There are conversations and convolutions abounding, scandals of the moment clogging the airwaves and whistle-blowers become traitors by stepping on efforts to preserve American freedom by informing the Chinese government that the NSA is spying on them. As ever, the 24 hour news cycles elevates the sound and the fury, whether it is good or ill, factual or spin, all for the accumulation of ad dollars, all for the dollars.
This pursuit of profit is as American as apple pie, and we won’t disparage it. However, the noise in the media that stems from the pursuit can serve to cloud what’s vital, what’s important, in favor of sensationalism, distracting us from vital issues.
The vital issue I’m considering this week, even as we actively debate Edward Snowden is this: Should America send all its Latinos back to Mexico?
This week the White House backed immigration reform bill passed its first vote test. The Senate voted to overwhelmingly, 82-15 in favor of moving ahead on the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill. This is one of the most critical pieces of legislation to come before Congress in years, in all honesty, right along with a host of other important issues that this Congress and this Administration have had to tackle during this, the Obama era.
As an aspiring critical thinker it is incumbent upon me to always remember that the path to wisdom is brightly illuminated by the light of perspective. As such, I must always remember that I am not thinking critically if I do not consider differing perspectives. I must remember that the hallmark of the critical thinker is the sincere ability to seek to understand and internalize the perspective of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically or even violently opposed to your own.
With that consideration I take on the perspective of the more virulent and extremist aspects of the Conservative movement and truly consider what many of them are perfectly willing to express face-to-face, “ship them Mexicans back to Mexico.”
Send the Latinos back home to Mexico where they belong. Put them on buses and get them out of this country. Why? Because Latinos commit almost as much crime as Black people (Almost as much, but not more. Blacks are the most criminal-minded and criminally pre-disposed species on the Earth, dogs behave better than Black people).
If we consider immigration reform it must be about protecting and preserving America for Americans, not a bunch of illegal people who want to come here and take everything we’ve built for free. We don’t have to make generalizations. We can list what’s wrong with the Latinos.
Latinos suck up all government services. Latinos don’t pay taxes. Latinos are ruining the job market and are taking all the jobs for less pay. Latinos are here illegally and are breaking the law by where they put their foot down on American soil. For this, they are in violation and should be punished, the least of which would be to put them on a bus and ship them south of the border back home. Latinos are ruining the educational system by sucking up school dollars and hindering the schools, preventing them from providing better educational opportunities for real Americans. To put it quite simply, Latinos need to leave America, unless of course they are true Latin-Americans who are actually from the United States of America.
The litany of nastiness almost made me vomit. It is part and parcel to the shallow parts of our humanity, and speaks to the lowest aspect of that which is American. A part of us shares its origin with that peculiar rot at the root of America, racism, hate, slavery, and the cultural aberrations it created, that reverberate still, hundreds of years later. People, this is not what it means to be American. This is not the best of us. This is not the American ideal.
First, not all Latin people that currently reside in America are from Mexico. Mexicans claim the term Hispanic. Many Latinos identify with a Caribbean origin. The point is, like everyone else, we should respect their cultural identity and call them as they wish to be called, with no rancor or angst.
I have a tremendous love for the Latin culture and people, the same love I have for my own ethnicity, the same love and tremendous interest I have for human beings all over the world. This is the critical thinking perspective I choose to embrace simply because I must.
I have considered the opposing perspective, filled with invective, vitriol, and antagonism covered in the phrases border security, defense, and rule of law. I have considered them and found them wonting. They are rooted in hate and a sincere fear of change, a world where the varying colors of brown predominate on American soil, not light tan, bright white, or even soft orange.
At the crux of the immigration reform, debate is providing a path to citizenship for the immigrants who are already here illegally. When you discuss this issue with others, talk about the rule of law, and ask sincere questions around why it would not be a good idea to allow the person who cuts your grass, cleans your toilet, cooks your food, builds your house, or your corporate tower, or picks your fruit, or processes your meat, why should this person who is doing nothing more than working diligently to realize a meaningful life within the historical well-known American dream, why should we deny this person citizenship in our great country?
And just to be clear, tell them because they broke the law is not good enough. Ask them what price would they pay for freedom and prosperity for themselves and their children? What price would they pay?
Let’s reconsider the points of consideration that made me want to vomit.
Latinos do not suck up all government services. Latinos use the services that they can such as education to further the lives of the children. This is an activity that actually inculcates them into American culture and expands American prosperity through investing in their growth and well-being. These children are Hispanic-Americans and they represent tomorrow. Why would we be so stupid as to marginalize them?
And just to be clear, White Americans of all types of ethnicities still comprise the absolute largest aggregate number of people consuming government services, not Blacks, not Native-Americans, not Latinos, but white people. Yes, whether they are abusers or valid users white people use the most services, including welfare. Conservatives would do well to remember this during the next apoplectic fit of extremism about folks getting over for free.
Latinos pay taxes, just like everybody else. They pay taxes on gas. They pay sales tax. They pay taxes on goods and services. They would gladly pay income and property tax if we let them. Can you imagine how much we would expand our tax base if we allowed them to pay income taxes? The deficit would be gone overnight. However, in order to realize such a gain we must make them legal.
Latinos are not ruining the job market. If anything Latinos are bolstering the job market by ensuring the continuity of the economic cycle of production of consumption. Americans for the most part are not interested in working in kitchens, cleaning bathrooms, picking fruit and vegetables in the hot sun, packing meat, mowing lawns, building houses, or constructing skyscrapers. This manual labor is important, and our immigrants are willing to do it for such a small part of the American dream. Why deny them this work, especially when we benefit so greatly.
I’ve heard that some Republican Congressman demand that people not talk about the Statue of Liberty or the poem The New Colossus that’s on the base of Lady Liberty. Such a demand is unconscionable and completely un-American. Such a Congressman does not belong in Congress. The poem at Lady Liberty’s feet defines what is core to the American ideal. This poem is so noble and powerful it bears rereading right now:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This poem embodies America.
It washes away the indignity of that peculiar root of slavery in our national origin. Our aspirations to uphold that ideal continuously wage winning combat against racism, intolerance, and prejudice. The New Colossus enfolds the Declaration of Independence and girds The United States Constitution. It is us! And by adhering to its words we preserve the American ideal. To do anything less, is not American.
The diversity of ethnicity and the difference in ideas are what made and will continue to make America great. Even as we seek to consistently rewrite history to suit the needs of a given era and agenda, the base facts of American history speak loudly and unequivocally to the value inherent in all Americans not matter their circumstance or origin.
Consider these words in the weeks to come as America debates its conscious on Capitol Hill. Consider these words and truly see the team of Hispanics in your posh restaurant cooking your food. Consider these words when next you see a group of Latin men pouring concrete to form a curb, and cut the grass, and edge the yard, and trim the shrubbery. Consider these words critically. And recall that it truly takes all Americans make America great.