There is a rhythm to life, to living. There is a time for everything, a time to wake up, a time to sleep, a time to eat and a time to celebrate. The passage of time allows us to process the world around us. Events that happen around us as well as those that happen near and involve us directly become part of who we are and how we understand the world over time. It is not only the external events, but also how we each then interpret them internally.
Even before this week's terror attack in New York City, Deena Shanker of Bloomberg wrote that "Americans Are Officially Freaking Out," based on the American Psychological Association's Eleventh Stress in America survey. "Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation," Shanker wrote. "This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent)." The "current social divisiveness" was cited by 59 percent. That same percentage said "they consider this to be the lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."
The terror event in New York City this past Tuesday will not ease our stress. A man in a pickup truck drove down a bike path for almost a mile, killing eight people and injuring 11 more.
The driver, "whom the police identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29 — smashed into a school bus, jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun and shouting 'Allahu akbar,' Arabic for 'God is great,' before he was shot in the abdomen" by a police officer, the New York Times reported.
Saipov came to the United States from Uzbekistan as a legal immigrant in 2010. President Trump tweeted Tuesday night that Saipov "came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty." This has yet to be confirmed, but regardless, it does put the program into the spotlight.
According to the Congressional Research Service report titled "Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Issues,' published April 1, 2011, "the diversity lottery makes 50,000 visas available annually to natives of countries from which immigrant admissions were lower than a total of 50,000 over the preceding five years." The report cited four policy questions, including fairness of the system versus the traditional family and prospective employees' system, the vulnerability to fraud, potential national security questions and whether the original reasons for program's origination are still germane.
Included in the report is a reference to "the case of Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet, the Egyptian immigrant who shot and killed two people at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4, 2002, and who had obtained LPR [lawful permanent resident] status as the spouse of diversity immigrant."
While many who are shocked by the seemingly random, apparently lone wolf attack might be looking for consolation and encouragement from our president, what they are receiving instead is outrage. While the outrage may make sense, the timing is jarring — this president is not a consoler-in-chief but instead an agitator-in-chief, determined to make progress on his actions regardless of the interpersonal impact.
According to Anil Seth, professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex in Britain, "The world we experience comes as much, if not more, from the inside out as from the outside in...What we consciously see depends on the brain's guess of what's out there. Our experienced world comes from the inside out not just the outside in."
Our minds are also affected by what happens externally, and how we process those experiences. We can take in only so much at one time, and if we become overloaded, we can simply shut down or be unable to process what is happening.
While the limitations and flaws of the current immigration system need to be addressed, the question remains: will the president's fast and furious approach work?
To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.