Refusing to Be Bullied

Ursula K. Le Guin, photo by Marian Wood KolischRefusing to Be Bullied

by Ursula K. Le Guin

The manic speed and vindictiveness of the Republican attack on American core values and institutions make it all too easy for us, the majority opposition, to feel defeated — hopeless. This article is a good antidote.

It’s appropriate that the city of Santa Ana, with its long, deep Mexican-American heritage, its fourth and fifth-generation Mexican-American families, and its sympathetic State government, achieved this genuine victory over prejudice, this refusal of obedience to a hateful, cruel federal policy.

But don’t think it was easy, even there, to do so. Becoming a Sanctuary City isn’t just a matter of words, it takes real commitment, long and steady resolve, and determined hope, to resist and keep resisting the politicians and interests that seek power by supporting those shameful policies, and the misguided citizens who imagine they will gain profit or status from them.

I wish with all my heart that my city, Portland, Oregon, would follow the lead of Santa Ana — stand by its hard-working Mexican-American population, and let all its citizens share the honor of refusing to be bullied into bowing to the orders of a bigoted administration.

¡Nadie es ilegal!


P.S. I was unfair in this final paragraph. Portland did declare itself a sanctuary city a while back, as our new mayor, Ted Wheeler, reminded us in an editorial in The Oregonian, Jan. 29, 2017

I took this declaration as well-intentioned but little else. To be more than a feel-good announcement, it must be implemented with effective instructions to the police, effective provisions for actual sanctuary for people whose documentation is in question, and so forth — a very big commitment, that will inevitably rouse loud and angry opposition. But I was wrong to assume that my city had not made that commitment, and truly hope that it will make and keep it.

March 8, 2017



Refusing to Be Bullied — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you, dear Ursula, for this, and for Anita Endrezze’s poem. (See Ursula’s February 3 Post) Reading them both this morning while it is still dark, the rain and wind battering the house, I can imagine enough of us rising up to reverse what is happening. We must.

  2. Hello,
    Can not say how much your novel “Left hand of darkness” meant to me as a young woman in her teens. Now at 62 (a Canadian citizen) I happened to discover this site. I have always loved science fiction, and hoped the future held a better life for all! Your country is struggling and it will be the commitment of all who love this blue planet to define a better path to the future. Thank you for showing us the right path to take!

  3. Dear Ursula. I am a psychologist who is live in Turkey. Me and my boyfriend ( he is also a psychologist too) are love you so much. We had origins from arabic culture but living at Turkish culture. And i am sorry for my poor english writing. We working freud and jung so hard lately. And have many ideas about the word of unbinding and other stories to earthsea abut psychological manner and related local legends and stories. I dont know why i am writing you right now. But this is so enormous

  4. Ms. LeGuin,

    I think you may have forgotten that the Governor Brown of State of Oregon issued an executive order in February about sanctuary for the state and all its cities and towns.

    In addition the state passed a law (2013 ORS 181.850)

    Here’s a link to The Oregonian story on the Executive Order signing:

    And here’s the state law:

    The law and executive order essentially obviate the necessity for individual cities and towns in Oregon to have their own sanctuary policies.

    I am a proud immigrant to the State of Oregon and The People’s Republic of Portland.