Sunday, January 29, 2017

Taking a Break from Baseball

I need to take a little break from baseball. I'll be back at some point before the season starts, but for some reason, it just doesn't seem very important to me right now.


Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

- Emma Lazarus

I sang those words in my college chorus with a moist eye. Irving Berlin put those words, etched at the base of the Statue of Liberty, to music. Berlin is probably known by most young people, if he is known at all, for writing the wonderful holiday classic, "White Christmas." He also wrote a song that we sing pretty much every Sunday at every baseball game in the United States of America. He wrote "God Bless America."

Berlin was born in Russia and was of Jewish heritage so the fact that he gave us both a Christmas classic and a patriotic standard should be of particular note. He was a refugee who embraced this country and enriched it with his talent and his patriotism. He loved the country that saved his family from the anti-Jewish pograms of late 19th century Russia.

Most immigrants to this country, including refugees from repressive regimes and war-torn countries, come here for a new life, a new start. Most embrace that opportunity and become model citizens. My own family came here from Denmark in the 1890's and lived in a cave in South Dakota while they built their first home with their own hands. I am forever thankful that this country gave my family that opportunity.

Prior to this weekend, it was incredibly hard and time-consuming to get into the United States under refugee status. I support that. It shouldn't be easy. But that's not what this is about. This is about government overreach and religious intolerance masquerading as national security. It's about demonizing Muslims from seven countries THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9-11 while ignoring the countries that were hosting and providing support to Al Qaeda. It is about a poorly conceived executive order that has caused legal permanent residents of this country to be detained without legal representation and those holding LEGALLY OBTAINED visas and green cards to be banned from boarding flights back to the United States. Even those with dual citizenships are at risk.

I keep thinking about Omran Daqneesh, a Syrian child pulled from the rubble of his home in Allepo. According to the last figures I could find, 58% of the Syrian refugees admitted to this country were children like Omran. And my country just said that Omran isn't welcome.

Yeah, for some reason, I'm just not feeling it for baseball right now. See you on the streets.