Have you had your donuts, pancakes, paczkis? It’s Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras, Fastnacht, Shrove Tuesday). It is the day of preparation for the season of Lent and the start of fasting. While some may use today as an excuse for excessive revelry and drunkeness ala Bourbon Street, many of us will stay sober in order to watch #45 address a joint session of Congress. (Getting smashed may come after the speech.). The White House has promised that the president will present an “optimistic vision” that will include the topics of healthcare, infrastructure, defense spending, and…wait for it…THE BORDER.
We’ve already heard the president’s vision for a “big, beautiful wall.” We’ve already seen the chaos of an Executive Order ban on Syrian Refugees. We’ve already read about ICE raids and detainment of U. S. Citizens at airports because they have Muslim sounding names. We’ve listened to the fear and seen the anxiety in the eyes of our immigrant sisters and brothers. It is what motivated our church to focus on Immigrant and Refugee Justice for this year’s Lenten Compact, “Stranger Love.”
Given the history and current climate, I cannot imagine an”optimistic vision” for immigrants and refugees. I cannot be optimistic. Tonight, I’ll be watching. Tomorrow, we’ll fast from xenophobia and fear in order to love our neighbor as ourselves.