Refugee rush to the border is a defining moment

Who are we?

That question seems to be the unanswered underpinning of many of the attempts to understand the nation since Election Day 2016.

Indivisible Radio, for example, has been an intriguing, though I submit largely unsuccessful, attempt to find common ground in a nation that is too sharply divided to be interested in finding any.

The question of finding common ground is too advanced. A more basic question is: who are we? What do we value? What kind of people are we and what kind do we want to be?

We don’t know who we are. We don’t recognize ourselves anymore. We are not, to paraphrase Denny Green, who we thought we were.

Well, unless you recognize yourself and your neighbors in the ongoing story of the refugees who kept walking to Canada in the most recent devastating and death-inducing blizzard.

There’s not a lot new in the story, which has been well covered by MPR News, the Winnipeg Free Press, the CBC, Macleans, and other news organizations.

But there’s still a mystery that’s unsolved. Who is driving people to within a few miles of the border, and then telling them to fend for themselves in the weather that could easily kill them?

Another 17 crossed during the blizzard, the Post says, although there is some dispute about the actual number.

The migrants found near Emerson (Manitoba) told firefighters they had been dropped off near the border and walked for about an hour through the snowy prairie before someone called Canadian authorities.

“Even an hour in this wind and this weather is a long time,” French told reporters afterward. “We got them out of the elements right away and into a warm place.”

One person was taken to a hospital and treated for a broken arm, firefighters said. The others were checked for hypothermia and frostbite, then turned over to the Canadian Border Services Agency for processing. The 1-year-old was not injured, Global News reported.

Who would turn a pregnant woman and a 1-year-old loose in a blizzard in Minnesota? The CBC reported that the small group was rescued from a shed on Wednesday morning. One person had broken an arm in the trek.

Last December, some men lost fingers from frostbite on the short journey. For seven hours they tried to get help by the side of the road.

Nobody stopped to help.

This is who we are?