KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Thursday, December 31, 2015

On Yellow Journalism and Immigration Reform

The Artist's Father Reading his Newspaper by Paul Cezanne, 1866
The Washington Post ends 2015 with a report on a protest by immigration activists opposed to the Obama administration plan to deport families from Central and South America. There are some aspects of both the reporting and the story that are notable.

First of all, the story is the lead article of the Metro section of the paper. It is accompanied by full color pictures of the crowd. The crowd shot is comparable to the crowd shot offered each year for the annual March for Life. However, the article indicates that the immigration protesters numbered about one hundred while the March for Life marchers number in the hundreds of thousands. If you were basing your estimate on the pictures in the Post you would think they were similar in size.

Secondly, the Post makes mention of the political ramifications of the proposed deportations without commenting on the fact that President Obama is moving to deport thousands of immigrant families from Central and South America at the same time he is pushing to welcome over 10,000 Syrian refugees. Isn't that a significant juxtaposition that a serious journalist should explore?

Before commenting further on the substance of the article, I want to make it clear that I believe our immigration system is broken and in need of substantial reform. Mass indiscriminate deportations are not the answer. As a wealthy nation we should generously welcome those who wish to immigrate to our country and contribute positively to our culture and society. Generalized fear of foreigners has no place in our immigration policy.

On the other hand, as a sovereign nation, we have every right to control who crosses our borders. We have an obligation to our citizens to do what we can to prevent those who bear our country ill will and pose a danger to our nation from entering.

The dilemma of immigration policy is to find the right balance between these concerns. It must be a balance. Either extreme--completely opening our borders with no questions asked or completely closing our borders and isolating ourselves from the world--is a mistake.

The protesters are not doing their cause any favors when they protest based on emotion and illogical statements rather than make arguments based on reason. For example, the Post quoted protester Jennifer Romero, “We are going to be out, and we are always going to keep fighting for our rights.” Actually, as an illegal immigrant you do not have any rights to stay here. Immigrating to this country is a privilege, not a right. Presuming a right that you do not have is not a way to win support.

Similarly, the protesters were carrying signs that read, "If you want our votes, no deportations!" Only legal U.S. citizens can vote. If non-citizens--legal or illegal--are planning on voting, we have a voter fraud issue.

As a nation, we do have a moral duty to help those who are fleeing persecution if we are able to safely do so. Reasonable vetting of immigrants is necessary for national security. Those on the receiving end of this help have to understand this entry is a privilege and they can request it but cannot demand it.






Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Family Life is a Domestic Pilgrimage

Jesus Found in the Temple by James Tissot ca. 1886


I always gravitated towards Pope John Paul II's description of the family as a domestic church. I will now add Pope Francis' description of family life as a domestic pilgrimage to my characterizations of the family. It is easy to be discouraged when our family does not look like bright images of television or social media. Take heart! Even the imperfect families are a source of holiness!

Head on over to Catholic Stand and see my reflection on the family as a pilgrimage in light of Pope Francis' Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When the teacher is getting test anxiety

A Scholar by Rebrandt ca 1631
It is hard to believe that it has been over three months since I last blogged. I have been teaching a 400-level Anatomy & Physiology course and I have not worked this hard since I was a student. I can honestly say that the last few months have been little more than a blur. It has been a good blur, but it is not a pace I can keep up indefinitely.

As always, challenges provide opportunities for growth. I think I learned a few things along the way.

1. It is okay to say "no". I have often been accused of having a helium hand. When a request for volunteers is made, my hand just floats up. This past semester I had to weigh the hand down and let others carry some of the load. I have to admit feeling a bit guilty when I didn't participate in every event and effort, but I am not the lynchpin.

2. I don't have to engage every argument or discussion. I admit I am opinionated. I also enjoy intelligent, reasoned discussion. I am not offended by a differing point of view and do my best to understand the premises that support it. I do not have time to argue emotions and feelings. Logical discussion is only possible with those who have a mind open to truth. If the discourse has devolved into name-calling and snark it is better to walk away and say a prayer.

3. There are a lot of things that I think I have to do that are really elective. I like to do them. I want to do them. It is nice to do them. I do not have to do them. 

4. Chocolate makes the world seem a brighter more welcoming place.

5. Coffee makes me seem brighter and more welcoming.

No promises that I really will write more often, but that is on my list of resolutions.