Saturday, November 22, 2008

What kind of garden?

An update on the story about Marcelo Lucero, the Ecuadorian immigrant killed by Patchogue teenagers out to bash "beaners," a link to which I originally posted on Nov. 11:

El Diario/La Prensa has lots of really good coverage of this story in Spanish. (I've got a link to El Diario's smart edition at the bottom of all my blog posts.)

There is a direct connection between crimes like this one and the uncivil discourse about immigration and immigrants we've heard the past few years.

So, what does this have to do with gardens?

I've been looking at the little garden my family planted this summer. It is under a layer of snow today, and beneath that, the earth that produced the acorn squash we will be eating at Thanksgiving lies fallow. It is good ground. It has rewarded our work by giving us much. By feeding us, by allowing us to dream of its fruits, by dazzling with its variety and productivity.

Politicians and commentators, talk radio hosts and columnists (and in Philadelphia, even cheesesteak vendors) have planted seeds of fear and spite against undocumented immigrants and Latinos in this nation -- this garden -- of ours. They have carefully tended and watered them, watched them grow into hatred. Incidents like the one in Patchogue, or in Shenandoah, Pa. (see also in post of Nov. 11) are the crop they have cultivated.

Sometimes the scope of their harvest of hate takes my breath away.

But this is what I know about gardens: they can be replanted. Mold and rot can be rooted out. The skeletal structures of last year's harvest can be pulled whole from the ground. Earth can be turned over, made fresh and enriched.

We can plan to plant an entirely new garden next season.

All we really need is good seed. And the desire to plant and tend it.

Download "We can stop the hate: A tool kit for action" at the following web site:

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