My bus ride into work the other day featured somebody behind me who was very upset at the driver. Over and over, he kept muttering to the person next to him, “That f***ing foreigner.” It was one of the more depressing ways I could have started my day.
Effing foreigner…spoken as though the word foreigner was a slur. As though being a foreigner was a bad thing and as though the driver was less of a person because of the place he was born. The venom with which the person spat that word lingered in my head for the rest of the day.
Certainly, there are about a million worse words that could have been said, but sometimes the way somebody uses a word speaks louder than the word itself. And since America has seemingly lost its collective mind over the past couple of weeks, this extra dose of xenophobia was the straw that broke my back.
In addition to my wife, who is always an amazing sounding board for my thoughts, three people helped me get out of my shocked, depressed funk and move on with my week. Two of them are under five years old, and one of them is in his 90s.
The ones under five are my kids, of course. As real people (not just politicians, who I rarely classify as people) spout some of the most insanely ignorant and hateful things I’ve heard in years, my kids are happily oblivious to that bigotry.