I mean it.
Don't yell at me.
Don't tell me I don't care enough.
Don't tell me I care too much.
Don't tell me that I don't know or don't understand. It's true that I don't always understand, but at least I'm trying to know.
I know that children are the victims of policies they didn't create and cannot begin to understand. I know because my own daughters, already cleared for immigration, were held at the the border (briefly, thank God) when they were 6 and 3. Six. And. Three.
I also know that other people are scared. There were more Islamist extremist attacks in France in the 1990s than there are today. I know all too well that feeling of hypervigilance, that jumping at every unexpected sight and sound. I was there.
I know that we blow apart mountains and poison streams and leave miners to cope with incurable disease, all in the name of prosperity. After all, I live in Appalachia.
I also know how it looks when those in power leave a place to die, take away the only high-paying jobs, put nothing in their place. Remember, I live in Appalachia.
I'm trying to get it, truly I am. It's just that yelling at me doesn't help. It's not driving me further to the left or further to the right. It's not even driving me to the center. It's driving me out of the conversation altogether, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
"Fine," the angry ones might say, "Go."
"Fine," I want to say back, "I will."
There's just one problem: if there is no place for us here, then where?