After exploring the vegetable market, Jim was heading towards handicrafts stalls. That’s when the strap of one of his sandals came undone. He displayed it to a street-merchant and inquired whether it could be fixed at any nearby repair shop. Following the gentleman’s direction, he found a young street cobbler around the corner, busy in repairing other clients’ sandals and shoes. While fixing Jim’s sandal, the cobbler (who introduced himself as Jose Gonzalez), offered to make a new pair from recycled tires that he routinely made for the indigenous neighbors. Jim agreed. As Jose was finishing the pair for Jim, two young men on a motorbike stopped by and collected a wad of money from him. The young men kept on collecting various amounts from others. Once they vanished from the scene, Jose, with his hand gesture, explained to Jim that they’re the dreaded MS-13 gang members who terrorized several Central American countries. This event took place almost three years ago.
Recently, Jim was following the current immigration debate sweeping through his country on a flat big screen TV inside his home in upstate New York. He still used the pair of sandals that Jose custom-made for him. The narrators on the TV were reporting from two different locations, thus the screen was split right in the middle. On left, current strongman was giving a speech from a western border town. To the thunderous cheer from his xenophobic supporters, he termed all the asylum-seekers poor refugees as “criminals, rapists, and terrorists who, if allowed to enter the nation, would destroy our way of life.” On right side of the screen, several agents in a southern border town were pinning a young asylum-seeker against barbed wire. As the camera spanned, it showed a crying little girl grabbed one of the legs of an agent, while begging to let her dad go. When the agents twisted the young man’s head, his face became visible on the screen. Jim jumped out of his sofa screaming “Oh my God! It’s Jose from Chichi. He is neither a rapist nor a terrorist. He must be seeking a better life for his daughter, far away from those criminal gang-members.”
He then sat down, switched off the TV, hung his head down in shame, and murmured “How far we, as a nation, fell from our founding principles!”