Poisoned M&M’s

The other day I was having a discussion about the Syrian refugees. My argument was that we should welcome them into our country. My opponent’s argument was that we should not — for various reasons, most of them you have probably heard or even hold. Eventually, he said: I have a bowl of M&M’s, 10 of them are poisonous. You go first.

My response was a sarcastic: Let’s dump them all. 

Him: I didn’t say get rid of them. I said you go first.

Now, let’s discuss how ridiculous his argument is. Why is it inappropriate to use the analogy of poisoned food in comparison to the Syrian refugees, migrants, and even ISIS? Well, to begin with, it is ridiculous to compare a person to poisoned food. Why? Because what do you do with poisoned food? Do you eat it? Do you let someone else eat it? NO! Of course not, you throw it out in such a manner that no one will eat it because IT IS POISONED!

When comparing the Syrians to poisoned food, you are saying – whether you intend to or not – that they should be thrown away because a few of them are “poisoned.” BECAUSE YOU DO NOT RISK EATING POISONED FOOD.

Comparing them to a bowl of partially poisoned M&M’s is taking away their humanity. With such arguments, you get Trump saying that we should force them to registrar and wear identifying markers to distinguish them as others. Does that sound familiar?

It is wrong to treat people as others as less than human. Why? To put it simply, we as a species decided so during WWII and Hitler did the same – and worse – to the Jewish people of German.

Now, is poisoned food is a bad analogy and we want to stick with a food theme — what is a good analogy?

A quote that I have repeatedly seen on Facebook and accredited to Malala Yousafzai sums it up good: With guns you can get rid of terrorists. With education, you can get rid of terrorism.

Your ultimate goal will determine which stance you take. If you want to make yourself feel better today, you may take the gun approach — poisoned M&M’s. However, that is superficial. Increasing security to obscene levels and denying human rights to an entire nation and religion, will not make you safe. You may feel like you are doing something to increase your security, but ultimately, your efforts are probably in vain.

However, if your goal is to be safe, you will take the educational approach. It takes more time, and the affects usually do not present themselves until years down the line, but the efforts have much longer lasting effects.

What food analogy works best with the Syrian-ISIS crises? Dirty food – not poisoned. Imagine you were carrying a tray of cookies, and you stumbled a bit. A few cookies fell of your tray. Some on to the side walk, and a few into a pile of manure. What do you do with all the cookies?

With the poisoned M&M’s scenario,  we had to throw out all the M&M’s because we did not know which were poisoned and which were not. With the cookies, we do know which are safe to eat–and which are not. We know which cookies fell into the manure. Those we throw out. There is no saving them. But the ones that did not? Those can be brushed off. Those we can save. Then there are the ones still on the tray. Those are still perfectly good.

The flaw with this analogy is that we witnessed the cookies falling. We know precisely which ones to do what to with little effort. With the Syrians and potential ISIS members it is a little more difficult. We can’t make an instant judgment as to which basket they fall into. That is why the refugee placement program takes so long to complete — 18 to 24 months or longer! If we try to make a quick decision about individual people we start thinking like Trump — they are all potentially poisoned — and thus start acting like Hitler.

I do not make light of Nazi comparisons, and dislike it when others do. However, if I recall my history right. It all started with registering a group of people. Marking them as other. Will we treat the Syrians as horribly  as the Nazi’s treated the Jews? More than likely not; however, the US also rounded up people of Asian decent during that time because of the attack on Pear Harbor. All I can remember of that situation — because it was barely mentioned in my history classes — was that they were not exactly treated nicely.

What I do know is this: if we start treating the Syrians as less than humane by taking way their human rights, it will only get worse.

To paraphrase a Lorax I know: unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change. It’s just not.


Magic is Not Real: Chapter Five: “I quit”

Dear Boss Lady,

After much consideration, I have decided to resign. I have learned a lot working with this organization. Everyone here is a delight to work alongside. Yes, when I joined the team and witnessed many of my colleagues leaving shortly after, I promised you three years; however, I can’t keep that promise. 

There are many aspects of this job I will dearly miss. Mostly, the office’s laid back atmosphere. I have been spoiled with my first job in this regard. Most employers do not have such a lax flex time policy, and my next career move will not have a such lax supervision. However, I believe it is in both of our best interests to for me to move on.

When I applied for this position, you had requested someone of entry level; however, I believe that you may be better served by someone of more experience that I possess. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work with such talented people, and I wish you the best.


