Sunday, November 4, 2018

Meme this

Whenever I surf Facebook to see what my friends are eating that day, or who's mad at the Eagles for not signing the next franchise running back, or to just smartass with my buds, I also find myself slogging through a quagmire of memes.

I generally don't pay much attention to memes. Most of them are well-meaning and usually reflect the sincerity of the sender, and that's OK. I'm just going to scroll past them because I am who I am and a meme isn't likely to make me a better person, even though the sincere sender might wish otherwise.

I'm approaching septaugenarism and pretty much set in my ways anyhow, I guess, so it's unlikely a meme is going to make much difference to me regardless.

But I also like clever stuff and a good meme should make you stop scrolling for a minute while you ponder the "Aha!" moment. I generally give each meme I see about two seconds to try and work its magic on me before I scroll on. Wordy memes especially get a quick pass.

But this past week, I came across two memes that really did the trick for me.

Here's the first one:

I think I've seen this one before, but given the perceived raised level of national bias against nearly everybody these days, I thought it was particularly effective.

And clever.

And irrefutable.

At this point I'm tempted to give my two cents worth, because it's my blog and I can say what I want (First Amendment, which I don't think can be cancelled by executive order). But I don't want this to become a sermon. I think the meme can speak for itself. That's the beauty of a good meme when it makes you think.

The second meme was this:

The current branch of Wehrle boys are fifth generation Germans. If Franz hadn't left Wilhelmshaven for Pennsylvania in 1862, it's likely I'd never have had a barbecue sandwich from the Barbecue Center.

I'd never have met Kim.

I might never have been me.

There's currently a rapidly shrinking caravan of Hondurans and Guatamalans approaching the southern U.S, border seeking asylum from oppressive governments and they've been turned into a political tool just in time for the U.S. midterm elections.

But it's not surprising.

Immigration has been a difficult and complicated issue in this country, well, almost forever. There's the forced immigration that was slavery, starting in the 1600s. The Great Migration followed shortly thereafter, bringing Germans, Irish and Italians, which didn't sit particularly well with the established xenophobes. During the Civil War, for example, non-English speaking Union German soldiers were reviled as "Flying Dutchmen" after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Irish "need not apply." Italians were criminals.

Chinese immigration didn't go particularly well on the west coast in the mid-1800s, even though the Chinese helped build a transcontinental railroad. During the Civil War. Let that one sink in. Fight a war, and meanwhile use immigrant labor to build infrastructure.

As late as 1939, a boat loaded with 900 Jewish asylum seekers fleeing Nazi persecution, the MS St. Louis, was refused entry to this country.

We like to think we're better than this. There's a statue in New York Harbor that says we are. Maybe we aren't.

Damn. I preached a sermon anyway.

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