I am the Kangaroo Court Puppet, symbol of injustice, a tangible reminder of cruelty to refugees, a cruelty grounded in myths and bigotry.
Jeffrey is my chauffeur and my scribe, merely because he happens to have jointed legs and working fingers.
Yet he, not I, won the Human Rights First ambassadorial nod. He even gets official calling cards! Here’s a card, obverse and reverse, with the addition of a sticker you’ll get on your donor postcard at the end of the Ride.
No matter. I’m no stranger to speciesism. Humans, and Human Rights, come First around here.
Call Jeffrey “ambassador” or “chauffeur” or “scribe” or what you will. I remain the Voice of the Ride. I will be there for every mile.
Next week, we go out among our own American people, into the great American desert. We’ll pedal from New Mexico through Arizona and Nevada, to California.
Arizona is where America’s attorney general announced, on the eve of Jewish Passover and during Christian Holy Week, that in “the Trump era”, law-abiding refugees, worthy immigrants, and their American families and communities, henceforth will be treated with special harshness. The attorney general and his boss are readying more private for-profit jails to cage people lawfully seeking refuge in America. They will pay corporate jailers millions of tax dollars to cage thousands more people whose “crime” is working and paying taxes and feeding their families.
An ambassador is an emissary to a foreign land. We hope—even in “Trump era” Arizona, where the attorney general felt comfortable bragging that America will violate its legal duty to refugees, will bully immigrants and those who help them, and will betray America’s historic, moral, and religious roots—that we won’t really be ambassadors. We hope the Southwest will feel like the 29 American states we visited on our six annual pre-“Trump era” Rides. We hope all of America still will feel like our country, our home.
But as with the weather, the terrain, our bike, and Jeffrey’s bones, we must accept things as we find them. We will do our best to take the pulse of the “Trump era” Southwest, to learn from people we meet, and maybe to help them learn a little too.