She didn’t want families torn apart today

I live in Baja Arizona, where we are grieving the failure of the Dream Act, where our famous SB1070 is very unpopular, and where we would never vote Sheriff Joe Arpaio into office again and again.  Did I mention we have Democratic  Congressmen/women here who voted FOR health care reform, FOR the Dream Act, FOR repeal of DADT ?

There is an article in today’s newspaper about an upcoming episode of the ABC show “What Would You Do?” filmed here in Tucson.  When actors playing security guards, unbeknownst to the patrons and staff, confronted two hispanic-looking men eating dinner and demanded their “papers,” a woman objected.

“Excuse me. I don’t think you can do that.”

And when the Anglo guard aggressively repeated his demand, she said,

“Actually you can’t do that and that’s not going to happen right now, right here, today, so you just need to get on out of here now.”

She was supported by other patrons, who clapped when the “guards” left.  Over and over, through two days of filming, almost no one sided with the “guards.” (read article here) http://azstarnet.com/article_f910c996-2e44-5572-9681-74afc877eae8.html

When later ABC’s John Quiñones, one of the “diners,” asked the patron why she should stood up for them, she said it was not political.

“I figured those guys probably had some wives and there were some little children involved, and I just didn’t want to see their families torn apart today.

I am proud of Tucson today, but more than that, I was struck that the patron’s heartfelt defense of the two hispanic-looking diners seemed to her “NOT POLITICAL.”  Yet to me, it was an courageous expression of progressive politics… taking empowered action as a citizen from the open-hearted conviction that we are indeed “our brother’s keeper.”

It hurts my heart that what is considered “political” is somehow separated in our  minds from how we ordinarily live our lives.  I know people who identify  themselves as angry “Tea Party” activists, demanding we cut off funding for schools, unemployment benefits, and health care but who would risk their own lives to save a stranger from danger.  I know people who identify as “Progressive” activists who would cheer if Sheriff Joe was injured by a rock hurled in protest.

So this morning I am reflecting on several questions

…  how is it that peoples’ personal values are so easily abandoned through membership in some political “group,”  with the political somehow only being identified with the angry, the “anti”?   Do people feel anonymous?  Are they caught up in “group think?”

… how can we be instrumental in reconnecting peoples’ hearts and personal values in family and neighborhood life, which are by and large caring and supportive, with the way we structure our lives as a nation?  How do we make the political personal?  How do we make neighbors of faraway strangers?  How can we get media to focus more consistently on examples of the “higher angels” of our being?

And…honestly…would I have had the courage of my convictions if I had been the patron in the diner?

 

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7 thoughts on “She didn’t want families torn apart today

  1. Have you ever heard of the monkeysphere? Link:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html

    Briefly, it discusses how our empathy for others weakens as they become farther removed from our personal sphere. Here’s a quote that sums it up, but I urge you to read the whole article:

    “The Monkeysphere is the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it’s physically impossible for this to be a number much larger than 150.

    Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood sanitation worker. So, we don’t think of him as a person. We think of him as The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.

    And even if you happen to know and like your particular garbage man, at one point or another we all have limits to our sphere of monkey concern. It’s the way our brains are built. We each have a certain circle of people who we think of as people, usually our own friends and family and neighbors, and then maybe some classmates or coworkers or church or suicide cult.

    Those who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They’re sort of one-dimensional bit characters.”

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  2. Thanks, janicket, I need to leave the house at the moment, but interesting concept, will look at the whole thing tonight, and then ponder how to help people widen their “Monketsphere.”

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  3. Great story and thanks for sharing this. I left you a comment over at Norwood’s blog but I will ask you here. Will you be focusing a lot of your diaries on AZ or doing general things that interest you or both?

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    • Hi again aquagranny. This being a new blog, I would say both – my window into the world is in Catalina AZ, about 20 miles North of Tucson. Some of my diaries may take a spiritual bent, some may be about my garden or a family matter, who knows, but my primary interest is in developing/articulating a political philosophy that is not based on fighting about property rights (left vs right), in fact not based on fighting at all, but on some other underlying assumptions about what makes people joyful and how people can live together in peace and plenty.

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      • I’m really looking forward to reading your diaries. I hope you will see this reply. I am in the Phoenix area. I have family in Tucson area, Yuma area, and in Cochise County. Everything AZ interests me and we have some tough times ahead.

        You mentioned gardening. I also am an avid gardener which is not easy in our climate. I’m very interested in sustainable agriculture, family farms and community gardens both in the US and world wide.

        I would ask you this and you may answer or not. I think you and I had dialogue in a KosAbility diary a while back about our Grandsons. If so, you invited me to email you and I did intend to do that but life has gotten in my way, so to speak, and I did not follow up. My Grandson has Bipolar Disorder.

        Last, your primary interest is mine also. I wish an end to all the divisiveness that pits us against each other. I try to live in joy every day, with gratitude for my many blessings and with willing hands to work so that all may enjoy peace and plenty.

        Thank you for creating this blog. I hope you read this.

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  4. Oh, aquagranny, thank you. Sounds like we have a great many things in common, and I look forward to getting to know you better, maybe even enjoying a cuppa coffee together sometime. Please do email me. Did you see terry Goddard on TV last night? He was talking about BofA mortgage fraud. I was proud of him. Yes, we have some very tough times ahead. My consolation is that voters in AZ support education and health care, and may see that Democrats are the only ones who might protect them. The right plated a politics of distraction.

    I have lettuce re-growing after the bunnies gobbbled it up one night when someone left the A-Frame open.

    My bipolar grandson visited us for 2 months recently, having to wait 4 months after US Army enlistment for bootcamp. He was belligerent, demanding, impulsive, and intimidating. Even his friends said his decisions were irrational, but they supplied him with street drugs. He stole from us and lied, even when it was not particularly self-protective from any point of view I could imagine. He put a hole through a wall and knocked things over in rages. (We called the sheriff). It was very stressful. We finally asked him to leave. sigh.

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    • I am so sorry to read of the problems of your Grandson. Our Grandson had a severe manic episode about two months ago also. He had been stable for two years but puberty is hitting hard, he has grown so in the past year. The worst was losing insurance and the wonderful doctor he had for five years when his Dad got laid off. AHCCCS gave him a new doctor. She ignored his records and put him on drugs that sent him over the edge. He had to be hospitalized. He was discharged the week before Thanksgiving, back on his previous medication with an increase for age and growth. He now seems to be back to what we call his “real self”

      He has been very insightful about this experience and about how drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor can, as he put it, “make me too crazy and I hate that” He’s only 12 or as he says “almost 13” and we have a long way to go.

      My heart to your heart.

      On a lighter note: I grow my lettuce and greens in 3ft raised, compost filled beds. We learned this in Africa. No problems with the local fauna. It also saves water and bending for old joints. We don’t even seed any more. It just keeps growing and growing except in heat of summer when we let the beds go mostly fallow.

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