Still an Immigrant

Just so that people stop telling me that only women do this kind of thing:

I woke up this morning unnaturally early, with a sick feeling in my stomach. I went downstairs while my wife and daughters slept to make some coffee. I noticed a little pink water beneath the watermelon sitting on the counter. I picked it up, only for watermelon water and pulp to gush out all over the counter and floor. Evidently it had been bruised or something, but I took it as a kind of sign on this Independence Day in this year of nightmares, 2018.

And a bit later in the post:

Nowhere may be safe from the rising tide of hate submerging the world.

It’s true that an immigrant is always an immigrant. I will never feel sufficiently self-important to see signs that watermelons approve of my politics and to engage in the national pastime of extreme self-pity.

13 thoughts on “Still an Immigrant”

  1. I’ve been thinking about my attitude toward politics over the past few days, after I’d read on a blog of person I like and respect that I fall under the unflatteing umbrella of those who will vote but not do much else. I am progressive and probably follow politics now more than I did in my youth, but I still don’t consider myself truly knowledgeable. What could I do to help things not go to shit? I have voted in every election, local, state, federal, since I got my citizenship. I give to charities and support progressive candidates. I can’t go canvas neighborhoods, not in the least because everyone will freak out at my accent. I honestly cannot bring myself to go to protests, because that’s really alien to my personality — I didn’t do it even when I was young and much more was at stake in my home country, and I sure as $hit can’t do it now when there’s a whole family that hinges on me being alive, healthy, and employed. Based on where I grew up, I am honestly a bit terrified of raising my head too high, because tall poppies etc. So I accept that I am perhaps not doing enough, but what could I be doing? I am an immigrant. I am as integrated as anyone and I’m white, but I am not from here. There are differences in how I sound and how I carry myself and how I relate to people that I don’t think will ever go away. I want to help in a way that won’t actually hurt me (harassment) or the cause (people being turned off by my foreignness). I can’t help but think, perhaps erroneously, that all the call-your-congressman/senator calls are ultimately pointless. Running for some local office would be meaningful, but again I think the foreignness would be a hindrance there.


    1. It sounds as though you do plenty. This is not to say you have to but just FYI, some of those call your senator / representative calls really do work, especially at the state level. They don’t necessarily get that many calls, and that is why a call makes a difference. I don’t think petitions do. Paper letters do but they don’t get counted as fast (they have to get delivered first). And for local office I am not convinced being foreign would be detrimental. Again — not to say you have to, just sayin’ in general.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, I’ve grown extremely disillusioned with US progressivism. It has this screaming, screeching, morally smug vein that I detest. People will say that Republicans have it too but I never identified with them, so it doesn’t hurt me that they are freaks.

        I also detest this new habit of evoking the word socialism. They claim it’s a different kind of socialism but what do I care? For a side that is all about speech codes and sensitivity to the feelings of oppressed groups, it’s a pretty insensitive thing to do. I hate it that it’s all about excitable screeching and people who do have something of value to offer are terrified of pushing back against the maniacs. I hate it that the same people who were eagerly sharing Russian propaganda suddenly discovered that Russia is bad after Trump embraced it. I’d respect them more if they stuck with their support for Russia. I feel completely divorced from and repelled by all this weeping and wailing at protests and rallies. They rally from the position of extreme yet entirely imaginary weakness and I hate playing a shrinking violet for show. So other than the union which is right here and I can see the good work it’s doing I have zero enthusiasm to participate in anything else politically. In the fight between vapid fools and active evildoers, I don’t identify with either side because they feed each other.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It could be a good gag for some kind of comedy skit, though. “I knew the country was rotten the minute I saw my 4th of July watermelon was leaking.” (Personally I marinated this organic chicken, grilled it with my own pesto, served it with my friend’s own crême fraîche and then realized it wasn’t cooked enough, so had a flawed lunch, perhaps a sign of rawness to come.)

    I think this person takes love of country too seriously. I, too, have affection for the US, appreciation of and identification with some of its traditions, and outright passion for the Western landscape and I guess for the idea of a republic also. But I’m not caught up in the idea of having to love everything or to believe everything is good. So I don’t have to feel as conflicted.


  3. Clarissa, what do you think about the senators and representatives in Congress calling for the abolition of ICE? I agree with them, but I worry about the wisdom of making this a campaign issue in 2018. I wish they’d be vocally radical about other issues instead (health care, for one).


    1. It’s a cute talking point without any substance. There’s still going to be some immigration enforcement agency. Repackaging it with a different name has zero value. And the only reason why this is being presented as a major issue is, as you so correctly say, because it’s easier to do than any meaningful economic reform.


      1. God knows I want to be energized about the upcoming election, the first one in my entire life I can actually vote in. I want to organize, I want to join a campaign, I want to go canvassing, my accent be damned. But I need a candidate and a program I can get excited about. Once I see that or even a small part of that, I’ll be beyond happy to participate.


      2. I’m not sure. The pre-2003 agency was not NEARLY so oppressive. It was after 9/11 that we got DHS, TSA, and all of that and this seriously weakened democratic institutions here, was a structural change. Yes, we can go back and the idea that we can’t or that it would just be cosmetic is false.


        1. But here’s the problem: nobody is saying “let’s do XYZ instead.” And when politicians are shy about naming an alternative, it’s because they are planning to feed us shit.


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