Or it may not. But sometime in the 18th century people with my last name came here. The closest translation of the name from Gaelic means keepers of the harp . More generally musicians. Family legend indicates that they were three brothers. These brothers had handled their money poorly or offended the wrong people. They had all ended up afoul of the law. They were given a choice. The New World or debtors prison. They chose the New World. There is anecdotal evidence that at least one of them settled in the south, perhaps in Virginia. When I was a little girl in 1968 I meant a little boy with my last name and very dark skin. Now as a grown up I know how that might have happened. And I am very sorry for it. As a child though we just laughed at having the same last name. Another part of the legend indicates at the brothers hated each other. Each of the three changed a letter in their last name so that when their descendants met up with each other they would know who to hate and to draw close. My earliest known ancestor I could find in this country was a man named Ruben Mcwherter. According to court records he wore a coonskin cap and was never seen without his flask. In 1850 in Tennessee, a man aptly-named Neil Mcwherter went before a judge for disturbing the peace . My great-grandfather Paul was born in Tennessee. He carried on the tradition of the man in the coonskin cap. Alcoholism runs thick in my family. That gene really isn’t going anywhere I don’t know what happened to the other two brothers descendants.
There’s also a great deal of accomplishment in my family . There are actresses and writers and triathletes and lawyers . Some of them have been profoundly affected by addiction. Others have not. My father was named Neil and he did a lot of peace disturbing. He was a lawyer, until his addiction said otherwise. I might have a more distant relative with some accomplishments.There is a well-known politician named Ned McWherter that I really believe I’m related to. He looks a lot like my father.
I tell the story because based on the reputation of the guys that are my ancestors that came to this country, there might have been some raised eyebrows letting that sorry bunch in the country if they were vetted under the previous administrations immigration laws, let alone the executive order that was put in place last week.
There are some people walking around saying that they’re Muslims saying that they’re good Muslims, when in fact most of their day in the Middle East is spent killing other Muslims. Their reputation is much worse then my pack of drunk and disorderly ancestors, but the point I’m trying to make is both have a bad reputation . This small fraction isil has been used to give guilt-by-association to every single person who says that they practice Islam. Or even people who come from neighboring countries. Or even people like the Siks who practice an entirely different religion but just look the way we think terrorists from the Middle East look.
Are we judged to be members of the Ku Klux Klan because we look like them? At least with the sheets off? No. Are KKK terrorists? Of course they are.
Grandmothers, women and children, who have been vetted… Green card holders man or woman who have been vetted and permitted to live in this country are being detained. They are being kept away from family members and jobs and their education. Supporters of the recent change make the case that it’s a relatively small number of people being impacted. If you were one of the ones being impacted it would be no small matter. George Takei, a survivor of the Japanese internment in World War II, says that this seems like the beginning of those times.
Until last week the Statue of Liberty meant something. Now it all depends. It depends on rules made too quickly and with not enough specificity. It also depends apparently on whether or not you were Christian or Muslim coming from one of the countries listed in the recent executive order. Religious test anyone? I don’t know about you but I think that’s against the Constitution. We’re not allowed to give preference between one religion and another.
White people, let’s not get all superior. If the immigration laws in this country were completely fair Native Americans would have the right to deport all of us if they felt like it. They have been treated very badly by their Invaders.
And let’s not even start disrespecting or downgrading the experience of people that were brought here against their will, abused and assaulted, and had to work for nothing..
But my last point is all of these people, including my drunk and disorderly ancestors and their accomplished descendants brought some good to this country. Muslims are doing that everyday too. Have a Muslim friend an American who is busy doing good in several countries.
We are immigrants or the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants. We all come from people that came from elsewhere. Now apparently that’s part of our tradition then we would like to trash.
I vote no on that. If America is no longer the place that people go when they are afraid for their lives or hopeful for a better future here…. Then what is it?