Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Randomness of Birthrights

I'd really like to write about what we did today...while at the same time, I
think I need some time to process it mentally before it's ready for public
consumption. We had a very busy day. Before it had even started, the plan
had already gone through about three iterations, with early boat ops
combined with logistics runs that then got changed to just a personnel drop
off then moving quickly into receiving migrants from an FRC and another boat
run to complete the personnel transfer (both inbound and outbound) and
setting up the tent on the foc'sle because the flight deck was filling up
and then receiving more migrants from another FRC and having the logistics
run work out well just differently than what we had planned and then another
transfer of migrants off to another FRC for repatriation tomorrow and one
more boat run tonight to take people ashore. 

Those are the broad strokes, anyway. I thought lots today about how the life
I live comes down in so many ways to the arbitrariness of my birthplace. The
most significant difference between me and the people trying to come into
the US illegally by the maritime route is simply that I was born in the US
and they were not. It has little to do with hard work, intelligence, or
tenacity. Because, while those are definitely traits within me that have
gotten me to the success I enjoy, without my original stroke of luck to be
born a US citizen, I would not have had the same opportunities to turn those
traits into standing on the deck of a Coast Guard ship, telling other
hardworking, intelligent, tenacious people they had to find another way to
success this day. Imagining myself without that birthright, it's easy to see
me in their shoes. 

Now, at the end of this very busy day, that helps me with two things: being
so very grateful for the fluke of my existence, the happenstance of
privilege, the benefits of opportunity I did nothing more to earn that be
born in a free country; and finding that much more compassion for each
individual as they come onboard. It's easy to get frustrated with the
constant press and the stress of having so many people to look after,
figuring out all the logistics of keeping them safe while keeping ourselves
safe, that every reminder and illustration of our common humanity gets me
that much further through the day.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

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