Step One

Before I was out of bed this morning, I woke up feeling empathy for the 19-year-old young man in San Diego who was deported by INS this week.  He doesn't ever remember living in Mexico; he was brought up just like my boys in So Cal.  He was a DACA kid, and graduated from a CA high school and went on to study arts at a local school.  But, just like most of his safe white classmates, he had a tiny bit of weed in his pocket when he was stopped ... so now that kid is in Mexico with no resources.

I got up and googled to see more details, and saw something similar happened to a 23-year-old DACA student in Washington.  And the list of stories go on.

So we have become a country that does violence to the innocent and terrorizes all of us but particularly ethnic minorities.  I hear voices saying "but they broke the law", but if my white kids break the law they get a proportionate reaction -- not shipped to another country with no resources.  So I am sickened.

The best I can figure, as I consider the apathy or antipathy of voters, senators, congressmen & congresswomen, FOXnews, and many of my friends, is that we really see the world in "us vs them" terms and have no problem letting "them" "lose" when "we" were the ones who "won".  And then for those like me, who "voted right" and have empathy, there is a feeling of helplessness to help but then also a feeling of fear of helping and having that heartlessness directed toward us as "they" perceive us as "on the other side" and thus fair game for this national purge of people that didn't "play by the rules" in this current life-altering cruel game.  

My amazement is doubled by the economic facts, which make it clear that we will all be hurt by this purge, which is of good tax-paying social-security-paying workers and consumers, almost all of whom have state-side citizen nuclear-family members.  There will be fewer dollars spent at Costco, fewer dollars spent at Target, fewer dollars to every business in our economy.  And the jobs they leave empty are not the ones our unemployed college grads or unemployed 50-somethings or unemployed coal miners can fill.

And FOXnews is not covering it, and my FB and Twitter feeds only touch on it.

My first step in responding will be prayer and fasting.  Fasting is a part of the Judeo-Christian tradition designed not to make God hear me better, but purposed to help me hear God better.  It involves abstaining from some part of life that I will miss enough to remind me to pray.  I will be praying both for God to intervene on behalf of those living in fear of the INS and for God to show me how I personally should respond.

I invite you to join me.


Practicing Relational Engagement Across the Political Divide

No one can deny that conservatives and progressives find each other's perspectives troubling and perplexing, and that good people on both sides are committed to doing all they can to advance their ideological and political agenda.  This post is not intended to oppose political activism, which is a good and protected American tradition.

However, in the midst of our peaceful activism, we do not want to lose unnecessary ground in our mutual respect and kindness and understanding.

If you are after a United States of America and after a world that is kind and wise and secure, I invite you to commit yourself to these disciplines:

1) Maintain several daily friendships (with real face-to-face interaction several times a month or more) that are with people who have a political perspective that you personally oppose.  Engage with them in the things you hold in common, and do not let your engagement be focused on changing their political perspective.

2) Deliberately allocate a portion of the time and attention you spend on news and information to perspectives that trouble you.  

If you spend hours watching FOXNEWS or MSNBC, record and watch an hour of coverage from the other channel, even if it makes you angry.  Add in a third perspective, too, by watching an hour of a more neutral news program or by reading down the stories on news.google.com each day.

If you read the Wall Street Journal each morning, spend time skimming the stories on a less conservative or truly progressive paper like the New York Times, and vice versa.  And again, add a more moderate mix like CBS news.

3) Practice empathy with those on "the other side", and understand that you would have their perspective and make their choices if you were in their situation and had been formed by the forces that formed them.

That is not to say that you should not fight for the things you passionately defend and promote.  It is to say you should do it without violence or hatred, but with respect for even people that you rightly see as the enemy.


1) Maintain several warm face-to-face friendships that are with people who have a political perspective that you personally oppose.  

2) Deliberately allocate a portion of the daily time and attention that you spend on news and information to perspectives that trouble you, to be informed fully.

3) Practice respect and empathy for those “on the other side”  without sacrificing your own beliefs.

For support and accountability in promoting and practicing these commitments, join me here: