Black Mirror and Roaches

It was so terribly cold this past weekend, so after watching my NFL team lose not only a game but also their hold on first place in the division, I decided to watch a newly found series that I’ve become addicted to on Netflix: Black Mirror

If you haven’t seen it, it’s… well, freaky. I don’t know exactly how to describe it. Drama? Absolutely. Sci-fi? Sometimes. Fiction? Possibly. It’s like a burrito… a lot of good things all rolled up into one.

But the episode I watched yesterday was of particular interest. It was called “Man against Fire”, which really reveals little about the actual story. (Though after watching it, I get it.) It was set in the future a few years and the military was trying to eradicate “roaches”… humans that had become filled with all sorts of unwanted characteristics, genetics and DNA, behaviors, diseases, etc. Thus, they were outcasts from society, forced to live wherever they could, steal food and basic needs, and were hunted by the government.

Along the way, one of the military troops was exposed to a light that gave him an ability to see who these people really were. With his new vision, he could see that they looked just like everyone else; they weren’t monsters at all. In fact, they were quite probably the result of a government experiment gone wrong, and that’s why the government had waged war upon them.

So… look in the mirror. As registered citizens, we’re all seen as monsters; some sort of sub-species filled with terrible desires, urges, genetic undesirables who want nothing but inappropriate relationships with children. Yes, we are the “roaches”. We are the outcasts that no one wants and legislators (government) continues its efforts to push us further and further out.

Every now and then, someone comes along and is “blessed” with the vision to see that we are just like most other people. We’ve made mistakes, and most of us have chosen to get our lives back together again. But the government continues to tell everyone how terrible and dangerous we are. No matter how wrong the perception may be, it is the most popular viewpoint and the masses just follow along like lemmings.

People don’t know much about us, individually, or the challenges we face. They don’t understand how laws have been written to punish, or how our constitution has been attacked. If they knew, my heart tells me that they would see things differently. Most don’t know that we are continually deprived of another right or another liberty that we enjoyed just months ago, or that things we could enjoy after paying our debt have now been taken away. When I was convicted, there was no such thing as the AWA or the IML. I could still travel the world and sponsor my fiancé into the US. But that’s been taken away even years after my conviction.

People’s eyes are beginning to open. Attorneys, judges and human rights defenders are beginning to see the assault on our rights, our constitution and the collateral damage created by these laws. They are beginning to see that we are not “roaches” or monsters. We are people who have made mistakes, but still deserve our share in the American dream. More than that, we still deserve to be treated as humans and given the rights and liberties that are given, and fought for, around the world.

In a strange twist of fate, they are now the ones who have begun to look into the horrible legislation that has passed, and into the mirror and ask “What have we done?” Let’s hope they make better decisions and better laws this time.


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