Juana Villegas DeLaPaz

24 07 2008

I’ve sort of been enmeshed in my own world the past few days. A funeral of a loved one, burn out and wondering what I did to piss Karma off (I’ve narrowed down to that I was rude to a kitten in 1986 or some passive aggressiveness in the past few weeks. I’m human.)

I’ve seen light at the end of the tunnel and things are looking up.

For the past week, I’ve been following the story of Juana Villegas DeLaPaz over at Aunt B.’s, Tim Chavez, Rachel‘s but it the story was so horrifying to me and with my own navel gazing going on, I couldn’t even process it.

Let me say, last night I found myself talking over beverages about the situation to a group of people and the horror on their faces mirrored my thoughts on about this woman’s terrifying experience. The dialog on DeLaPaz is a good one though but I think our reaction to her plight is a personal one.

You see, she is us. I am not the most religious person but I am going to talk about my spirituality for a moment. If you are bored with that, go here and look at this picture of this kangaroo.

Do you remember when everyone was wearing those WWJD bracelets? I always was of the opinion that Jesus wouldn’t wear a bracelet with this on it but that’s neither here nor there. The thought behind it was pretty good though.  The one thing in my belief system is that I think Jesus was cool. He hung out with people that were on the fringes and were deemed in that time as being unacceptable. He treated, from the studies of my youth, people the way that he wanted to be treated.

I realize we have laws. But I also believe that sometimes people get so immersed in the law that we, collectively, forget the Golden Rule.

It’s the best one.

My personal thoughts on the situation comes down to that DeLaPaz was treated horribly. But I realized she’s not the only one. We have a system in this country that validates that some people may be treated as little more than animals and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Her story reflects so many things happening in society that are just wrong. Have we lost compassion?

Indeed, WWJD?

I go back to the Sneetches. I think all of our society is reflected for those who have the stars on their bellies and those who don’t.  We are so immersed in mindless details that we have forgotten one thing and that is human decency. Not just for DeLaPaz but for others who have become numbers and not people.

Ginger actually speaks to me about this when she puts a human face on this situation.

Somebody asked me why this story got me so riled up. Why do I care so much about what happened to a total stranger who “shouldn’t have been here in the first place” when there are so many problems needing addressed of our own citizens?

First of all, I am a human being. We all come into this world naked, and we will all return to dust when our time is finished…and it will not matter what nationality a piece of paper said we were when it is all said and done.

It’s like Badger said last night. She is us.

I do not want to see the destruction of basic human compassion. Not for DeLaPaz. Not for anyone.


I can’t speak for the big guy. I wouldn’t even try. I just know that DeLaPaz is just the tip of the iceberg and that all of the crosstalk doesn’t take away from the sheer fact that what happened to her is a reflection on the great divide in this country.

And she is us.

It’s really not us against them. It’s us. We are in this together.

We must take care of each other. If there is any spiritual lesson I’ve learned on my 40+ years on this planet is that this is the only way.




One response

24 07 2008
John Lamb

Every name is a neighbor. God bless you for saying it.

Good thing you’re not alone, either:

Midvale Utah Mayor JoAnn Seghini: “Immigration is always going to be part of America… Once they’re here, they’re us. And once they’re us, we’re in it together.”

McNickGirl: “At moments like these, I’m not just an American. I am one, but not only one. I am a neighbor first. And my neighborhood hurts today.”

James A. Rogerson: “No matter where people come from, if they behave themselves, work hard, and respect our history and culture, they are Americans. And if we behave ourselves, work hard, and respect their history and culture, we are Americans too.”

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