Spend some time following internet conversations about your liberal cause of the day (global warming, racial injustice, etc) and eventually someone will get to the nut of why the issue pisses many people off: they think activists want them to feel guilty and they don’t want to feel guilty. That’s pretty much it. A huge part of our failure to do anything about the climate disaster or racist asshole cops comes from people protecting their delicate ego.
Take for example the reaction when Mark Lane, an apparantly wonderful guy and excellent dad who runs Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company in San Diego, took in a Guatemalan family of four who had been processed by ICE while they looked for family with whom to live until their court appearance.
Through the immigration advocacy group Border Angels, Mark Lane — a fishmonger by trade — and his family took in a Guatemalan family of four, who had recently fled violence. After the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency processed and released the Guatemalan family with notice to appear (NTA) slips, Border Angels founder Enrique Morones placed a call out to the organization’s advocates to find hosts for the family until they could make their way to a relative on the East Coast to await their immigration court hearing. “This is a matter of people taking in families and refugees,” Morones said, recalling to ThinkProgress that Lane was one of 20 eager volunteers. One Guatemalan family member reportedly stayed at a 24-hour money order business for nine days before Border Angels found out about her story and took her in. She was also allegedly raped several times during their journey to the United States and again at a shelter. The mom and three children (one daughter and two sons) are currently occupying one of two spare rooms in the Lane family home. “This family suffered trauma,” Lane explained. “They were so scared they piled into the same room. I let them bond with my wife in the first few days.”
[…]Since the Guatemalan family came to stay with the Lanes four weeks ago, they went from being “hollow-eyed and watching me” to becoming “more animated, more relaxed. They’re in a safe environment and it kind of feels like bringing home a baby from the hospital.” He recalled that the mother was anguished when he used Google Earth to pull up an image of the Guatemalan city they had fled from. She told him, “That’s where I should die a normal death, but we can never go back there. If we go back, we will get killed.”
Even if you despise everything about immigrants coming to this country without filing papers, every detail in this story looks above board. The family has been processed by ICE and needs a place to live until their court date. You would hardly expect conservatives to celebrate forcing people into government centers or on the street or to criticize private charity when it literally complies with the most restrictive possible reading of our immigration laws. It goes against the sort of things that conservatives usually celebrate, and in return all you get is gratuitous cruelty and extra crime as desperate people try to not starve to death. And yet.
[W]hen word spread that Lane was hosting the family, people viciously attacked him online with a Facebook page calling for a boycott of his business, Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company. One commentator on the now-defunct Facebook page recommended that he “needs a serious beating in front of his customers. But then he serves crap food. His establishment is rat infested and smells like raw sewage.” Lane said that he and his family have been also receiving death threats, which he said he has now reported to the local police department’s hate crime division and even the Department of Justice.
It seems senseless and stupid to hate this guy for what he did. But you can imagine how it would feel to have a guy’s humanity, compassion and basic courage reflect on the small, scared hateful way some people live their life. If a large fraction of folks will choose a painful shock rather than sit alone with their thoughts, imagine what people will do to avoid shame.
Give the guy some support and a little business if you pass through San Diego.