On My Mind (Vol. 5)

I guess since I mentioned Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and his highly-anticipated immigration policy speech in my own immigration spiel yesterday, I should start with that speech today. Except I don’t really know what to say about it.
I’ve read the transcript, but despite the all those wobbles last week and all that excited chatter that Trump’s speech might point his campaign in a new direction… I just don’t see it.
Trump’s speech seemed perfectly in line with the theme he’s touted throughout his campaign: illegal immigrants are dangerous and they are unlike us, so we’d better build a wall to keep them out or we won’t have a country. Nothing new. I didn’t see anything fundamentally different in what he said last night. Did you?
I keep seeing and hearing little news blips lately on how behind Donald Trump is with Catholics. I mostly don’t get too wrapped up in the perennial discussion about the Catholic vote because Catholics tend to be less a distinct, monolithic bloc and more a diverse hodgepodge that’s pretty well representative of the country as a whole. But this year may be shaping up differently.
Honestly, I find that kind of fascinating. And also… I don’t know… affirming, maybe? We keep hearing that we shouldn’t try to gauge public opinion by referencing our own experiences on social media (since people seem to operate mostly within like-minded bubbles). But I’m seeing an awful lot of dissatisfaction with Mr. Trump. And though I’d thought of my own bubble (which is primarily made up of Catholic, church-going, college-educated, conservative moms) as pretty small, it seems like maybe it’s more representative of broader Catholic opinion than I’d expected. Interesting.
One more point on the Trump/Catholics thing:
Nearly every time I get into a discussion with fellow Catholics on the conundrum of this year’s election, somebody brings up the Supreme Court. “But the Supreme Court! Trump’s our only chance of getting pro-life justices!” It’s a fair point. I understand why people are so wrapped up in the idea.
But this morning while reading Trump’s immigration speech, I noticed a few mentions of the Supreme Court and it occurred to me – when was the last time Mr. Trump referenced Supreme Court appointments in relation to the abortion question? All of his references to the Court that I’ve seen or heard of lately are in relation to the second amendment. Is it just pro-lifers who are talking about Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees as being pro-life, or is Trump talking about it too?
I feel like I should have something to say here about Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry. The thing about a prominent personality who likes to dominate the news cycle is – he often dominates the news cycle.
A pair of five-day-old, premature twins were, with their mother, just a few of the more than 10,000 would-be refugees who have been rescued in the Mediterranean in the past few days. I have had four babies. I know how it feels to be five days past delivery, exhausted and hurting and hungry and bleeding. I cannot imagine feeling like I had to make the decision that that mother did. I just cannot imagine.
Thinking of that mother and her babies, trying to put myself in their places and in the places of the people I wrote about in my immigration post, leads me to remember my husband’s family’s immigration to this country.
My husband’s grandfather emigrated from Ireland in the 1920s. He was one of ten children born to a rural family of modest means. I presume his mother (my husband’s great-grandmother) was in her twenties when she delivered her first child. I know she was in her fifties when she delivered her last. That adds up to some thirty years between the family’s eldest and youngest children at a time when a great number of people left Ireland every year. And all but three of those children were among that number.
So Brennan’s great-grandmother never saw all ten of her children in one place. She never met most of her grandchildren. Her oldest and youngest children never even met each other until the youngest had grown into adulthood and followed his siblings to the United States. That’s what those circumstances and the migration it triggers do to families. They do more than make families go through trials and hardships; they often make family members unknown to each other.
I had a sad but beautiful little exchange with my six-year-old son the other evening, courtesy of my almost-all-day-every-day NPR listening habit. While I was driving, my boy spotted a bug in the car and I told him that I’d seen a mosquito. “Is that mosquito virus here yet?” he asked.
“Mosquito virus? Do you mean Zika?”
He did.
“Well, it’s here in the United States,” I told him. “But it’s not here in our area. It’s in Florida.”
“Oh, that’s too bad for the babies there. There will be a lot of babies dying in their mommies’ tummies.”
Most people would probably be appalled to know that my six-year-old was thinking of such things. I’ll admit to feeling a little guilty about it. But mostly, I just felt proud. My boy is paying attention. He’s understanding. He’s asking questions. He’s caring. And he wrapped up our conversation by suggesting that we pray for the babies.
“God, please take care of the babies in their mommies’ tummies. Please keep them from getting the mosquito virus. That’s all.”
That’s all.

(I’m linking up with Kelly of This Ain’t The Lyceum for this week’s 7 Quick Takes. Come Friday, be sure to stop by her place to see what she and the other 7-Quick-Taking crowd have been up to.)

Interested in coming along with me as I chew on politics, current events, and faithful citizenship? Like The Space Between’s Facebook page. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram and you can find me at my personal blog, These Walls.


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