I believe we need a better way of treating people seeking asylum from dangers in their homeland. Imprisoning men and women seeking safety because they have crossed our border without permission is bad enough in itself. Compounding that meanness by separating those traveling as families from their children is awful behavior unbecoming to any country, much less the United States of America. We forget our original greatness was founded by immigrants pursuing a better life in the face of life-straining obstacles. This awful behavior of imprisonment and separation on the part of the party in power must change; we are losing our soul as a country unless we improve our treatment of people, regardless of what their documented status may be. We should have zero tolerance for unkindness. There are better ways to solve problems and manage dilemmas than throwing people in prison because they are seeking safety and taking away their children in the process.
I don’t know if Congress with its largely male composition can imagine what it would be like to be a young single teenage girl who is pregnant or a mature married woman who is pregnant and for whatever reason didn’t want to go forward with that pregnancy. Perhaps the young girl is terrified and traumatized by the prospect of carrying a baby to term. Perhaps the mature woman has a husband newly dying of cancer and three children already on the ground who need her help. There are many possibilities.
Regardless of one’s opinion about abortion, women and girls need access to reproductive healthcare, whatever their circumstances. One half of babies are born with their deliveries paid for by Medicaid. We need to do a better job for our people, and that means making reproductive healthcare a priority. Punishing people by making it hard to access reproductive healthcare not only is cruel to the people in need of it, it hurts all of us.
Thanks to you and your family for the remarkable energy and focus you gave to your campaign. I know the misstep of the last couple of weeks must be very painful; I thought the email from your wife that followed that was full of humanity. I had given my small contribution to both yours and Julie’s campaigns. I had been, as a friend said, dithering back and forth between voting for you or Julie Oliver, looking for who was most likely to have a bit of a chance in the race against Roger Williams. I think Julie probably does, just because if there is a wave that will bring out non-traditional voters, in most cases, it’s likely to be the wave of women. That said, in the end, I cast my vote for you – because the email sent under your wife’s signature after the dodgy business of taking on Julie’s campaign the way your campaign did– spoke to me of the hard, hard work you two undertook (appearing in many living rooms and at many doorsteps to talk with people, including my doorstep where you spoke with my adult son and in a neighbor’s living room where I heard you speak things I believe). The reality is when we are working fiercely hard we all sometimes make mistakes. Most, however, don’t apologize, even if it is through a woman; and sometimes it just takes a woman in our society to offer the human face. Thanks to you and your wife for your courage and stamina, and I plan to join you in campaigning for Julie.
Mary (Molly) Sharpe
Friends for Civil Action website: https://mollysharpe.wordpress.com
Senator John Cornyn| Senate Majority Whip| 517 Hart Senate Office Building| Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Cornyn, as a person of considerable power, please enact universal gun checks now for the safety of our school children. Some people are just not equipped to handle guns.
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Re: Separating Children from Parents as a Deterrent Tactic is Wrong
Whether or not we agree on immigration policy, we should be able to agree that as a tactic to deter immigration, it is wrong to separate children from parents. John F. Kelly said on NPR last week most of the people who cross the border illegally “are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13” gang members.” Stop this immoral separation.
Re: A Culture of Bad Behavior is Bad for Us All
Whatever our political preferences, we should not overlook bad behavior in our elected officials and those who represent them. Firing by tweet is wrong. Offloading blame is wrong. Disrespect of human dignity is wrong. Calling people names because they are affiliated with a different political party is wrong. Those in power need to protest on all their constituents’ behalf.
Re: Ignoring Environmental Hazards is Bad for Us All
Fifty years ago, the Stanford Research Institute delivered a report titled, Sources, Abundances and Fate of Gaseous Polluters. While what to do is a matter of debate, ignoring the impact of pollution puts us all in peril. Pay attention to pollution.
Re: Costly Facts to Ignore
Internet searches quickly reveal from multiple, credible sources: 1. More than half of households in the U.S. lack $500 for an emergency and 2. Approaching half of children born in the U.S. have their deliveries paid for by Medicaid, because their parent(s) are below the poverty line. Yes, we can improve our social services network, but not by cutting it back. The reality of poverty and fragility in our country isn’t going away without government paying attention to our environment, our health, and our public education system. Do what is right, and invest in your people.
Re: Choosing Who to Help is Morally Wrong
For those who have a faith or secular life practice that respects the call to love our neighbor, we don’t have the choice of helping only those who behave as we think they should. In other words, it’s not right to only give health care to those who will work. It is right, however, to improve conditions so that more people will be equipped for work. Less government isn’t a reliable option when more people than ever need help in America.
