Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays.

We know because Perry Como reminds us incessantly every year about this time. And because the airports become madhouses and the highways parking lots, so many of us trying to find their way back to that place where you are safe and known, that place where they'll always take you in, home.

Here in the season of festivity and light, it's probably natural that we don't think much about how it feels to be a child in a chain link cage, a woman sleeping on concrete, a man denied soap, toothpaste and medicine. In the season of home for the holidays, who wants to be reminded of those who have no home to go to? Of those who are mistreated as a matter of policy by our government? And thus, by us.

We are, in the best of circumstances, a nation of restless, fleeting attentions. And that is all the more true in this era where news bombards us and crises — constitutional, existential — have become routine. So who can be surprised if the images that dominated hearts and headlines just a few months ago — people jammed in pens, families torn apart, a little girl and her father face down in the Rio Grande — have largely receded from the forefront of our thoughts?

We have moved on. But the fact that refugees and immigrants are no longer in the news doesn't mean they have gone away. It just means we no longer see them. Their plight has become wallpaper.

If you find that unconscionable, especially in this country and especially in this season, there may be consolation in knowing that there are dozens of organizations fighting for them and that many could use your help. Here's a random sampling:

Border Angels provides immigrants with legal assistance and English lessons. Its volunteers drive and hike into the rugged desert along the southern border to leave life-saving water for immigrants. Donate at borderangels.org. You can also volunteer through the website, or by emailing volunteer@borderangels.org.

The Justice Department (!) has compiled a directory (www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm) of lawyers willing to do pro bono work for immigrants. If you are an attorney who'd like to be in it, call 703-756-8020 or send an email to: ProBono.List.Admin@usdoj.gov.

The Immigrant Rights Project of the ACLU educates immigrants on their legal protections and fights for those rights in court. You can donate by phone at 888-567-ACLU or online at aclu.org.

Want more? The Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, maintains an index (acf.hhs.gov/orr/state-programs-annual-overview) of groups and the kind of assistance they need. Be sure to check out any organization you're thinking of helping with Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), which evaluates charities for reliability. Note that some groups — Better Angels is one — are too small to qualify for a listing.

The evil — and the word is apropos — being done in our name at the border depends for its success on our willingness to watch in compliant silence as fellow human beings are "otherized" and "monsterized," stripped of their individuality, remade in the image of American fears.

Which rebukes both the gospels and simple human decency. Any time is a good time — and this season is better than most — to reject that rejection, to embrace all that we have in common as fellow travelers in this difficult life. How can we be strangers? We're all trying to find that place where we are safe and known.

All of us, just trying to get home.

(6) comments

Donald

I think it should be noted that if Mr. Pitts truly believes that “mistreatment” is a US policy and “evil” at the border awaits those attempting to break into America he should seek to warn against rather than support encouraging potential illegal aliens into wasting their money on smugglers and their safety, time and effort on trying to break into America in the first place. Instead he seems to see them as nothing more than a useful pawn in an ideological and cultural war – and the more suffering/inconvenience that can be optically captured or manufactured the better. The actual people are irrelevant to the Big Picture. Mao would understand.

Donald

I am a bit pressed for time today, and also not willing to overburden the column with a too lengthy single response (I am sure most readers here are also somewhat pressed for time given the end of year goings-on and such), I will confine myself to short snippets in responding to Mr. Pitts’ column. In writing this snippet I may have already overstepped my self-imposed snippet length.

I do agree with Mr. Pitts. There is no place like home – so I think the vast majority of illegal aliens should be assisted in returning to their homelands with all due alacrity, and those still in their homeland encouraged to remain there rather than trying to break into America.

Donald

I notice too that Mr. Pitts cannot bring himself to use the term “Christmas” season, substituting instead “the season of festivity and light”, but he still relies completely upon an appeal to Christianity – and thus Christians, Christian charity and America’s Christian-based culture – and the extraordinary altruism of Western Man for the purpose of political manipulation in his desire to, ironically enough, engage in the cultural genocide of that very culture.

Donald

There are several reasons why the corporate media (a.k.a. main stream media) are no longer focusing on ‘the border’. Both are based on the media’s function as the pointy end of the spear in the ongoing organized and orchestrated attempt to overthrow the duly elected presidency (obvious to the observant within the first 60 days of Mr. Trump’s tenure), the two most important being 1. The optics of a continuous flood of people forcing their way into America and the assistance being given them by groups that have a hatred for a culturally Western-based America looks bad to many American viewers of the ‘news’ who would prefer their country not be overwhelmed, and pictures meant to pull at the heartstrings of an America based on the altruism of a still culturally Christian nation routinely turn out to be shown as false, exaggerated, or from an previous presidency (not good for current Democratic candidates). 2. The corporate media think the Impeachment Games will bring down or at least further undermine the current presidency in any and all areas. In short, if the story does not advance the media’s narrative and the agenda they are supporting it gets moved to the back burner until it again becomes useful.

Donald

It is somewhat ironic that Mr. Pitts complains of “human beings being "otherized" and "monsterized” when this is what he and his Fellow Travelers routinely do to Western Man, white heterosexual men in particular, and Western culture in general, Western culture being the product of Western Civilization, the greatest civilization ever known to man – and the Western cultural precepts upon which Mr. Pitts bases his “season of festivity and light” appeal.

prodigalson

Leonard I'm curious, where is your horror and outrage at the millions of babies that your party, the Demokkkrat party, has murdered through the grizzly act of abortion over the past 45 years or so? And where is your outrage over the violent crimes (rape, murder, drug and gang related activities) committed by the illegal aliens that you speak of? Leonard, your outrage is selective, feigned, and transparent.

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