The Other Shoes

People have lost the ability to put themselves in each other’s shoes. The results of the 2016 Presidential election stemmed from the build-up of grievances long ignored. People were fed up with politicians, bureaucracy, empty promises and disappointment upon disappointment. There were laws not being enforced and new laws proven to be outrageously expensive yet fruitless.

And where does the money come from to pay for everything? Governments are not bottomless pits of gold. Taxpayers, American citizens, are footing the bill.

One idea now taking hold among the disgruntled masses is that it is a G-d-given right to be an American citizen and/or to be awarded the same advantages and freedoms as American citizens. Wrong. Human rights go without saying, but there is a difference between human rights and officially becoming the citizen of a nation.

Putting myself in those shoes, I realize that it is not my right to live wherever I want in the world without going through the proper channels lawfully. That is, I cannot automatically become a British citizen simply because I flew into the country. Nor can I, by will alone, become Australian, Colombian, Japanese or Saudi. In fact, if the Saudi government knew about my Jewish roots I wouldn’t be allowed into the country.

Despite the Law of Return, I cannot even become an Israeli by default alone, without completing the forms and actually applying for it.

To fortify a nation’s borders is, on the other hand, the right of said nation. The concept of protecting one’s citizens is as old as the world.

Unfortunately, people have been reacting without knowing all the facts. Quick to temper, the American public on both sides of the political spectrum have been making snap judgments based on soundbites and lying propaganda promoted by an instigating media. How it all actually plays out is yet to be seen, but with a government set up to have checks and balances, and with the modern ideals of protecting people against wrongful discrimination and being fair and just, ethnic cleansing, especially in the melting pot that is the United States, is entirely unlikely. Today’s American public simply would not put up with it.

In other words, the world is not coming to an end as far as I know. If it does, I will stand corrected.

Whatever the future holds, we must put ourselves in each other’s shoes and look at the big picture. In general, Trump supporters are not racists, and Trump critics are not all crazy lunatics dressing up as their private parts. Though there are extremists full of hatred and radical ideas, there are also people on both sides making valid points.

It would be nice if we could all stop shouting and do something unheard of—listen. Listen to one another, understand each other’s concerns and work together to achieve a compromise. Don’t just hate because you want to get on the bandwagon. There is no bandwagon, only a country full of people whose goals probably aren’t as far apart as we might think.

Let’s put ourselves in each other’s shoes.

D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.


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