Before I came to college, before I became interested in social justice and the plight of people who had so little and needed so much compassion, I did have some soft spots. I was not completely heartless.
There were specifically two types of people that I could not stand to see made fun of or intolerated in any way, and these were the elderly and immigrants. At the time I never felt like there was necessarily anything I wanted to do to help alleviate these prejudices. I just knew that it made me feel all squirmy and painful inside when I saw acts of injustice directed at the displaced or the elderly.
So, college came and went and I saw my heart open to scores of others affected by injustice. But today, I saw two instances that brought me right back to times of utter anger and squirminess inside my being.
I was at the bank and an old man at the teller right next to me was telling the bank employee that he had $8 in his savings account and he needed $5 to take out in order to have dinner. He said that his social security would come in tomorrow, but until then, he was living quite meagerly. It absolutely broke my heart. I felt irrepressible anger at the way our country treats the elderly. It seemed so unfair and unjust.
Then while at work, I read an article about a town in Mississippi that decided to take immigration matters into its own hands. Mississippi passed a law with harsh penalties for companies tha knowingly employ undocumented workers (Business Week). This law is going beyond treating immigrants without dignity, it is going as low as firing workers who are Latino because they might be undocumented. It's just so maddening, this whole immigration fight. It is, in its essence, wholly unjust and undignified. This is a nation of immigrants, it always will be.
It's utter bullshit to treat either of these groups with anything less than the dignity they deserve.