Both lines of my family experienced extreme injustice at the hands of the government. Sometimes people are like, Meiling, Dude, You're so dramatic! And in my head, I'm thinking: Have you heard the same stories I heard all my life? Did the American government take away your great-grandparents' livelihood? Did the Chinese government take away your grandparents' land and force them out of their own country? My understanding of "extreme" and "drama" are freaking extreme and dramatic!
So yeah, in 1933, the American government passed something called the Agricultural Adjustment Act. This act effectively wiped out livelihood in my great-grandparents' lives. They were ranchers, and the Act -- the government -- took away many of their cattle. After a couple of years, the Act was declared unconstitutional. Read more about it in this Encyclopedia.com article http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic
Agricultural_Adjustment_Administration.aspx. Wessel's Living History Farm's page about the topic at http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_11.html says that although the Supreme Court declared the Act unconstitutional, the "basic program was rewritten and again passed into law." In my family, what it amounted to, according to my father, is that my great-grandfather didn't get any remuneration for his loss. So, the government took away this man's cattle. Then it declared its own law illegal. Then he didn't get any money back. My dad says that my great-grandfather didn't recover from this financial setback. He went out to the oil fields to work -- not as an oil man, as another role. There was an accident in the field, and a piece of equipment hit my great-grandfather in the head, gave him a concussion from which he did not recover. He died soon thereafter. My great-grandmother was left to care for the family.
On my mom's side, my grandmother was born into a wealthy family, a line of scholars. Her mom died when she was two years old and she had two older step brothers. When the Communist party took over, it took away my grandmother's home. Then, as wartime China progressed, the Communists became stronger as her husband, my grandfather, fought against them as a Naval officer. When it became clear that the Communists were about to take over the country, my grandmother fled. Walked. Until her shoes had holes in them. She wrapped sandals around her feet -- sandals from those who'd passed -- and kept walking, walking to flee war. A soldier held a gun to another soldier's head, forced him to carry my grandmother's children -- my mom, my uncle -- when her body could not do so any longer. Then the Communist party closed China's doors for 30 years. Only after my mother moved to the United States and wrote letters to China did she find my uncles. One alive and well. The other alive, survived bacterial meningitis, speech affected to this day.
Things are atrociously unfair sometimes. I've lived life with these realities as the backbone of my existence. And now, well -- I'd like to remember the stories, live for justice. When the anger and unfairness arise, I'd like to remember that there is meaning and purpose in this life. I want to be active, kind, wise. What do you want to be?
Well hello there.