Look

I’ve often argued that if people would only look at the way animals are treated in CAFOs, then factory farming would die.  I’m convinced that by and large people are compassionate enough that they would refuse to contribute to the profits of such operations if they had seen with their own eyes what goes on in them.  Sophie commented here recently that the photo of the caged pigs that we used in our presentation at Wild Goose should be put on packages of supermarket factory pork.  The fact that such seeing pictures like that would cause people to not buy meat from factory-raised animals is the principal reason several Big Ag states have gone so far as to outlaw taking them.

I thought of this when I read this post yesterday by Dr. Alice Locicero on engagingpeace.com concerning the children from Central America who are fleeing to the United States these days.

She writes:

…the media has stopped reporting on the large number of Americans who have offered to help these children, and who would open their homes and communities to them. And the President refused to go to the border. No official has visited the shelters where these children are being kept. Why?

My hunch is that because as soon as Americans see these children, there will be an outcry against sending them back. I know that Americans are capable and very willing to help children. Strangers are, have been, and will continue to be, kind.

The media and the government have to get out of the way of ordinary Americans, and let them help these desperate children.

This strikes me as correct.  Maybe I’m a pollyanna, but I choose to believe that we are by and large compassionate and kindhearted people.  If we put faces on these children–if we actually look at them–I choose to believe we’d choose to help and welcome them, rather than deport them.

17 comments on “Look

  1. Jeff says:

    The media and the government have to get out of the way of ordinary Americans, and let them help these desperate children.

    Ah, but that’s the problem. The media and the government are working hand-in-hand to conceal the reason why the kids are fleeing in the first place: social chaos brought about by multi-national corporations stealing land and resources in Central America and denying the parents of the children the means to make a living. It would never do for people to make the connection between profits and exploitation, now, would it? What’s the difference between crated pigs and peasants in Central America? Not much. Profits first and life (and everything else) be damned. Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Look at who is profiting in Central America (it’s not just American corporations – it’s Canadian mining companies, Chinese companies and the Central American elite, too) and then look at the chaos being caused – those are the losses being socialized, on our backs. The drug gangs are all about the little people (who are being exploited by the drug barons) making a buck amidst the chaos – just like in the ghettos in this country. It’s all about capitalism, folks. The finest economic system ever devised, according to its apologists, who, of course, are profiting from it.

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  2. Jeff’s response is accurate and eye opening … and this morning I read where the KKK has called for the murder of these children and to leave their bodies at the border … as a country we have lost our moral compass …

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    • Jeff says:

      The origins of the KKK makes for very interesting reading. Once you understand how the KKK came to be, you’ll understand their stance on immigration: it’s all about preserving the place of those who belong to the KKK in the social hierarchy – higher than people of color. The threat you refer to differs not at all from what they’ve done ever since the KKK was formed after the end of the Civil War.

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    • Bill says:

      We are a nation of immigrants with a long history of hostility and suspicion towards the newest immigrants. Think of all the ugliness our country directed to the Irish immigrants of the 19th century. But now we wear t-shirts that say “Kiss me I’m Irish.”

      It hurts my heart to see how mean some of us can be. And not just the Klan, which is marginalized and irrelevant, but everyday normal humans who are probably good to those they know and love. I’m absolutely certain that their hostility is a result of separation. I’m convinced that if that actually got to know these kids, they’d welcome them.

      Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t want to be in a world that isn’t at least that kind.

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  3. Bill, I would like to think that the core of our country is still compassionate, kind, and willing to help in dire situations. When disaster strikes in different parts of the country, willingness to help overwhelms the area. So many people arrive to help that it’s difficult to get it organized. Extremist groups and organizations have and will always get most of the media attention. I’m not sure what we should do as about the illegal immigration that’s happening on our southern border. Conversations are extreme on both sides of the issue. Our governor here in Nebraska was really upset at the knowledge that some of the border children were sent to Nebraska. It wasn’t because they were sent here but it was because they were sent on the sly without telling anyone including the Governor about it and that the Feds wouldn’t release any information about where they were placed. I never did hear where they were sent or who is caring for them. The news coverage just kind of stopped. Something’s very wrong when it’s done in secret. I am beginning to suspect there’s more to the mass migration of children than meets the eye. At the same time I think we are past the point of just sending them back.

