I heard that Archbishop Jose Gomez, the archbishop of the Los Angeles diocese was passed up for Cardinal by Pope Francis, because Pope Francis wanted to bring up some of the "smaller" guys. It would have been easy to appoint Archbishop Jose Gomez, because he runs the largest diocese in the United States, which naturally means having great influence. However, Pope Francis decided to show everyone that the guys covering small diocese, the ones who may go unnoticed, are just as important. You can never forget the "little" people, because they too make up our community.
I don't know how true this is, but it sounds like Pope Francis, and it made me think about the state of our country. There's concern that those being appointed to lead our country will only look out for the big guns. Right after our election someone told me, "Justine, you have nothing to worry about, because none of this is likely to affect you. You're not a minority. You're privileged." My mouth dropped a little and I was deeply offended. I'm American-Asian and I'm a woman. How am I not a minority? I understood what she meant though. But regardless of how any policy directly or indirectly affects me, this is my country, my people, my world. These leaders are supposed to stand up for our values and work for the people. Have we all forgotten what the very first line of the preamble to our Constitution says?
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
I started thinking a lot about these words as our country continues to feel more and more divided. WE are the PEOPLE of this great country. If we are to always works towards a more perfect Union, we cannot reject parts of the union, and parts of the people. Having a difference of opinions is one thing; but taking action that most certainly disturbs domestic tranquility and divides the people is another. If we don't work to support ALL the people of our country, then we are only allowing ourselves to fall greatly and fall far. True, times were different when our founding fathers drafted the Constitution, and many of them may have been racist and slave owners, but the preamble to the Constitution does not refer to any specific kind of people like "We the white male People of the United States." Nor does it say, "We the some People." No, it says, simply, "We the People..." Our founding fathers drafted and implemented the Constitution on behalf of ALL Americans.
I keep repeating those words to myself, and I keep thinking about my friends' families who are affected and would be affected by any sort of ban on Muslim countries. How are "We the People" able to split up families, upstanding American families, because we are driven by fear? Many of my friends' families fled dire and perilous situations, came here, worked hard, and lived out their version of the American dream. They embody the American values our forefathers laid out to protect in the Constitution.
The sad part is, this sort of anti-immigrant attitude is not new to our nation; but we live in a time where we shouldn't have to fight this. It's the Muslims today, it was the Italians, Irish, and Chinese before, who will it be ten or twenty years from now? It should be no one, if we remember our Constitution, if we remember what is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”), and if we remember that refugees are people, too. They're escaping the horrors from which we are trying to protect our country. So, we're on the same side.
How can a nation ever be strong if it preys on its most vulnerable links? If you want to fly, you must lift those who helped build your wings.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
When I first met Foo, my brother's puppy, I was finishing law school and busy studying for the bar. In pictures she was adorable and looked like a hamster, because she was so small. However, whenever he'd bring her around, I found her so annoying, because I couldn't get anything done around her. She was so hyper and so little, she jumped all over me non-stop, so I couldn't study, or eat, or do anything productive in her presence. So you just had this tiny furry ball bouncing around you and off of you all the time. As such, being a high stress level time in my life, I really did not like her. I mean, I really did not like her at all. I was forced to lock myself in my room anytime I needed to get something done, even to workout. She was a real pain in my ass.
At least, my brother took her back with him to Santa Cruz at the end of the summer when he went back to finish his last year of university, and then I moved to Nashville. I don't remember exactly when it was, but one day I finally broke and gave into her love. She was ferociously licking my feet as she does to everyone, and I just suddenly realized she is so full of love, how could I not love her back? Despite my disdain for her, she loved me so vivaciously. It wasn't a process, I didn't slowly grow to love her. It was more like her love so forcibly penetrated me, my walls instantly crumbled when I realized she wasn't annoying, she was loving. From that point on, I've loved her so incredibly I get so excited just thinking of her and her cute little face.
She has weak lungs and yet when you walk through the door she'll run to you and often starts heaving heavily, but it's as though she ignores that and continues with excitement as it sounds like she's choking on giant gulps of air. She likes to sleep between your legs, and is a terrible running partner because she stops to sniff everything.
She is truly so sweet and full of love, and it is thanks to this little girl that I was shown once more how only LOVE can conquer hate.
While I was out of the country for a couple weeks, it felt like a war had broken out back home, on top of all the violence and terror that continues around the world, and for a moment I felt utterly helpless. Is this what we must grow accustomed to as the norm? Can we truly conquer all the hate and terror in the world? I had to remind myself that only light can chase away the darkness, and only love can conquer hate. Then I thought, how do you remind the world that this is the truth, and not just hopeful words? Well, Foo's face came to mind, and I remembered how I came around to love her like my own blood.
So just love the heck out of everyone, because eventually their walls will fall.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
P.S. In case you're wondering why her name is Foo, it's because her mother's name was Tofu, so my brother thought it clever to name her Foo. I guess it's better than naming her Toe.