Day Fifteen

It is an uncomfortable position I am in. I attend meetings where I am the focus, an expert from the States to share my knowledge on welcoming refugees. That is not what is uncomfortable; Donald Trump is what makes me uncomfortable. As an individual I am infinitely amused by his childish outbursts. As a citizen I am appalled that a man with so little emotional intelligence has been able to amass more of the earth’s resources than billions of its inhabitants who wake each day with the intent to care deeply for others.

I am surrounded by these people who wake each day with the intent to care deeply for others. One program manager shared in a meeting, “I think about how to help these refugee families all the time. It is what I have been doing for weeks now.”

My discomfort comes from seeing in the international news Trump’s fear and anger, and how he so easily taps into hundreds of thousands of others’ fear.

Let’s talk about fear a moment. There are two fears here: fear of threat, and fear of scarcity. “What of mine (safety, language, culture, jobs) will be taken? What limited resource (financial assistance, housing) is going to be given to someone else?” This is a reaction, not an assessment. Toddlers behave this way when they have something (a person’s attention, a toy) that they want. They grab it from others and refuse to share. They notice who is getting more of it. But as adults our behavior can be thoughtful and draw from a deeper perspective of the dynamics, a greater generosity of spirit, a shared understanding of our human bonds.

When you look back on a family crisis, or a devastating event, which behavior makes you proud? For me, it is the family in Iceland that called Red Cross to say a family from Syria is welcomeP1040285 in their home.


About ndubus

Assistant Professor of Social Work, San Jose State University, USA
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