TURNER, MAINE -- They say the South is the friendliest place in America, and they’re probably right. The Midwest isn’t far behind, but the civility line defies latitudes or longitudes.
It comes down roughly to the difference between city and country folk – although exceptions abound. Across the USA and Canada, I’ve found that people outside core metropolitan areas are much more likely to initiate or respond to friendly entreaties.
On my family’s recent trip back to the D.C. area from Western Maine, we stopped at a supermarket in Turner (population: 5,700) to get a case of Moxie, but became stranded with a dead battery.
Within 45 minutes, with our hood up, we were approached six times by people who offered to help, including an angel named Tammy who operated a café a couple of miles away. She not only gave us phone numbers for three mechanics, but offered to come back and personally bring us and two dogs to her café to spend the day if the car problem was a lengthy event.
A woman who worked at the supermarket tried unsuccessfully to jump start us. Others came by after she left and offered the same. This doesn’t count those who passed by and gave inquiring looks that said, “we’re here to help if you need it.” In Maine, there’s an understanding that it’s best not to talk unless you can improve on silence. A sound idea, that.
I thought about the overarching concept of how you treat strangers while we waited for AAA to get us back on the road. The Bible is clear about caring for strangers, the poor, orphans and widows. It is not a mandate for mass migration over an unsecured border.
Using my smartphone, I read the latest accounts of the Texas border crisis. Some well-meaning folks have, I believe, misapplied the biblical idea of hospitality to justify the lawless surge of tens of thousands of illegal aliens, mostly young Central Americans.
It’s creating a massive headache for an overwhelmed system and is costing lives. Heart-wrenching tales of rape, crime and death in the desert are seeping through the media’s rose-colored lens.
Instead of securing the border and repatriation, President Obama is asking Congress for a quick $3.7 billion in taxpayer money for lawyers and schooling to “ease the crisis” that he manufactured by suspending deportation of “dreamers” in 2012. He also sent a powerful signal by turning loose the Justice Department on states like Arizona that are trying to do what the feds won’t – enforce the law.
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