Monday, May 01, 2006

This Will Sound Terrible, but

I wonder how many people's commute to work this morning was much less stressful due to fewer people commuting to work? I am all for non-violent protesting, and, in general, a vested interest in what goes on in this country politically, but it seems to me that this walk-out today may have a different effect than they protestors were going for. In fact, according to a poll at Yahoo!, something like fifty-seven percent of Americans think that the protest today will harm the immigrants' cause more than help it.

I will be interested in the coming days and weeks to see the ramifications of today's events.

I am not entirely well-educated on the subject enough to come to a formal conclusion on the matter just yet, but it seems to me that the people who are doing, arguably, some of the worst and dirtiest jobs that a person can have in this country, deserve, at least, a hearty helping of understanding and compassion, if not the minimum wage that any legal citizen would make for doing the same jobs.

On the topic of jobs, it can be argued that illegal aliens are taking all of this country's jobs, and, to an extent, this may be true in that there are an estimated eleven and a half to twelve million illegal aliens in this country. However, I have to assume that these people are the ones who are working as our janitors, field workers, and other low paying jobs. It's not like they're coming here and taking CEO and excutive jobs; they're probably not even taking other "good" jobs. If we want to point fingers about taking away jobs that Americans could do, we should point to the companies who make me talk to someone in India when I have a problem with my cell phone.

I'm just saying that the crux of the issue (the House of Reps passing a bill that would make being an illegal alien into a felony) seems a bit harsh for the people who are working to serve most of us every day.

That being said, obviously something's not right with immigration in the U.S., and tougher legislation may be part of the solution, but I don't think that it's the only solution. I think that we forget in our hubris that if the situation were reversed, that is, if Mexico had a terrifically booming economy and America were a poor nation, that many of us would probably do whatever it took to get to Mexico and secure better lives for ourselves and our families. It is at this point that I must make note of the most obvious point in the whole argument: that all of our families immigrated here at some time in the past. At the end of the day, we are all people, and that is something that we all need to remember when we are deciding how to treat a group of people less fortunate than we are.

As a footnote for those of my readers who are Christians, we also need to remember that throughout the Old Testament believers were told time and time again to protect and take care of three very specific groups of people: the widows, the orphans, and the aliens. Dispensations and other theological arguments aside, how are we achieving this by pushing them away?


Saint Me said...

Aliens AC! Not illegal immigrants. The Bible simply means Martians, Plutonians, and other such life that come from other planets. Haven't you seen E.T.? That film was basically just an acted out version of Biblical teachings.

Analyst Catalyst said...

You know, everything makes sense now! The "Flying Bicycle!" Why didn't I see it before?

Thinking in Ohio said...

That's what happens when we only read the King James Version of the Bible, Saint Me! :)

This is a big issue right now, AC. I'm glad you shared your own insights and perspective. I don't find many alien sympathizers here in Ohio... I can imagine there might be even less there in CA. Your point about role-reversals is a good one though. If Mexico were the richest nation in the world and I were living in a depressed economy I'm sure I'd be trying to get inside as well. Unless, of course, it was a felony to do so! In some sense, a lot of illegal immigrants may feel cheated, having the laws switched on them mid game.

Everything I've read (Newsweek mag mostly) or heard (NPR mostly) insists that America needs these workers, that they keep our service economy on track and our prices down. Like you, I don't think middle class Americans have anything to fear here. But we all feel the need to protect "our own" which doesn't include other races... too bad. That's not justification, that's a confession for our nation.

Great article

Saint Me said...

I like this Ohio guy. He's funny.