ASSIMILATION : Todos Somos Extra√Īos ; ¬Ņ¬ŅWe’re All Outsiders??

Self Portraits, by Cecilia Paredes @Museum of Latin American Art, until December 30.

¬Ņ Is there a distinction between “foreigners” and “outsiders” ? ¬†Adults in Mexico, as elsewhere in the world, tell children not to talk with strangers (extra√Īos). ¬†This word can also be translated as¬†outsiders¬†or even as¬†weirdos. ¬†In some sense we’re all strangers in a mixture called¬†culture.¬†And it’s often entertaining.

FOREING CLUB BAR   c.72@c.43, centro Merida, Yucatan, MX

Yes, culture is entertainment, but there is more to it than being entertained. ¬†“We” seem especially to love it when people fail. ¬†The current US president has made a career out of entertaining by firing people for failing to satisfy his demands. ¬†His most recent farce has been on TV, meeting with the leaders of Congress. ¬†Ultimately he (and his fellow citizens) are big losers for the distraction he has caused with his brand of enterainment, rather than working to improve the social fabric by governing reasonably. ¬†He has refused to govern, instead choosing to distract by focusing attention on himself.

He is not a foreigner, nor even an outsider. ¬†He is a weirdo, in terms of governance, rejecting skill in that discipline ‚ÄĒ which always requires compromise, resulting in both sides of a deal feeling that they got the best possible deal, under the circumstances. ¬†(This way, everybody wins.) ¬†But in his view there is no winner unless there is a big loser. ¬† (His father reportedly taught him that there are only two kinds of people: killers who become kings ; ¬†and losers.) ¬†This seems a dangerous sociopathology. ¬†But the purpose of my post is to explore¬†fitting in.

Humankind is a social species, like ants and honeybees. ¬†Some biologists view the beehive as a single organism. And that observation can be extended to humans. ¬†Using a Greek word meaning¬†organs,¬†St Paul says, literally, that we are each others’ organs, which largely goes unnoticed in today’s English translations, rendered variously as¬†we are members one of another¬†(see especially verses 4 and 5). ¬†But¬†tribalism¬†is a problem : ¬†us and them; who’s in? ‚ÄĒ and who’s out? ¬†“The Other.” ¬†Which reminds me of a poem by Edward Markham, and another verse of scripture, from Genesis.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† He drew a circle that shut me out ‚Äď
                    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
                    But love and I had the wit to win:
                    We drew a circle and took him In!

Genesis 49:10¬† ¬†The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler‚Äôs staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one[*] ¬†to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor. ‚ÄďNLT

49:10 El cetro no se apartar√° de Jud√°, ni la vara de gobernante de entre sus pies, hasta que venga Siloh[*], y a √©l sea dada la obediencia de los pueblos. ‚ÄďBLA

* The Hebrew word transliterated into a Latin alphabet as¬†Shiyloh, Shiloh¬†(ENG)¬†Siloh (SPAN)¬†‚Äď can be rendered “the owner” (which concept is sometimes translated as Lord, in English; or Se√Īor, in Spanish).

I have no idea how to love a man who has such a view of life as to aspire to rule by being “a killer”. ¬†But I’m relieved to be reminded of Who is truly in charge. ¬†Global citizenship requires this effort of inclusion. ¬†I aspire to being an upstanding citizen. ¬†¬Ņ How’bout you ? ‚ÄĒ What can we do, together, to recognize Divine Government?


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†WE’RE ALL IMMIGRANTS

Duct-taped water bottle,  PHOTOS by Tom Keifer, series linked below.

All magicians use distraction: ¬†Look, over there! ¬†Invaders! ¬† (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, that armed bear, that loon with an extended-mag Glock who’s about to shoot up your place of worship, or your kid’s classroom, or your place of refreshment, or entertainment venue ‚ÄĒ who maybe can’t hold a driver license due to instability ‚ÄĒ but can easily buy military-grade assault weapons.) ¬†They¬†call this “states’ rights”, but whatever happened to our right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? ¬†

Ah, 2nd Amendment. ¬†Our elected officials prefer to defend their own jobs rather¬†defending public lives by creating a federally-regulated system of checks on gunners’ “rights” to arm bears, crazy-angry bears. ¬†(¬Ņ They can regulate, federally, whomever is allowed to fly a plane, but not who can buy an assault rifle?) ¬†

Yes, a congress of cowards.  So, what about that phrase in the 2nd A? :  a well-regulated militia.  Apparently congress knows better than to poke a bear in its den, even if it will surely soon emerge again to ravage the nearest watering hole, or school, or church.  Yes, cowards, on both sides of the aisle.

Of course, the feds need to control borders, just as they need to control planes, and toxins, and fires, and weapons.  

I own a few long guns for sport. ¬†I spent four years defending this nation. ¬†I want our elected officials, many of whom have never served (other than themselves) to step up and defend the citizenry. ¬†Guys, you’re way late! ¬†You work for us. ¬†Get busy bringing federal regulation to this insanity. ¬†Be willing to lay down your careers for your neighbors! ¬†Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. ¬†~Jesus

Photographer/designer Tom Keifer has done an eloquent job depicting the risks and costs of fleeing poverty ‚ÄĒ just as nearly all of our ancestors did ‚Äď including President Trump’s first American ancestor, Friedrich Drumpf, who came to America in 1885, apparently to dodge the draft in Germany. ¬† (I have no idea what Mr Keifer’s views might be on assault weapons, or politics, but I admire his photographic work.)

All detainees are stripped of their belts which are generally discarded. As they move through the court system and eventually deported, they wear pants with no belt and shoes with no shoelaces.   (All photos by Tom Keifer.)