“Imagine all the people living life in peace…” Imagine, by John Lennon
My husband and I just returned from a beautiful vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico. It was gifted to us by his company as it was to all the top 2015 sales winners. Though Pete and I are not resort enthusiasts as our idea of a good time is being anywhere in untamed nature that has nothing to do with Piña Coladas and people, we were still grateful for the rare time-out together at the edge of the azure Sea of Cortez.
The colors of oceany blues—teals and lapis and cobalt—played with our senses to the point of veritable hypnosis. The fresh sea scents and gentle sounds of waves wherever you inhaled and slumped into a boneless heap of “what-the-hell” and simply gave into the luxury of decadence and beauty—all of it was truly a gift from the gods. And of course, Pete’s company.
There were so many images that reverberated for me during that Cabo Paradise but what has stayed with me the most to talk about today is the beauty and grace and warmth of the Mexican people themselves. I’ve always loved the Latin culture for its kindness, passion, artistry, their love of family and so much more. I couldn’t help but notice during my time spent unwinding that these people smile from their soul. In fact, so many of them would greet us with a cheerful, “Ola!” or “Welcome!” and then touch their hearts. It moved me.
I loved their music. Their striking beauty. The way the staff would relate to each other—laughing, speaking in animated conversations, working together as peacefully as the surrounding sea. There were no sharp edges to them. They reflected the cadence of their land. And I knew that life wasn’t easy for most of them. It wasn’t that long ago that I, too, was a server working along beside these splendid people who made the work—and the inequities of catering to the privileged—so much easier. In Cabo, we discovered that the average salary of most of the workers came to a little over $4.00 an hour. And yet many of them expressed gratitude to be working at the resort even though it was, for many of them far away from their own homes.
And there was more. Surrounding the entire resort region were the most beautiful walls. Hand-crafted out of stone, they were carved piece-by-piece from talented Mexican artisans. Large stones and small melded into undulating barriers protecting the guests from the natural rubble and desert sands behind them; walls of art work that were so subtle in their presence that their tans and browns never detracted from the heartbeat of this breathtaking place. It was sculpted artistry by Mexican artists we would never know.
And as we admired such beauty, Pete and I couldn’t help think about that other wall that Trump trumps in his bombastic rhetoric of bile and bluster. The wall to isolate these beautiful people from all of us. How dare this insecure, arrogant moron—a despicable impersonator of strength and knowledge of anything—deign to think of such a cruel act? Even worse, who are these people who are following him blindly in the name of “Keeping America Great?” Do they really believe that we need such a horrendous wall to target an entire country with a finger-pointing rage of scape-goatism at its vilest? Of course we need to design a system to screen killers and terrorists like we need to do for all people. But to even think of creating a wall to violate so many innocent men, women and children in the name of fear is beyond words.
In the 1930s and 40s, one Adolph Hitler stirred up the exact kind of vitriol in his fervor for power and need to ethnically cleanse Germany and ultimately all of Europe of Jews, people of color, homosexuals, Gypsies, political activists, the disabled, on and on and on. In time, over 6 million Jews and millions more were destroyed in Hitler’s Holocaust. But he didn’t do it alone. His Nazi followers did the deeds orchestrated by the Master Demon himself. He couldn’t have done what he did without the masses of monsters that goose-stepped to his every command. In the sixties there was a popular saying, “Imagine there was a war and nobody came?” I loved that. Bullies need a crowd to fuel their hatred.
The Italian Renaissance historian, writer, politician, Machiavelli, advised this, “If your people are dissatisfied, pick out a group among them and treat it so badly that the others will find their lot endurable by comparison.”
Hitler took it further when he said this, “People need to have good healthy fear in them. They even want to be afraid of something. They want someone to make them afraid so that they can shudderingly submit themselves to a protector. Why do you chatter about cruelty and get excited about pain? That’s what the masses want. They need something to shiver about.”
And so into the ovens were eliminated generations of brilliant minds. Scientists. Doctors. Musicians. Poets. Writers. Architects. Teachers. Artisans. Entire villages. Loving families. On and on –men, women, and children, most of them Jewish, all of them innocent of nothing more than being besieged by a fear-mongering monster who hated them for what he never had. Heart.
Today when I contemplate that treasured Cabo vacation, I think of these beautiful Mexican people who are so very essential to the vibrant tapestry of what truly makes America great, for they, too are our hope to add to generations of brilliance and music and science and art and most of all heart. If we wall these people out, or send them away, we wall ourselves into a morass of misery and ignorance that we deserve if we follow that monster into hell. He must not win. EVER. Or we all lose.
“We cannot change what happened any more. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.” – Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank.