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All our grandchildren delighted in a book entitled “The Mitten,” a Ukrainian tale illustrated and adapted by Ian Brett. Upon their demands, my wife read it dozens of times.

It's a fairly simple story; a boy loses one of the mittens his grandmother has just knitted for him, a mole finds it in the snow, decides it would make a fine dwelling, and moves in. Later, along hops a rabbit and follows suit. Next, a badger crowds in with the others, and the progression of new occupants continues until a bear takes up residence. When the bear sneezes, the mitten blows up into the air, and all the animals are homeless again.

It occurred to me that the mitten serves well as a metaphor for how some individuals view our United States of America; that our capacity and resources are limitless and that we can absorb and provide indefinitely for any number of arrivals. A child's common sense suffices to make the idea absurd and laughable, but I worry that the tale might prove a parable for an abused nation — if ever governed by less that children's common sense.

Larry Stanfel

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