Facing Our Demons

Let’s call it what it is: illegal and inhuman. More than 2.4 million migrants have been turned away under Title 42 since 2020. According to US Customs and Border Patrol these individuals are seeking humanitarian protection.  The recent Supreme Court decision to allow the continuance of Title 42 is in blatant disregard of human rights and a violation of International Law.

In the guise of a public health measure we have once again turned our backs on migrants fleeing poverty and violence. And we have allowed a right leaning court to uphold a pandemic health excuse to keep human beings in dire situations and in freezing weather at our border. Judges Gorsuch and Jackson articulated their dissent and in clear terms explained that this should not be in the courts domain; rather it is up to legislators to create avenues that support migrants seeking asylum. 

That’s the rub, isn’t it? To get legislators to agree on a subject that will force them to unravel the racial biases that still dominate. There are legal and just ways to bring migrants seeking asylum into this country. Ukraine and Afghan refugees can attest to this.  But let us not forget the photos of immigration enforcement on horseback rounding up Haitians to be deported. There were 20,000 Haitians deported in five months, and all under Biden’s watch. 

Title 42 is an immigration enforcement tool. And we, as a country, should be ashamed.  Instead, we make a wish for peace and celebrate the glories of a new year while in our name horrible racist and inhuman acts continue. 

We pride ourselves on an exceptionalism that we have never earned.

May we become the humans that we are capable of being.

photo: creative commons licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0


According to Google, mentions of the word compassion are on the upswing. Not nearly as heavily used as in the early 1800’s but definitely reversing the downward trend of the 20th century. We are mentioning the word compassion with a bit more frequency.

I found this out by researching the word. The Latin root means “to suffer with”, which is a far cry from the modern definition of feeling “sympathetic pity”.

Pity is a rather aloof concept, locked in the chambers of the mind. It implies a distance from the object being pitied. I rather resonate with “to suffer with”. It requires interconnection.

All this contemplation of compassion began as I walked my twelve year-old sheep back to the barn. It is our nightly ritual now.  Our slow methodic steps, listening to the creaking of her arthritic hips; I do not pity her. I am witness to her effort to live, to socialize with the others as best she can, to relish the apples and corn in the morning, to bask in the warmth still afforded on these fall days. And in the evening to join me as we take our leisurely stroll back to the barn.

I do not pity her. We are the same. I enjoy, as she does, the sweetness of life. And I recognize my own aging in hers. I learn from her. My caring for her comes from our mutual kinship, not from some separate ideal of what I should do or how I should be.

Compassion must surely spring from this knowing, this reverence, and this kinship with life. If I must have pity I will hold it for those who have forgotten how to feel. 

Thankfully compassion is palpable and can grow with care and understanding… 

May the awareness of compassion continue to rise.  

This piece is dedicated to my mother, Antoinette (Mignanelli) Eakles who would have celebrated her birthday on October 11. Through hardships and sorrow, through joy and understanding she grew her compassionate heart. I am happy to follow that lead.