You’re sitting opposite someone you care about. Husband, wife, daughter, son, granny, close friend, workmate, doesn’t matter which. You’re chatting about the latest government abuse of power or maybe money worries or shooting the breeze about a show you both like. It strikes you how much you care about this person, as you look at his/her mouth making words, face animated by shifting expressions, eyes smiling back at you enjoying your company.

Part of you is ruminating on the question “what can I do to make our lives better, what should I do to look after this person I care about..?” Any of us have this in mind from time to time, parents every day of their children’s lives. Decisions made, consequences lived, choices to come. It all matters. You can’t know what tomorrow will bring but you know you’ll try to anticipate danger and keep everyone safe, you’ll use your experience to see what’ll make life better and do what you can to guide those you care about in that direction.

What’s being talked about is interesting enough, sure, but the next thought you realise this person being happy matters more. That you could be talking about anything but this would still matter. Part of you is “in” the moment but another part sees the future too and how much you hope you’re both blessed with a long time to come, to do more things together, to have more good talks.

… then the world goes BOOM and you’re on your own. WTF?

Who’d stay to have this happen?

You wouldn’t.

When we say no more immigrants, fuck the out group, it must not be said without the empathy to feel what that means… to be at the border denying the refugee family entry, to sending them back to the bombs or the hunger or the rape state.

It’s opinion – free to be held – to say fuck the immigrants, looking the human beings straight in the eye as you say it, OK about condemning them to possible death or civic slavery. Agree or disagree, it’s valid and not hypocritical.

What is invalid is glib cognitive dissonance, failure to be real, hiding in anonymous buck passing. No more immigrants is the vote, someone else deal with the faceless unknown refugees so I don’t need to face the human consequences. Because we know we can shortcut selfishness and cruelty by enough distance but it’s living in fantasy at best, enabling a base cowardice that does evil in reality.

Feel love. Imagine the unexpected explosion. Imagine loss. Consider what you’d do, before the bombs fell. Then be the refugee yourself and play out the scenario all the way to the border of safety; and being sent back to the warzone or the torture state.

Say fuck the immigrants by all means but not to the statistics or the caricature. Say it to the human beings. Know what it you do to their future. Let that be the side of your choice you value less than whatever is threatened by letting them into your land. It’ll make the choice real. It may not change it but it’ll make sure you don’t bullshit yourself or the world.

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