Trump has won the fight to be the Republican candidate for President. The prospect of a Trump presidency is at once exciting and terrifying. He appears to be cut from different cloth than our Washington politicians but he is also quite unknown as to how he would handle the office.
Two anecdotes about where we have come from and where we may be going. Trump has made much hoop-la about deporting eleven million, mostly Hispanic, illegal immigrants and about building a wall to keep them out and to discourage any others who might think to come here without permission.
My daughter relayed an incident from school involving my ten year old, fourth grade, granddaughter. One of my granddaughter’s friends is from a Latino family. I would doubt she’s Mexican, only because they are few in our Town. She is most likely legal as we live in a rather well off suburb and it would be hard to maintain this level of economic life without papers.
There was a playground spat where my granddaughter’s friend was accosted by another girl. In the midst of arguing the other girl told my granddaughter’s friend to just wait as Mr. Trump was building a wall and he will put you and your family on the other side and you will never be able to come back. My granddaughter, apparently from our doing something right, came to her friend’s defense by telling the offending child that she was a racist and then marching to the office to inform the principal of the awful remarks. This apparently resulted in the “racist” child having to spend some time with the principal so she could be instructed as to politically correct playground taunts. My daughter was quite proud of her daughter and, while I usually am not a fan of political correctness, I am totally opposed to intentional cruelty.
The whole incident brought me back to another story, time and place while reminding me that we have not progressed as far as we may believe.
My mother was approximately ten years old when the United States entered World War II. My grandparents were Polish immigrants, although I believe they had become citizens by the beginning of the War. It was bad enough before America entered the War. There were graphic newspaper and news reel reports about what the German army was doing to Poland and communication with relatives and friends had been lost since the beginning of the war.
That was pretty much all I was told about my mother’s family’s experience of the War days while I was growing up. As part of a school project one of my daughters had to interview someone who had lived through the war. My daughter decided to interview my mother.
My mother spoke to my daughter at length about the fear in the Polish community after Germany declared war on the United States. The military was feverishly interning Japanese immigrants on the west coast. In did not matter if you were a citizen. Even Japanese born here were being interned. The Poles were afraid they may be next. After all Poland was now part of Germany and Germany was now the enemy. There had been rumors about what was happening in the German camps. No one knew what would happen in the American detention system.
I suddenly saw my mother in an entirely new light. To think of her going to bed at night, as a child, wondering if soldiers would force their way in to carry her, her sister and parents off to prison. My mother was apparently traumatized enough by the times to never speak about this to me, my brother and my sister.
I often think of the ten year olds among the eleven million. I wonder how they are sleeping at night.