[Image removed]I hear the deep thud of the bass drum coming through the walls. I have buried my head in a cotton pillow. I am trying to fall asleep, but I am restless. The music rhythmically beats bump, bump, bump.
Tent cities going up around the country, more and more unfamiliar homeless faces on the street—someone has started to sleep by the sidewalk on my block. I have never seen a homeless man sleep so close to my apartment before.
In the morning I meet with religious leaders in the East Bay. We have formed an Interfaith Immigration Coalition, with an acronym for a name and everything. A suited man who works for the Catholic diocese emails me a survey of 1000 Catholic adults. I am most appalled by the answer to a particular question: Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose U.S. government assistance and trade policies that would create jobs abroad in order to prevent immigrants from coming here illegally to seek employment? Only 37% gave support. 57% opposed such policies. Fifty-seven percent! I can hardly believe it. Do they not know why people migrate?
Bump, bump, bump—music from below, heard through the walls, getting into my head.
“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons…” Thus begins the book of Ruth, a story of migration: A father moves for economic reasons, looking for food, looking for work, looking for a new and bigger family, to continue. But these days it is worse, because I know there is no naturally caused famine in the two-thirds world. The great United States, inheriting its grand imperialism from Europe conquistadors, has exploited the land and labor in Latin America. “Free Trade” comes with the freedom to oppress. We cause the famine. We live in a land of plenty, because we steal from the masses.
Music, melody, harmony, discord, rhythm, bump, bump, bump, through the wall, over the fence, across the border, bump, bump, a beating heart, coming to me in the night