Even after all these years and all these words, The Observer is still a little mystified when something we write — our compassion, our outrage, our indignation and especially our beautiful capacity for loving people we've never met and don't know from Jack Johnson — seems to touch the hot wire of human hearts.
If you watch this space, you know that last week, Yours Truly sounded our barbaric yawp over the roof of the world about Trump's vile policy of separating children from their parents at the border, caging terrified little girls and little boys like animals while politicians wring their hands in faux, politically expedient helplessness. We would say it's a policy that is positively crocodilian in its remorseless cruelty, but that would be an insult to crocodiles, wouldn't it? Nature is not cruel. Nature is nature and every action taken in nature, no matter how bloody, contributes to the slow miracle of constant, ceaseless rejuvenation. No, it takes a human being to inject cruelty into the equation. It takes a calculating and remorseless decision to be made. It takes a golem like Trump and his obedient minions and all the uniformed orcs "just following orders" at the border to take things to the level of horror of which only human beings are capable. So let's leave the crocodiles out of it, shall we? Crocodiles, at least, are honest about their motives. Hell, at this point, almost two years in, we would literally prefer a crocodile as president of the United States if offered the alternative. Waking up to The Washington Post headline that President Crocodile has eaten the ambassador to Paraguay right down to his wingtips in the Lincoln Bedroom would be almost enjoyable at this point, unless somebody taught the damn thing to tweet. But we digress.
We've gotten more feedback from last week's Observer than we have over our writing in quite a spell. Approaching 2,000 shares on Dr. Zuckerberg's Electronic Book of Face for starters, which is proof enough for gubmint work that we've arrived at some kind of point that's greater than the crapola we usually pass off as strawberry jam. Pretty good, anyway, for something we wrote at 5 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, while Junior and Spouse slept down the hall, unseized and uncaged, unpersecuted and unwronged, solely by virtue of having been born here rather than 800 miles or so southwest of Maple Street. A simple twist of geography. If you believe, somehow, that you are one of 300 million Budweiser-and-Lee Greenwood-loving Americans because, when souls were being allotted, God smiled on a particularly good one and directed it to flitter down to earth to inhabit your particular skinsuit instead of one in the slums of San Salvador, get your head examined for soft spots.
No, if you're not Native American or a descendant of one of the countless thousands stolen from Africa to work for lazy Southern white folks' sorry asses once upon a time, here's why you're an American: because once, some brave soul whose DNA you now carry in your complacent, undeserving body looked over the waters toward this place, toward this dream, toward this idea shining in the far and potentially deadly distance, and saw opportunity and safety and a glimmer of something better for his children than he could ever hope to have where he was.
You think the mothers and fathers sobbing for their children in cold cells in Brownsville tonight are any different? You think your great-grandmother who came through Ellis Island was any more or less brave, or noble, or worthy of a place at the American table than they are? You think your ancestors who breezed into this country when immigrating "the right way" meant someone telling you "sign or make your mark here, please," weren't these same, scared, striving, hopeful people, starving for a chance to make their way? If you can't see that, if you can't appreciate that fact, there's no hope for you, and less hope than ever for this grand, brilliant experiment once gifted to us by certified geniuses and genuine idiots alike.
In closing, thanks for your kind words, Dear Reader. It's hard sometimes, even for Your Old Pal, to keep going. There are days when it's difficult not to just throw up these mortal hands and admit what we know: If we don't have $20 million in our checking account, there's pretty much zero chance of influencing things one way or the other in this country.
Our only regret is that we don't remember enough from high school Spanish to write our thoughts on the subject the way they need to be said.