Persons, groups, races, societies and nations are not separate entities, like grains of sand in a bag. Rather they are, as Paul says, “members, one of another.” To ignore this fact, especially in today’s global community can only spell disaster. Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote, “The ganglia of a nervous system are hardly more intimately related and more interdependent than are the people in this world of ours. As Professor Everett once put it, We ask the leaf, ‘Are you complete in yourself?’ And the leaf replies, ‘No, my life is in the branch.’ And so we ask the branch, ‘Are you complete in yourself?” And the branch replies, “No, my life is in the trunk.’ And we ask the trunk, and the trunk says, ‘No, my life is in the roots.’ And we ask the roots, and the roots say, ‘No, my life is in the trunk and the branches and the leaves. Keep the branches stripped of leaves and I shall die’.”
We (persons, groups, races, societies and nations) are so bound together in this closely reticulated system of interdependence that what we think, or what we fail to think, profoundly affects other people. The work that we do or the work that we fail to do profoundly affects other people. The words that we speak, or the words we fail to speak, affects other people, nations, etc.
When we use the word “alien” (even with “illegal” placed before it) it is evident that we have not connected the dots on the page of life or accepted the reality of life on this planet. The same is true with the label “refugee.” When we fear and treat other people as though they are somehow less than we are, we have (from my perspective) lost our marbles. Whenever we relegate other nations as somehow less than we are as a nation, we are losing our sanity. When we talk of building walls to separate one people from another, we have missed the boat. We are bound together—we are rooted in the same earth—we are “members, one of another.” Whether we like it or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that we go against the grain of what is, and what must be, if we are to survive the twenty-first century.