The photo was haunting. It showed the tear-stained face of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, seen through the grill of a van as she sat waiting to be deported back to her native Mexico. Treated like a dangerous criminal. Hand-cuffed. Arrested. Caged.
Guadalupe had lived in this country undocumented since she was 14. She was allowed to stay as long as she reported yearly to immigration officials. She did this for 22 years. Apparently, under the new administration, it was not enough. The new administration insists that immigrants who have been charged with a criminal offense become a priority for deportation. Her crime? She used a fake social security number in order to find work.
She has two children, American citizens. And a husband, undocumented, but here. For now. The family has been wrenched apart. The so-called president does not care.
He gave the executive order for deportation saying it was needed “to ensure the public safety of the American people.” He doesn’t care one iota about our safety. Guadalupe was no threat to the safety of the American people. The so-called president and his minions are far more dangerous than she ever was.
Yet check-points and barriers have been set up and people are being “rounded up.” Check-points and barriers much like WWII. Nazis arresting innocent people. Going backward again.
Folk legend Woody Guthrie wrote a song in response and protest to the January 28, 1948 crash of a plane in California and to the way it was reported in the news. The plane carried 32 people, 4 Americans and 28 migrant farm workers who were being deported from California back to Mexico.
The names of all four Americans were listed in the papers and on the radio, but not one of the Mexican farm workers was named. The haunting refrain from the song is, “You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane, all they will call you will be ‘deportees.’”
The song continues: “They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.”
In today’s news, because of our so-called president, the immigrant workers are once again rounded up, chased like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves. Their only crime is in wanting to work and to support their families. To improve their lives.
All he will call them are just deportees.
Artwork by David Duckworth, graphite on paper, 9 x 12 in. For biography on author, please consult February 13, 2017 post.
Note: For current information about a book and film project documenting the lives of the unnamed in Guthrie’s song, please visit the following website to learn what Tim Z. Hernandez has done in this regard: https://timzhernandez.com/2016/01/28/all-they-will-call-you/
Lois Cantor. Post Election. Acrylic, collage and ribbon on canvas, 24 x 36 in.
This was NOT supposed to happen. He stood at one of the podiums, an orange-faced clown, a buffoon, pretending to be a Republican. We all thought he would be first to go, a laughing stock, crawling back to one of his golf course holes. Instead, he now sits in the White House, NOT OUR PRESIDENT, and does evil on a daily basis with the stroke of a pen. It seems to be the only part of the job he likes right now, signing stuff that undoes all the good that’s been done in past decades. He especially likes undoing the good that Obama, a REAL president did in eight years. How far back are we going, 1950’s, ‘60’s, 1984, as this scary clown and his minions act as Big Brother?
The morning after the sham that was the election we joined the rest of our neighborhood block out on the sidewalks in front of our houses. Some of us hugged, and more of us cried. We all worried.
Our newly-married neighbors, wife and wife, were in tears. Would their marriage be invalidated? Would they and all the other LGBTQ Americans lose their hard-fought-for rights? They worried.
The Jewish family across the street, recently returned from a year-long stay in Israel, worried about their religious freedom. And now a travel ban? Can they come and go as they’d like to over the next four years? They worried.
The African-American family down the block worried. Will the way they are treated morph back to the 50’s and 60’s, or even worse, to the horrific days of slavery? Would the matriarch lose her social security benefits? She worked hard for those, 40 years as a minority in a Sears store, being paid the minimum wage. Would her disabled daughter and granddaughter lose their medical insurance, hard-gained by the blessing that was Obamacare? They worried.
On that horrible haunted morning that was the Day after the Election, there were no smiles, no positive thoughts, certainly not a shred of hope for the future.
On that horrible haunted morning that was the Day after the Election, there was fear. And there was worry. Today is the third week since the inauguration. Americans everywhere are filled with more fear and worry that has oft been replaced by terror. Understandable. The person sitting in the White House pretending to be our president, the person undoing all our country’s good with every stroke of his pen, is mentally unstable to say the least. He is a bully, a name-caller, a blamer, someone who makes up his own fake news as he goes along. A liar and a cheat. A pussy-grabber. An evil man.
He is NOT MY PRESIDENT nor is he the president of anyone I know and care about. We are all worried.
Mari Bailey is a writer and Berkeley resident. Since her teenage years she has wanted to join in marches and protests (Vietnam War) but was stifled when these did not occur in sleepy Hilo, Hawaii where she grew up. So she used the power of words instead, writing essays and poetry for high school and college publications. Now, a California resident since the early eighties, she can attend rallies and participate in marches. However, she still values the power of words and has worked as a journalist, as well as published short stories and book-length adult and young adult fiction.
Lois Cantor, a Berkeley resident, grew up on the East Coast and spent several years in Italy. She received degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and Hartt College of Music. A child prodigy, she was a professional pianist until tendonitis ended her career several years ago. At that time she turned to composing electronic music as well as exploring computer art and painting. She has shows in several local venues including the Albany Library and El Cerrito City Hall. The work included here is on view at Expressions Gallery, Berkeley, through May 12, 2017.
“If you are part of Team Trump, you walk around with these gaping, seeping wounds every day…” – Kellyanne Conway on the media’s effect on “Team Trump”, January 29, 2017
Thanks to Marlene Duckworth for the inspiration.