My grandson and his wife, who have been living and working in Europe for almost three years, are here visiting family. They are young and bright, with backgrounds in economics and health care. Ready to begin a family, the question arises of where to put down roots.
The country they currently live in provides safety and security for its citizens: child care, health care and education. Basic subsistence provides a security which frees people to make healthy life choices. Contrary to being on the dole, people there work as hard as in any country.
Foremost in our family discussions is the challenge to democracy we struggle with today in the United States. The last administration has upended our sleepy approval of ourselves and our country. The former President has put our shadow side on the table; we must now deal with our racism, painfully and honestly. As we come to grips with the reality of racism, inequality, and the myths we have perpetuated about the American dream, we are asking hard questions.
Our history confirms that injustice harms both the oppressed and the oppressor. We all suffer, in a variety of ways, the consequences of bigotry and hate. Unfortunately, representatives in congress, paralyzed by fear over loss of power and wealth, make up the majority of a Senate which is able to block attempts to change direction. Their vision is small and mires us in stagnation. The elections of 2022 will tell us more about how many Americans buy into this fearful mindset.
Voter suppression is underway, an attempt to limit voter access to people of color. We are forced to put our attention on random acts of violence rather than random acts of kindness. We fail to understand that infrastructure includes people and not simply bridges and roads. And so on.
It is unclear to us and to many whether democracy will survive, and that is scary. Why would a young couple, who are lucky enough to have choice, choose to live in America? What do we offer in the way of resiliency and hope?
Maybe the incentive to help explore a more creative vision is enough motivation. People worldwide believe that we are a country who can do it. And maybe we can, with political will. Maybe we can grow our vision by electing more ethnically and racially diverse, informed, people to make healthy decisions for our country, decisions which offer safety, opportunity and exclude no one. Maybe we can agree that we want all our children to have safe housing and a good education.
My grandson and his wife want to raise their children among family. It is important to have the support of grandparents, aunts and uncles. Privilege allows them to act on the hopes of refugees and immigrants here and everywhere who have the same dream.
Will we act on hope and use the democratic privilege we currently have to work for causes and elect people who believe that all individuals and families in America and elsewhere deserve shelter, health care, education, and equal opportunity?
Without that, how can any of us make good choices for our children, all of whom are precious?