[Image: Sing Along, 2012, JA Van Devender]
Location: Beijing, PRC
Exodus 23:27 (NKJV)
27 “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
An ancient toast was "To the king and confusion to his enemies." Such was my impression this past week as the virtually simultaneous reports came out that:(1) the Supreme Court would not hear the Romeikes' appeal for asylum in the US after the Attorney General of the US had argued for their deportation throughout the lower court system and (2) the Department of Homeland Security gave them a status of "deferred action" with the corresponding statement that 'as long as they don't get into any trouble, they can stay as long as they want.'
What the left hand takes away the right hand gives back.
The folks that were gathered on just an ordinary day at a small park in Beijing, did so with some regularity. They loved singing and they did it well. The parts came through crystal clear and the leader, an employee of the city, lead them with enthusiasm. It was a nice thing to do for these (mostly) retired citizens and they obviously were enjoying themselves, smiling at me and the camera and even inviting me to sing along... a manifest impossibility since I neither read or speak Chinese and the oriental music did not "flow" in my Western ears. But their faces and their voices reflected underlying happiness and that came out in the singing.
Similarly, I think we have reason to sing over the facts of this situation, though I am not so certain that we should consider it a triumph.
Pardon my cynicism but I think that if this had not been an election year, with all the current administration's record and diminished popularity weighing heavily on many incumbent politicians' chances for re-election, and with approximately 3 million activist and voting homeschoolers just waiting to mark a ballot, then the Romeikes would have been on the first plane to Frankfurt... or Berlin ... or wherever.
At any point in the past year or so that the Romeikes have been waging their battle and especially after they had won their first court case, the administration could have "just let it go." That's what they did with the old "fast and furious" stuff. That's what they have done with the militant Black Panthers intimidating voters in the previous election. There was nothing to lose and everything to gain from just passing over the issue in silence or telling them that, while under international law they did not have a case for the status of asylum, yet they could stay indefinitely and begin the process of immigration. Essentially that is what is happening now... why not earlier?
Perhaps it's the timing... perhaps it has more to do with election than with a sense of justice, equity and fair play. Perhaps is all that I can really conclude... but it looks pretty plain on the face of it.
So... let's sing a song of gladness and welcome a plain, hard-working, principled family into the fold. Each of us may view the entire Home-Schooling question from different perspectives, and that's OK. I support home-schooling, private schooling and public schooling as being options from which parents have the God-given right to choose for their children. Currently, home-schooling and private schools appear to be the better choice and vouchers would be a good thing. But whether you agree with that or not, I think it is fair to say that people on both sides will admit that letting them stay here is far more consistent with American sensibilities, self-understanding, and general world-view than making them leave.
Therefore we should sing... but shaking our head over the sheer confusion in our government and the manner in which it makes decisions that have dramatic consequences for individuals and families, is something we ought to be doing also. And when election rolls around... it's not the decision to let them stay or the decision to argue against their appeal all the way to the Supreme Court that ought to determine our vote... it is the sheer confusion in governing that it reveals which should make us seriously consider to vote them all out, as many as we can, and start trying to build a government that displays better sense.