Interested in helping spread positive political action? Give friends and family a political engagement tool they can use, regardless of the party affiliation. The Postcard Storm, Ten Outcomes We Should All Want can be ordered online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Something we all do is eat. Getting food safely to the table involves a chain of people and complex legislation. To learn more about what’s involved, check out: www.FarmAndRanchFreedom.org. Once again, the Episcopal Public Policy Network proved to be for me an excellent resource on how to act. The information below shows you how to join the Episcopal Church in urging the U.S. House of Representatives to reject their current farm bill draft and develop a “bipartisan, evidence-based bill.” The quotes are mine, highlighting how valuable and needed legislation that is bipartisan and evidence-based (YES!) is.
My son Will Sharpe brought the attached story to my attention: https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/state-of-conflict. It does feel as if our lives are under siege from the far right. Reading this reminds me of the importance of: “nevertheless, she persisted.” I live in hope that Republicans will put down their far right agenda and pick up a position of becoming problem solvers; meanwhile, I hope Democrats will become increasingly committed to being the party of our conscience. We can’t ignore politics. We raindrops, reminding politicians we are part of their constituencies, need to work daily to spread practices of kindness, which means respecting diversity. This isn’t just about social justice; it’s about humankind.
The foregoing headline is followed by a story in today’s New York Times by Pam Belluck, a story that notes “The new rules favor ‘sexual risk avoidance.” This story is very bad and very costly news. Consider this background information: Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), an evidence-based program to prevent teen pregnancy across the U.S., was notified by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services that grants would be terminated at the end of the 2018 federal fiscal year, two years before the projects were due to end. In Texas, this program has helped Texas Teen birth rate drop to a low of 33 per 1000 in 2015 from a high of 78.4 per 1000 in 1991. /This data appeared in The Austin American-Statesman, March 15, 2018, in guest view point by Molly Clayton.
Those of us who gathered yesterday for Friends for Civil Action’s 17th Postcard Storm, sent the following messages to our U.S. Senators and U.S. House Representative:
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program helped the Texas teen birth rate drop to a low of 33 per 1000 in 2015 from a high of 78.4 per 1000 in 1991. It’s been proposed this program be cut from the federal budget, a very costly cut for the future, as each early pregnancy creates a new fragile family often in need of social service dollars for generations.
Those of you reading this post are encouraged to send the same message or call it in. When you deliver your message, provide your name as it appears on your voter’s registration, your mailing address and zip, to make your position eligible for tallying. A quick internet search of Congressional Districts will provide you with the easy prompts you need to get the contact information for your elected officials. Following the “do unto others as you would have them do to you, ” civil messages are recommended, and dropping unneeded modifiers helps.
Those of us who hope to be governed by kindness — meaning that we want kind behavior to guide our decision making — have a job to do. We, the people need to stay diligent. We have a choice to accept authority or to advocate for change, when change is necessary.
Looking at today’s immigration policy, those of us who seek kind behavior, see acute problems that require change in order for us to be a kind community of people. One part of kindness is to keep communities safe. Another part of kindness is to be welcoming to people who need our welcome. Neither one of these is a simple task, met by one strategy alone, but it should be clear that using our nation’s resources to deport people who have been living successfully in the United States for years is unkind, disrupting families and instilling fear in people unnecessarily. We don’t function well when fear is driving our lives. Sometimes fear is unavoidable, but in this case it is not. Our nation should be using its resources to establish more pathways to legal status for immigrants already successfully living in our country, not spending money to ship people back to chaotic, unsafe places, tearing up families in the United States in the process.
As a reminder about the dangers of relying on those in authority to set the rules of our lives, without speaking out, consider how often authority sources don’t get kindness right.
An example I know is the Episcopal Church, which is the faith tradition in which I was raised. The church, sometimes very slowly it seems, has shifted its position on gender and other issues of discrimination, ultimately recognizing earlier church positions were unkind. These shifts in government, in faith organizations, in schools, and other aspects of institutionalized community life get made because people speak out. Sometimes it is people speaking out in fear or greed, something we see much of today, who set the course of change. Always, those who seek a kinder, better world, understanding that kindness often requires bravery, have work to do, helping correct the course by speaking out. Here are some some of the changes, made because people spoke out until they were heard, the Episcopal Church has made, correcting wrongs:
- Before I was born, there were Episcopal bishops who owned slaves.
- When I was a child, females could not be acolytes.
- When I was a young woman, females could not lay-read, much less be ordained.
- When I was a middle-aged woman, the church was working through where it should stand on homosexuality; the church would bless animals, but not bless the marriages of homosexuals.
- When I was an older woman, the church took a stand on transgenders, notifying the Texas legislature if the bathroom bill which would dictate that people use the bathroom of their gender at birth passed, the church would need to consider moving their general convention—10,000 people coming to Austin for about a week, bringing revenue with them, to a more inclusive, welcoming state.
I have seen a lot change in my life. The changes ahead depend on we, the people seeking kindness to be diligent about what outcomes we want, speaking out to politicians who set the rules that govern community life and speaking through the institutions which are part of the fabrics of our daily being.