Thursday, October 6, 2011

...Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary... --Steve Jobs, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Let's get rational about IMMIGRATION:
>>I wrote this and posted it elsewhere a couple of years before moving it here,
but although other issues have up-staged this one, the situation has hardly changed.<<
The United States is basically a nation of immigrants.  Even the "Native Americans" who preceded the Western Europeans by many centuries probably migrated here.  I have many friends who were born in other nations and moved here for various reasons.  I married one, and she has since become a naturalized citizen.  Some of my friends even came here illegally, because they saw no other way and their situation was dire.  I understand their reasons and sympathize with them.  I will vote for reform of the laws, and improvement to the bureaucracy, and what ever leniency and accommodations are deemed fair and equitable by our electorate. I can not, however, countenance the brazenly irresponsible calls I hear for blanket amnesty, nor the inane babblings about a "guest worker program" when we already have one.  It's called an H-1 visa.  To simply call "king's X" for all the current crop of illegal immigrants is to invite another wave of scoff-laws on their heels, and is an insult to my friends and relatives who went to the trouble of immigrating legally, many of whom have struggled for years to gain citizenship.  I recently received an editorial which may illuminate this subject:

[begin guest editorial] Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the [United States] protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part). If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest, um, except for well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me!! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker.
Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me. [end guest editorial]

I enjoy learning languages and discovering cultures foreign to my own, but I find it selfish, lazy and ego-centric of any immigrant to demand that government documents like ballots and tax forms be translated into languages other than English.  The right to vote entails a responsibility to understand the issues, and demands the due diligence of becoming fluent in
the language of broad public discourse in which those issues are framed.
If I went to France and complained about having to speak French, they would simply laugh at me.  The same goes for almost any nation on earth except the United States.  I believe that our fear of the '
tyranny of the majority' has led us to such excessive plurality that a 'tyranny of the minorities' is crippling us. We are ever more gridlocked by the many-headed-animal syndrome, giving veto power to parochial partisans simply because they have the chutzpah to brand themselves disenfranchised.
It is true that laziness and greed are rampant in modern America.  It is also true that our self-indulgence has been a factor in creating the immigration problems we face today, as well as our difficulties with the Middle East and drug trafficking, but "legalizing" more drugs, or more subsidized labor, or polygamy will not save us.
We need to do what Americans have always done best: roll up our sleeves, face our (best and worst) selves and get to work. Work out better ways to get crops harvested and move goods, make the immigration system work, and the same for the schools and the kids in them, and most of all their parents- yes, you and me. We can do it. Our parents (and/or grandparents) did wonders with willpower, ingenuity and sweat. Can we afford to do less?