    I am seeing a new view of Capitalism because of Jeff’s comments here on this blog. It’s hard to imagine what the world would look like without it. Profits have indeed fueled the markets with an over abundance of stuff that’s a want and not a need. I’m not sure what could replace it that would be better. It’s really impossible to not support capitalism even in some small way. I for one am not ready to go totally off the grid back to pioneer living.

    Have a great day educating people in big Ag animal cruelty.

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    • Jeff says:

      I think the idea of talking about having to go back to “off the grid … pioneer living” has a bit of a fear factor built into it as a way of stating that there is no alternative to capitalism. There are alternatives and Bill is demonstrating one possibility. There are plenty of others. I don’t have an answer to what could replace capitalism, but you are right, it is impossible, in a capitalist world, to not “support [it] even in some small way.” One crucial change that occurred in the 15th century (or at least started then) was the co-optation of Christianity by capitalism. Max Weber wrote about it in his book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. When enough Christians come to understand that Christianity and capitalism are incompatible, then we may see some changes come about. Capitalism is amoral and thus immoral. When Christians who pride themselves on living a moral life arrive at the point where they start closely examining their own morality, they will realize that they cannot claim to be moral persons and still be capitalists. I do think that Wendell Berry would agree with me on this point.

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      • Jeff, your view point about Capitalism and Christian morality is interesting. I’m going to have to think about that one for a while. I agree that Bill is an example of one possibility to minimize participating in Capitalism. The best I can do is to live as simply as I can, buy as local as I can, and grow as much as I can. Each year that goes by, I get a little better in each area.

        Thanks for always making me think about and evaluate what my beliefs are and consider why I believe them.

        Have a great morally right day.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right Dave. Americans are extraordinarily compassionate people and we’ve proven that time and time again.

      In those instances where we have fallen short of our ideals, I believe it’s because we haven’t separated the human beings involved from some concept or ideology or political issue. So for example if instead of seeing these children as “illegal immigrants” or “drug mules” or “gang members” we saw them as Miguel, Maria or Jesus, then our response would be totally different. All I’m saying here is that it would help to have a look at their faces. I trust Americans to do the right thing after that.

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  4. ain't for city gals says:

    It all seems overwhelming at times to me….

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    • Bill says:

      To me too. But I believe everything is interconnected. So when we do our best in the world around us, we’re part of overcoming all these other problems too. How can we stop the injustice in Guatemala? To start with, we can weed our gardens.

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      • ain't for city gals says:

        I agree…we can still try to help the world….sometimes we just make our world smaller for a minute.

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  5. EllaDee says:

    I agree, people when fiven the opportunity to be so are largely compassionate, kindhearted and generous & fair.
    We face similar with attitudes to asylum seekers to Australia which the government and media paint a mass picture then perpetuated by the public who believe what they see and read in the media, than I and others have personally experienced when volunteering with asylum seeker programs and individuals.
    I recently watched a BBC River Cottage TV episode on ethically raised rose veal as opposed to factory farmed milk veal, which is rightfully shunned by many. The host of the program, and the audience were unaware of the scope of veal alternatives and hadn’t seen ethical rose veal farming in action.

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    • Bill says:

      The internet allows us to take the dissemination of information out of the hands of the establishment media. We are conditioned to certain beliefs. But now we aren’t bound to being conditioned only by those who the government licenses for that purpose.

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  6. Agree with so much being discussed here about what’s causing children to flee their countries, the role of corporate media, and the potential effect of ordinary loving kindness. I searched across the web to find a way my family can host several of these children, yes for years if necessary, yes to a whole family (thanks to bedrooms vacated by our college kids). My husband and I have hosted before. The only agency we could find took our application. After several weeks we were informed that no refugees were being placed in our geographic area. Zero.

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    • Bill says:

      I’m convinced that there are enough kind and compassionate people like you to care for these children. It’s sad to see them become fodder for political attacks. It saddens me too to know that so many unescorted minors are being deported. Blessings on you and your husband for your kindness and good hearts. Love will prevail.

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