A Blog of Wrath

I just finished (re)reading John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath because one of the students I tutor was reading and writing a paper on it. I know I had to read this book in either high school or college, but I don’t remember it having the same impact on me then as it does today.

Perhaps that’s because now I am a mother and have a family of my own. I can see myself as Ma.

One thing this book did was make me full of wrath at a governmental system that allowed hundreds of thousands of people to starve while tons of food rotted. The entire Dust Bowl catastrophe was a train wreck where profit ruled the decision to slaughter pigs and let them rot rather than feed the thousands of folks who couldn’t get jobs…where kerosene was sprayed on top of oranges that fell to the ground in order to prevent the hungry from scavenging…where armed guards kept watch over potatoes dumped into a river, keeping the hungry separated from those potatoes that would have fed their starving, malnourished children…and where fruit went unharvested, dropped to the dirt and rotted, guarded by men with guns who made sure those dirty Okies wouldn’t steal them.

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Photo by Dorothea Lange, from the Library of Congress

Human beings were treated like trash, and I imagine that Jesus wept.

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He probably wept to see signs like this one. If I had been the Joad family and came across this sign, I would have wept, too. After clutching my orange handbill promising a land of milk and honey with good jobs and plenty of food…after experiencing the dirt and dust and humiliation of losing my land, bouncing the long miles in a broken down jalopy, enduring the trek through the desert without air conditioning, and then encountering this sign, I would have been tempted to take a crowbar to it. Especially the part that reads, “No state relief available for non-residents.”

Have we come very far as a nation? These images are from our time, in full, living color:

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They probably make Jesus weep, too.

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For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/what-bible-says-about-how-treat-refugees#5u4Z4z0LtIT3SelF.99

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