The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has a chilling exhibit. Featured are the bags carried by Japanese to internment camps. These tickets, replicas of the actual ones which directed the people to one of seven camps, show how insensitively and how inhumanely the US Government dealt with people within our borders who had ties to a nation with whom we were at war.
The internment of Japanese during the 2nd World War was wrong. Treating those from Syria who would seek asylum or the 2,000 who have already been vetted the same way would be worse. Have we not learned that in addition to being the world’s policemen, we are a homeland for the oppressed. Our country has the resources to deal with its problems, just not the will. Revisit what we did. Look at the MSS St. Louis. We just need to be careful and the vetting needs to be smartly done. But our borders should remain open to those who need our protection and to those who want to become part of a nation with a conscience.
I used to walk on the bike path abutting Lake Champlain. Seagulls screamed. And occasional rodent looking creature would wander by. The sky changed. The Adirondacks, too, adjusted their colors. But, by and large, the Lake stayed the same, except for some ice and waves. Underneath its surface, boats lay. People fished, but pollution and invasive species had driven out eatable fish
Now I walk at Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee – National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a swamp walk and a marsh trail. People bike and walk. You can rent canoes or take a tour on a boat. Butterflies flutter. Birds flyby. When its cool and they are hungry, gators surface. Invasive plants have taken over here, too. And golf courses have robbed the place of water needed to support fish life which would bring more birds by.
I’m learning to love it. Swamps seem dead. Monotone in tone, except for some green ferns, brown trees and azure algae, they offer little contrast and no colors of deep emotion or bright feeling. Everything below seems dead or dying. Scat of different sizes, shapes and color lays around. Light flutters, every once in a while, peeking between limbs, bouncing off leaves made shiny by morning dew or their natural enamels. Frogs chirp, the male ones advertising for mates. Little birds fly through narrow spaces. Spiders make webs, hoping to snag a meal. Things live. Things die. It smells. Nothing spectacular or exciting, except the nature.
Just another one of fables spun in the criminal justice system. Enter the Courtroom. Uniforms all around. Flags. Mottos. Prosecutor on one side; representative of the accused on the other. Family and friends fill the pews, separated like at weddings by whose side they are on. Dress up the accused. Tell him to keep his head down and look humble. Offer up some evidence to get out fast with no bail. Cops need cooperators. Prosecutors decide who’s more badder. He walks. If not, hire a good lawyer or get an experienced legal aid/assigned counsel. They all know the rules, the system and the people who ok the deals. Post the bail or claim a dog or a kid would be left unattended. Throw in some social service and probation officers as a choir. If he does what we say, he will be fine.Deferred. Conditions. Programming. And the Judge leads the service, offering encouragement, as if that will make a difference, praying the defendant will not come back to court and they will. But there are no jobs. Retelling why you did drugs loses its flavor like gum left on the bedpost overnight. Old feuds remain unreadable, like the Civil War and Viet Nam. If something goes wrong, a complainant in a DV case gets killed or a police officer, the system has a former newsperson who will make it all go away, protecting the Judge’s decision, putting blame on the people involved for not telling the whole story (which would not have made any difference), unless the Judge happened to be me. We can only hope it doesn’t happen again, but there are so many untimed bombs out there, it is inevitable.
It’s all about time. Drug laws disgrace justice. They have ruined families, eliminated Constitutional Rights, and created industries which contribute little to the public good. Releasing people from senseless incarceration and focusing on the real needs of the community will make the country and the world safer and more comfortable.
Why do people buy drugs? Why do people sell drugs? Only way to stop the use of drugs is to figure out why people use drugs. But to put people in jail for being involved with drugs has been a failed public policy, beginning with the Harrison Act. May Anslinger rot in hell. Rockefeller started his policy with treatment, until he wanted to be President. Then he created the most draconian system since Roman times. No one looked ahead. All were believers.
Bring on Nixon and the war on drugs, sentencing guidelines spotlighting crack and then doctors overprescribing pills. What have you got? A lot of people living in jail, treated as slaves, missing training, education and gains in health care.
Keeps a lot of lawyers in business. A lot of Judges on the bench. Prosecutors have bigger staffs. And then there are the jailers and the service providers. Drug laws are a jobs program.
Jews begin their holidays with fishes. Lox, gefilte fish, sable and whitefish. Merge them with a bagel, a real bagel, not some ersatz one, a schmere, and I rejoin my ancestors for a breakfast, just like they did. Sadly, Glick’s follows some silly Orthodox led decision that sturgeon isn’t kosher, so, despite being a Conservative Jew (not an Conservative American Jew) I am deprived of a taste of one of my favorite undersea delicacies. The fishes which remain will do, but not quite.
It’s like a double mitzvah to eat fishes. God gave us fish and the holiday. We get to eat, atone and move 0n with the New Year, hopefully after being written into the book of life. This year we are saddened by the loss of some who made our lives more understandable: Oliver Sacks, Philosopher/Brain Explorer and Daniel Thompson,Bagel Maker. I will light candles for both.
So, always good to leave the world better than you found it, however you do it. Don Featherstone, a man whose name you don’t know, did. His art graces lawns from here to everywhere, unless you live in a gated community where uniformity trumps art. You see the plastic forms and without knowing why, you feel better about life. And, we owe the feeling to some guy who, one day, sitting at work, in a plastics factory, far away from the Everglades, but obviously close to Wonderland, created a flamingo.
My Father died on Father’s Day. He’d been sick for a long while. I was a kid. Didn’t get to know him all that well, though people said I looked and acted just like him. Bought him a present to give him when he came back from the hospital. Don’t remember what I bought him or what I did with it. Don’t have many images of him. I can see myself in his eyes. He wouldda loved Sharon.
So, we went to Paris for a month. Planned a while ago, we just wanted to hang out, not jump from a Viking River Boat or a bus. Rented a pied a terre in the Marais, the traditional inner city home for France’s Jewish population. We found it alive and vibrant, not hidden and Jews not afraid.
Now, that’s not to say they publicize their home. Doors and windows don’t have any Jewish images – no stars, no tablets, no lions or lambs.
You can still wrap with a Lubovich, rebbe in training.
And, you can buy falafel, if you can figure out who has the best and are willing to stand in line and eat standing up.
So, twofer, today. Two people whose art shaped my life in different ways died. One a musician. The other an actor. I borrowed these images from the NYT today, loving them as they show the people as old men. As I look at their pictures, I can hear them performing. Their works will live forever, even if they couldn’t.
With the attacks on Jews in France on the rise and evidence of traditional anti-semitism rearing its ugly head, how pleasant to be stopped on the street by a Lubovicher from Crown Heights. We wrapped and rapped. He took us to the shul where we met a young rabbi in training who lives nearby in South Florida. Good Shabbos to all.
No fear on the street. Many Jews. Falafel.
And an old woman who knows everything.