On immigrants: legal and illegal ...
Has immigration reform as a threat to the well-being of America been the same kind of lie as the myth of massive welfare fraud that needed to be cleaned up by Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay?
... that political anger-maker that fed off citizen's limited perceptions of welfare queens, lazy single mothers and deadbeat dads lurking on welfare rolls all over the country?
Has immigration in fact been a Republican talking point that attempted to capitalize on semi-attentive knee-jerk reactions from angry white voters; that drew in Democrats who are now perceptually trapped with an exaggerated issue fueled by the likes of Lou Dobbs and Tommy Tancredo?
The reality is that public welfare was something less than the looming cause of national economic failure in the 90's. In reality what was needed was a reformation of a government system of handouts that enabled apathy and discouraged initiative on the part of all welfare recipients rather than the proclaimed need to round up a huge wild herd of welfare frauders.
The impact of public welfare on the national GNP and budget has always been more or less a minor percentage of the GNP - especially when compared to questionable defense spending coupled with the massive corporate welfare that has so demolished the wonderfulness of unrestricted free-market corporate capitalism.
But in the Republican Congressional 90's the pretend contract-with-America politicians - needing fodder on which to tread with their upwardly mobile inflammatory jack boots - told us that it was okay to belittle and disrespect the poor.
We were told by broadcast stampeders like Flush Limbaugh to be indignant. ("of course MY child could never be one of those welfare addicts. How could that child ever humiliate ME? Of course I'm for Welfare Reform!)
With immigrants today aren't we really left with the bad seed idea that the flow of illegal immigrants into this country has been a major contributor to our finding ourselves on the verge of economic and political collapse?
... because we don't have a Berlin wall on our borders keeping the pestilence out?
For every "Berlin wall-advocate" I'd like to see an acknowledgement - not of the criminality of businesses that unknowingly hire illegals - but the political criminality of demonizing workers with families who pay taxes for which they cannot get refunds since their ss#'s are false.
"We hate illegals but we sure do love the taxes they pay!" Isn't that a form of unwilling reverse graft of the Abramoff ilk?
I'd like to at the same time see an acknowledgement that the same illegal-alien-acquired tax revenue is part of the entire tax base from which Rethuglicans continuously siphoned cash for their corporate managers.
If one's political thinking never evolves to the kind of depth and modest sophistication that sees through the inflammatory fog of bull that exaggerates the immigration issue, one remains a mere civic dupe who self-consciously agrees with liars who make a fragile no-substance mountain out of a molehill.
From my own experience as a Caucasian bi-lingual social worker in a sate welfare office, the only American citizens whining about immigration reform are mostly the laziest native born gringo/jingoist Americans who moan about not being able to find a job because the Mexicans took them all.
These are the same folks who have always claimed that it wasn't economically feasible for them to look for a job at the minimum wage rather than get off welfare. This in a state where the current minimum wage is $8.07 per hour.
These lazy I-don't-want-a-job-I-want-free-government-money Americans are the closest you'll ever come to seeing a low-income Republican. You know, Americans who act like their national political role models who themselves proclaim one false thing in order to pursue another more lucrative true thing: hard earned tax dollars - the fruits of someone else's labor to which they have no justifiable moral claim.
As a gringo myself who pays attention to demographics and the Hispanic culture in which I have family, part of me looks forward to the day when Hispanics and non-whites outnumber jingoes - er, gringos.
Because for Hispanics, Asians and other American sub-cultures in which which more and more citizens are being born, there remains ample substance of CULTURE and a consistent value system that reflects positive cultural mores around behavior, responsibility and respect (especially respect for parents and senior citizens).
Unfortunately, non-white American cultural values have tended to recede as children grow up hypnotized by what passes for a quality American dream; that consuming shallowness that replaced more anchoring family traditions. One example is how America's newest generation of grown children represent a consumption-prioritized citizenry that stops, looks and listens every time a nursing home advertises how easy it would be to buy your way out of taking care of your elders.
Another example of jingoism disgracing a nation is the notion that those who come here must speak English or die.
In my experience, I've seen impending deaths of non-English speaking human beings averted only because they sought and found someone in the state or hospital bureaucracy who could speak their language and listen to them talk about their own, their child's or their parent's health problem before it was too late.
Mass jingoistic stupidity pretends that the real Americans must entirely do all their business in one language.
In the most naive of ways, advocates of English-only reveal the shallowness of their civic sense; their blindness to the source of a lot of the positives that comprise our physical and social infrastructure developed throughout our history by non-English speaking cultures and families who moved here to do just that.
How many believe that all that America is and has accomplished was done by human beings who spoke only English? How many believe that the greatest threat to America's security is a cultural bilingual ability that dilutes the economic, military and diplomatic power generated by speaking English exclusively?
How many see camels swallowed whole and gnats creating hernias?
There is nothing dumber than the notion that "My immigrant ancestors had to learn English and these are no better" ought to be a federal law of conditions and exclusion. Those very ancestors learned English as a matter of expediency, need and genuine willingness to adapt and enter our society; not because of any law passed by jingoist stupidity that would have robbed the country of its greatest human assets.
Ancestors of modern jingoists didn't survive because the loud-mouthed jingoists of their own time refused to talk to them. They survived DESPITE the stupidity.
We don't have a mountain of a problem with immigration in this country.
We have a mountain of a problem with gullible sons and daughters - both elected and unelected - who are descendants from immigrants and can't remember the truth of their own historical roots.