Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to the Melting Pot

My father’s parents came to this country from Italy in 1911. When they stepped off the boat at Ellis Island some illustrious jackass with the Department of Immigration stamped W.O.P on the back of their hands. Strictly speaking they were illegals, "without papers." If they were in Arizona today they would go to jail and be deported I suppose.

Our immigration policy (old and new) is the craziest mess in the history of societal screw ups, based upon the assumption that immigrants are a threat to America's way of life. It seems to me that the Mexican immigrants are basically after what generations of immigrants have been after before them. My dad used to say that it all boiled down to food and a way to earn it.

Nevertheless, on one side of the modern immigrant is a group of murderous career criminals whose existence in Mexico has become endemic largely because their products - drugs and smuggled human beings - have become endemic in the United States. On the other side of the immigrant population U.S. citizens are feeling frightened and under siege by the breaching of a porous border. Some are bigots. Some are being manipulated by politicians who have used immigration for decades to instill resentment and terror in their constituents. In my grandfather’s day all Italians were greasy criminals and anarchists. I have to believe that there are also some decent people in Arizona who living in the hardest times they have ever known are simply worried that what little they have will be taken from them, including the ability to work and even their lives.

The federal government surrounds this damn muddle like a filthy swamp. Scores of our leaders stand with a microphone in their face posturing, pontificating and promising blindly. The only thing that concerns most of Congress is getting reelected indefinitely so that they might die in office or perhaps be buried under their desks like sacred relics. Thus, it is impossible for many of them to behave with any kind of courage - to recognize the right thing much less do the right thing.

Suckling at the under belly of the immigration issue are legions of employers who support the flow of illegal laborers that they can work to death and pay next to nothing. I don’t hear a lot about these vultures even though they are the catalysts of what I shudder to think is an impending explosion.

There is no question that the law passed in Arizona is a tragedy waiting to happened. I guess a tragedy is what it will take to get the attention of our recalcitrant, insensitive, even negligent lawmakers. I am always hearing Obama and the lawyers in Congress chant that this is a nation of laws, not people - a concept that I find fairly toxic on its face. Having said that, if the lawmakers are not making laws because they are paralyzed with partisanship or terrified of being jettisoned from office do we still have a nation?

The current White House is adamant that they will not get into immigration this year. Let’s not have another health care, Mr. President. This issue is important if not politically correct. Over the last year and some months I have felt the wind of calamity blowing across my heart. I hope that Arizona’s law will not provide the backdrop for that calamity to play out simply because Obama and other politicians are watching their butts when they ought to be watching the racists and the border.

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