When a Guatemalan family borrows money to pay a coyote to, hopefully safely, smuggle one of their children into the United States, we might yet hear the talking heads refer to it as the search for a better life. Perhaps. More likely it is done out of deep despair. Despair from seeing year after year of failed crops, of failed government, of their country being a failed nation, …. That’s despair, as in the lack of any hope; despair as in desperate.
Despair is not foreign to our shores. Across America, for almost two generations now, we’ve seen too many good paying jobs disappear from our towns and cities; our towns dry up and blow away, our intercities fall farther into disrepair and decay; too many of our own have fallen into despair. Here, in America, we are but yet in the early, hopefully reversible, stages of also becoming a failed government, a failed nation. Here, we see pockets of the escape to drugs, of the resorting to crime, that the citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, have too long seen in abundance.
Most of us, it seems, would like to improve our lot. For the average American, this might mean working a little harder, taking a few night courses, taking the boss fishing, … These are really just trade offs. But, borrowing every cent you can possible borrow and selling your few possessions so that your child just might possibly get a shot at life, that’s a whole different level of like, of want; that’s despair.