Why I marched at RDU

I could hear it before I saw it. Thousands of voices chanting: “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” carried easily through the parking garage at RDU International Airport. My son Duncan and I arrived about an hour into the scheduled four hour protest, and we wanted to lend our voices in any way we could.

As we walked towards Terminal 2, a woman named Kathy was pushing several cases of bottled water on a luggage cart. I asked if I could help and grabbed one of the cases and started handing out bottles to protesters.

There were thousands of people. Thousands.

As a County Commissioner, one of my responsibilities is to appoint members of the RDU Board. Wake County is one of the owners of this facility. So you might ask why I thought it appropriate to participate in a protest against the Airport.

Well, because the protest was located AT the Airport, but it wasn’t AGAINST the Airport. In fact, the Airport staff and security and the Raleigh Police Department should be congratulated for their flexibility and restraint as a crowd expected to number in the low hundreds swelled beyond all expectation.

No, I wasn’t there to protest the Airport. I was there to lend my voice to the millions who oppose President Trump’s immigration policies, which defile our history and our national reputation. I was there to march in the middle of the crowd, not at the front, because in this battle, I join my fellow citizens in declaring that we do not consent to these policies and they are not being done in our name.

President Trump’s ban on immigration from certain countries where he has no business interests is blatantly discriminatory. It hurts our allies in the region. It puts our troops in greater danger. It condemns refugees to death.

As an American, I am embarrassed by this President’s actions.

As a Christian, I am appalled that the lesson of the Parable of the Good Samaritan is apparently lost on those in power. Those who defend these actions as a way of reducing risk must understand that the Samaritan put himself at risk to help the man on the road. He helped a foreigner, and he exposed himself to the bandits by stopping to help. To paraphrase MLK, Jr., the true neighbor does not ask “if I help this person, what will become of me?” The true neighbor, and thus the true Christian, asks “if I do not help this person, what will become of him?”

When we turn away those who wish to come to this country, we hurt them. What sense does it make to hurt those who want to become Americans?

Today, those thousands of multi-colored faces and thousands of voices raised in protest gave me hope. Thanks to the people who protested and the people who protected them. Today was a good day.Flag 16252139_10154602271003183_6158435873640428836_o

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