Do You Know What It's Like...

Our country is shifting in a direction that makes me deeply uncomfortable. People hail policies that have an impact that they may not understand. I say this because of my experiences abroad. When I was in Lisbon, I began to understand the ramifications of government control of the media. Under the Salazar-Caetano regime, the secret police network was extensive and pervasive. I learned to be aware of being followed by secret police and to question some information in the newspaper because the secret police would claim people had died whenever they fled the country and eluded capture.

In Mozambique, the Portuguese system was just as extensive. Letters were censored and phone calls were tapped. The police could drop in at your home as if it were their right and ask as many questions as they wanted until they chose to leave. I experienced being deported, not for anything I'd done, but because the United Methodist Church contributed to World Council of Churches funds given to Frelimo, a group fighting for independence from Portuguese colonialism.

These experiences decades ago color my perspective on the directions that the United States is taking now. It is critical to explore all the angles of things you support and their ramifications. It is so easy to remain silent and assume everything will work out for the best, but I think that is the assumption many have made who ended up living in damaging regimes and dictatorships.

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