I thought to myself. If only it were that simple. I love working here, but I hate it too. Such conflicting emotions. Either way it is time for me to move on. Walking forward toward Magen’s office, my heartbeat quickened. A lump formed in my throat. Why can’t I quit with dignity? Here goes nothing.  My eyes begin to water.

Magic is Not Real: Chapter Four: …

There is blackness all around me. I cannot see where I am going. I cannot see what I am wearing, but it is heavy. Kind of feels like a dress. What is going on? Why can’t I see?

A single light comes on. The room is huge, and the light is far away. Still, blackness lengers. I am in a ball room, maybe? The floors are made of a dark marble. I am wearing a dress. It is a huge burgundy ball gown–possibly a medieval inspiration. My long curly red hair is done up as if I were attending a ball.

A few people start coming out of the shadows. “Your highness!” They call. I twirl around. More and more people are coming out of the shadows. “Save us!” The people call out. “Your highness come back to us! Save us! 

Sandy now steps out of the shadows. What is she doing here? She was wearing her usual black pant suit, but it was different somehow. She looked menacing. “Yes, Gen. Help them. Help them if you can, Genevieve!” She scoffed.

My skin warmed at her threat. “THESE ARE MINE!” I yelled at her. “YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM!” With my rage, came fire. First from the edges of my dress, then from the tips of my fingers. In little time, I was covered in fire. No, I was the fire. 

I focused my anger towards Sandy, and my fire followed. It shot toward her and seemed to engulf her. I focused on her with everything I had. When my rage faded, so to did the fire.  Surely, that stopped her. I thought to myself. Then the smoked cleared…

… and I heard it. Sandy’s menacing laugh. “This is why you should have never left. You are weak now. You will never be able to keep your possessions safe again! I WIN!”

I shot out of bed in a cold sweat. My sheets were soaked with sweat. “Shit” I whispered. It was just a dream.” Laying back down the bed was cold, but it was welcoming after such a night terror.

Glancing at my alarm, “It’s only 2:30.” I shut my eyes. Hoping against hope, that I could get back to sleep soon.

Magic is Not Real: Chapter 3: Office Chit-Chat

“Gen! GEN!” Someone calls my name.

“Oh, yes, Sandy?” I look away from my computer. Sandy is much taller than I am, but then that is not hard to do. I am five foot. She, five foot seven. As she walked across the office, I couldn’t help to notice how she contrasted against the room. She almost always wore a black pant suit, and her skin was as dark as obsidian.

“What is the progress on us getting a new PM?” She lazily leans on my desk. I suspect she is wanting to chat for while.

“Well, I submitted a report to management about how maxed out you all are already and included details about a few potential clients that we are likely to sign soon as well. It is the fourth quarter, and revenue is down. We are going to have to practically beg to get one. I am expecting an answer by the end of the week. How are things in your neck of the woods?”

“Busy as always! I am having trouble with our new plumbing client. He won’t return any of the team’s calls. I have been by the office 3 times this month trying to touch base, and he is always too busy. How are we supposed to get materials approved if he isn’t available! UGH.”

“I understand. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“No. I just needed someone to vent to. Thanks for listening Gen. Back to the dungeon that is my desk.”

“Okay. Not a problem. Come vent any time. It is what I am here for.” I smile as she turns and walks away.

Magic is Not Real: Chapter Two: The Drive to Work

It’s a cloudy day, and the moon is full, and I am heading to work. It’s a short drive–about 20 minutes through morning traffic on city streets. It is nice living so close to work. On a bad traffic day, it might take me 25 minutes instead. On a great traffic day, it would be 15 minutes.

My dream would be to live close enough to walk. I imagine myself walking down the street. Long, curly, bright red hair blowing in the breeze.  Just looking fab.

Back to reality. Pull up to the metro bus station. “Have a nice day at work my love,” my fiancee says to me. We kiss.

“Have a great day at school and work.” I smile. We kiss again, exchange I love yous, and he then reluctantly steps out of the car, grabs his laptop, and heads to waiting zone. This is our morning routine.

Magic is Not Real: Chapter One: The Sky

The clouds were thick this morning. Thick and grey and what can only be described as boiling over. A storm was rolling in and fast. No matter though. I could feel it. The moon was full and it was sending shivers down my arms and under my skin. It made me anxious and thrilled all at once.

Since I was a child, the moon had always been a part of me. No matter what, I knew the state of the moon. Today was no different. This magic that coursed through my veins was exhilarating, but …

Must stay focused. Magic is not real, and I am not an all-powerful MIA witch queen.  I cannot make my enemies quake with fear by the mere mention of my name. I cannot make the rulers of the world bow before me. Magic. Is. Not. Real.