"In the end, endurance sports are a test of yourself against yourself; they require nobody else, and sometimes they can hardly tolerate anyone else." -Bill McKibben, "Long Distance"I've spent the past few weeks (months?) thinking a lot of myself. Yes, by cloaking this 100+-mile challenge as a fundraiser for four charities, I have essentially insulated myself a bit from otherwise valid charges of self-indulgence, self-centeredness, and self-congratulation. But, if I'm being completely honest, I'm doing this because I want to do it, to test myself, to see where my limits lie, and - if it goes well enough - to bask in the glory of the achievement of completing 100 hilly miles on foot. If things unfold in a reasonably positive way, this will turn out to be THE RUN OF MY LIFE.
But . . . my thoughts are not completely focused on my own navel. In addition to my wife, my children, and my clients, my thoughts keep turning to the worsening crisis at the U.S. southern border. The crisis where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children whom have fled violence-ravaged parts of Central America are streaming into the United States in order to have a chance to live. Largely, their parents have done what loving parents do: they have sought to protect their precious children by any means necessary. And yet, in this day of political polarization, shameless demagoguery, and fact-bereft ignorance, we cannot even seem to see this problem for the humanitarian crisis that it is. Even Glenn Beck sees hurting children in need. The response from his "constituency" when he went to help them? Threats. How did we get to this hardened, punitive place?
While there is room for reasoned debate as to how we might reform our immigration laws and policy as a whole, there should be little disagreement about what to do with these children. We should take them in, give them immigration/asylum hearings, and allow our flawed-but-still-workable legal process to sort it all out. Instead, we get a political blame-game, with misinformation fueling unfounded fear and misguided anger. I won't get into the details here, but will offer this photo meme for consideration:
As I wrote on my firm's Facebook page:
At its essence, the reason we have the humanitarian crisis at the southern border is because some people in the world still view us models of freedom, peace and opportunity ... read this article about what they're fleeing, and then answer this question: Are we going to prove them right?
So, along with supporting legal services for the poor, public broadcasting, cancer research, and spinal cord injury services, I will also maintain the perspective that - when all is said and done - I'll merely be on a recreational journey within an organized race, amongst other like-minded athletes, and with the support of a wonderful crew. But, when it gets particularly tough, when it hurts, when the doubts are poised to dethrone my determination . . . I will think of these children, whose plight involves something so much more serious and dangerous, and who - unlike me - are in a RUN FOR THEIR LIVES.
Thanks for reading. -Ron