UPDATE: THIS JUST IN: http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/28/14427086/federal-court-halts-trumps-immigration-ban
We were watching “The Wide Window” in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” when my phone buzzed.
Do you have the kids now?
I’m probably going to Logan.
Earlier in the evening I’d shared, on Facebook, a compiled lists of protests around the country due to (this time) the new president’s new executive order banning people from entering the U.S. from certain countries. While some of them were in flight.
Yeah, this is horrifying on so many levels.
I responded to my text, quietly: -I would but have very tired slightly sick kids. Thank you for going!!
Also, I don’t take my kids to protests in the middle of bedtime. We’re chasing a very delicate equilibrium these days and I try to keep the status quo as much as possible. The new custody schedule helps a ton, and I think Friday evening karate does, too. Yes, I know we’re privileged, and privileged enough to try to maintain order and a schedule and routine. I know.
I wished her luck and returned to watching the show with the kids, the younger one snuggled against me.
Twenty minutes later, when the show had ended and I was reading to the kids (George, about a boy who understands she’s really a girl and has a hard time telling anyone but really wants to play Charlotte in the school performance of “Charlotte’s Web”–an excellent book, and so well done, and the kids totally get it and it’s not a big deal to them, and I love that this book exists and hate that it is so out of the norm), my phone buzzed again. Another local friend.
“Mom, stop texting,” my older son grumbled.
“I need to check it. I can explain why,” I said.
The second friend was texting to see if I’d join her at the protest in Boston tomorrow. I checked her text because I knew it would be protest-related and wanted to know if I should connect her with the first friend, so they could carpool to Logan if need be.
“So,” I started, “the Statue of Liberty has a poem on it by a woman named Emma Lazarus, saying, ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.’
“This country became a refuge for so many people seeking shelter and peace and a better life.* The United States welcomes all. Or, did. But our new President has signed something called an ‘executive order,’ an official decree, stating that people from certain countries — all of them predominantly Muslim countries — cannot come to the United States anymore.
“Some of the people were on planes at the time that he signed it, so when they landed here they couldn’t go to to where they were going, and they couldn’t be put back on a plane to go back to where they came from. They were sent to detention centers to talk with immigration lawyers about what they could do.**”
“Wait, why couldn’t they just be put on planes to go back?”
“Great question. For some people, it’s not safe to return to where they came from. They came here seeking a safe place. For others, there’s no reason to return. Maybe they were just on a trip. In any case, who would pay for the flight? So they are sent to detention centers.
“So people are protesting this around the country tonight, at different airports, and they are also marching tomorrow to protest. So I was checking my texts to see if S—‘s mom is going to Logan tonight, like J—- is, to see if maybe they can carpool. But S—-‘s mom is going to the march tomorrow in Boston. Want me to read a few more pages?”
And then poor George had to deal with her teacher refusing to take her Charlotte audition seriously. Ugh.
And then the kids conked out the way very tired children do, especially when they’re fed and safe and warm and secure. Sorry to lay it on thick. It’s been a long week, the first week of a long four years. We’ll be stopping by the Boston protest tomorrow, all three of us.
*For real, we talked about Europeans invading the U.S. and taking the land away from Native Americans and killing most of them and forcing the rest to live in crappy “reservations” just a few days ago, so I skipped that part.
**Admittedly a little heavy for bedtime. But I’m not going to shield my children from their president’s actions for the next four years. I cannot. It’s impossible and stupid to try. Instead: Hey kids, here’s what your president is up to. We’re so, so sorry, and it hurts so many people.