This week was a whirlwind of media calling and emailing to ask to speak to someone about refugee resettlement, after governors across the country made statements about not wanting to welcome refugees to their states.
Since Sunday afternoon, when I was at the mall with my girls ducking in and out of Urban Outfitters and Athleta, and eating in the food court, I coordinated interviews on behalf of my biggest client to make sure they had the voice on refugee resettlement.
We had great exposure. And my media relationships proved effective and respectful.
But I’ve also realized a few things…
First, we bash others a lot. All of us do it. We point fingers, we grab a single sentence and assume the world from it, we blame and refute and stamp our feet.
And it’s not worth it. It’s not even nice. Governors made statements that, sure, probably helped them politically, but I am going to assume that their statements came from a desire to protect their constituents.
Because whether you are Democrat or Republican, I think we can agree that anyone seeking public office does so because they believe they can make a difference. I believe that almost all politicians sign up for these incredibly difficult jobs because they want desperately to make a change and help people.
We get too stuck in the rhetoric, you see. The opposite party doesn’t seek the destruction of civilization. They seek to lead in a meaningful way. And we have to understand the statements, even statements based on fear, that come from a desire to do good.
Secondly, the news, of which I have been a part for a very long time, is quick and it’s old. Meaning, everything reported in today’s paper is already over. Done. Happened yesterday or last week or last year.
That confounds me. Especially because much of what is reported tends toward the negative rather than the positive.
I’ve been thinking I should start a magazine called The Good News. We’d write stories and take pictures about happy happenings. Nice people. Friendly families. Neighborhoods working together.
I would love to work on such a project (though I know publishing is a losing field financially these days), and I know we would be inundated with content.
Because there is so much good news everywhere we look.
People helping others. Friendly smiles offered to strangers you pass on the street. Generosity and contribution and a desire to do the right thing.
It’s just a question of whether we choose to see the good or we prefer to see the bad.
While I believe our country should welcome as many refugees as we can, after going through our rigorous screening process, I also understand the reflex to be afraid. Last week’s attacks were horrific.
In two days time, I am taking my children to the fraught Middle East. I’ve been to Israel many times before. It is my favorite place in the world, as it is the seat of origin for three of the world’s major religions, and I’ve always felt safest there, too.
But it’s not a place at peace. Far from it. And because it is the origin for Judaism, Christianity AND Islam, it is a place where, yes, people hold hands in unity and also where they wield guns in hatred.
On the same streets.
I’ve never felt unsafe walking along the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv – even when bus bombings were frequent. This time, though, I may be more cautious. After all, my three precious children are with me. And because of recent reports of angry stabbings, I might have to adopt a more cautious approach.
It’s not because I make assumptions that all Arabs are out to kill me. I don’t believe that. I just have to weigh and measure the chances of hurt with the brilliance of the place.
I am sure Governor Snyder regrets being the first governor to make a statement about refusing refugees to Michigan. Because that simple statement, which I’m sure came from his heart and a desire to help his people, has fueled a week’s worth of round-the-clock, inciteful and insightful media intensity that may not contribute to the beauty of this season.
Next week is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. The day when all Americans sit down to table to show gratitude for our freedom.
The characteristics we have as Americans are coveted the world over. Some people, like ISIS terrorists, may hate us for it, but this place is a beacon of hope and right for all the world. And I pray we never forget that.