t have to have money. They didn’t have to have a job. They didn’t have to have an education. They didn’t have to sign their name. They didn’t have to have a home.
They just had to have the will to leave desperation, murder, rape, intolerance, bigotry, persecution to go to the land of opportunity.
The arms of Liberty were open for all.
All they needed was the desire for freedom.
What made the people who lived in the golden land feel the need to shut the door behind them on those wanting to also breathe free?
Consider a proposition that all of humanity wants to be free. However, they who deny a person, a people who are seeking freedom are not friends of mankind.
They don’t have a connection between the law and the heart of the law.
Have you ever looked at the statue of Justice? She is a woman, not a man which entails everything that women represent in nurturing and caring. She holds a scale that balances right and wrong. However, she is blind which implies she applies justice without prejudice equally. She also carries in her left hand a sword which declares a decision will be made, life or death.
But wait, she is also a living being with a mind and a heart. There are degrees to which justice and legality are applied. It does not represent the old Hammurabi code of an eye for an eye. Since the Age of Enlightenment which is the cornerstone of the ideology of the founding fathers, it asks the participants in justice, the judge and the judged, to weigh a given situation and come up with the right, the best solution.
Justice today is not like the judgments given by Solomon or Newman who both wanted to cut either a boy or a bike in half to give each claimant an equal half.
No. Society at large has moved on from that simple understanding of rules equally applied with no exceptions, no gray areas, no application of empathy or quality of circumstance.
The rain suddenly came up upon the window pane.
I’m brought back to the words, “If you want to be an American, why don’t you go through Ellie Island like my grandmother did?”
Another statue ahead of us there. Mother of Exiles. Its feet wrapped in fog. It’s meaning confused by time and the tired.
Do you see where we are traveling now?
It’s one hundred years ago… 1918.
We’re on the deck of a ship. We’re cold and hungry. The memory of the Germans marching into our Polish village outside of Warsaw is what made us leave our parents. It was the First World War, the war to end all wars they said. Our younger brothers and sisters all looked up to us the oldest girl in the house. We all picked onions on the farm. That was until the war was over and nobody had a job and the money we had didn’t buy anything.
Accept one ticket.
Our parents were not angry. They understood. Why we had to leave. Warm thoughts on a cold morning late in December. So many people on this big boat. We took the little boat to the big boat. All the money we had, our family had to send just me.
There she is.
This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Americans are not afraid.
I want to be like them.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore.