He called in the evening. Used the familiar “tu” instead of the formal “vous“; explained he admired the man’s “reasonable attitude”. Justified his inaction – because inaction was the last thing to call it, he said. He had acted. He had informed the higher-ups of a willingness to take in refugees from one specific country making headlines. The higher-ups hadn’t sent any. Therefore, he’d done his share, had he not? He left his personal phone number, invited the person to a sit-down, if he had any questions (or reasonable concerns soluble in reasonable answers).
The person described as reasonable is none too keen on a sit-down. An understandable reaction, considering “reasonable” in this context belongs to the hypnotist’s bag of tricks. “Reasonable” means: rocking the boat makes everyone seasick. Lie down, lie low, let the captain steer. The captain knows these waters. You don’t.
The captain is right, of course. He does not navigate by the stars. He navigates according to the very latest charts provided by none other than the higher ups. This is what reasonable people do.
Which is a bitch for those unreasonable ones who insist on pointing out live bodies struggling in the waves. The live bodies aren’t on the charts. If you keep your eyes firmly on the charts, the live bodies soon disappear. (At this point, I’m tempted to enter this post under the A post to keep afloat category; maybe I will. Why not? A bit of amusement never hurt anyone.)
The seafaring image only works so far though. We are on land. Not that far from the sea, but in a land-locked area nonetheless. The unreasonable question that comes to mind is: what does the reasonable one suggest be done with people – call them Wet, Bedraggled, Lost and Confused – who stand at the doorstep on a cold and rainy night?
’tis a bitch. ’tis a bitch indeed – life that is, as it plays in real time. Call them migrants, call them refugees or call them illegals, the traveling ones are big business all the way up and down the food chain. If your country borders Europe, there’s billion euro deals to be made as border police. If you own a shack somewhere, there’s undeclared rent money you can collect by cramming in as many bodies as possible. Food, water, clothes, birth certificates, passports, flotation devices of every description – rich, rich pickings. If you’re reasonable. If you’re philosophical. And so on. And so on.
So. You let the captain be? You point to the stars that say that – in your humble opinion – this isn’t the right direction? In passing and with all due respect, you mention the cliff, looming straight ahead? The heads bobbing alongside the boat? You grasp a few outstretched hands? But there’s still that damn cliff, looming closer and closer, and…