Political Correctness Run Amok

Now I am all for increasing awareness of the often subtle and hidden prejudices that are the elements of our society.

And I understand that issues such a transgenderism, sexual orientation, and gender identity are complex issues often lost in the political hyperbole of the moment.

But I do think there is a difference between what is necessary and what is kowtowing to fear of offending anyone.

(Interestingly enough when I ran Word’s editor against this piece it also flagged thug. It offered no suggestions but even thugs need the inclusivity hug.)

In the course of my writing, I use a number of programs to do grammar and spell check. While editing a recent project for a client author, Microsoft Word flagged the following as an “Inclusiveness” issue.

Flagging the line “illegal alien” Word suggested the replacement “undocumented immigrant.”

I never realized Word had a category for “Inclusiveness” in the editor function.

Now Dictionary.com defines immigrant as:

“a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence”

While it defines illegal alien as:

“a foreigner who enters the U.S. without an entry or immigrant visa, especially a person who crosses the border by avoiding inspection or who overstays the period of time allowed as a visitor, tourist, or businessperson.”

Thus, it hardly seems a reasonable suggestion given the obvious difference between the terms.

I have empathy for those so desperate for safety for themselves and their families that they risk a treacherous journey to reach the United States. I have empathy for those who provided aid to American troops in countries like Afghanistan and were promised our assistance should they need to leave their country. I have empathy for those who are the victims of totalitarian regimes, victims of gang violence, or threatened with kidnapping and murder at the hands of thugs.

(Interestingly enough when I ran Word’s editor against this piece it also flagged thug. It offered no suggestions but even thugs need the inclusivity hug.)

Those people deserve our help. They deserve to claim asylum and seek recourse under the law and we should do everything in our power to ensure those who are eligible for such asylum receive it.

But…that does not include those who would come here simply because there is more opportunity with no intention of seeking either citizenship or contributing to the multi-cultural juggernaut that makes America great. They are not immigrants by any definition of the word, undocumented or not.

Now at the risk of becoming the latest victim of another politically correct phenomenon, cancel culture (the subject of another column soon), there is no inclusivity needed for someone who comes to this country illegally with no intention of ever seeking a legal recourse for remaining here.

I think I will be more judicious in relying on Word or any other program to determine what or who should be entitled to inclusivity.

An Immodest Proposal: Catch and Re-Lease

In 1729, Jonathan Swift, an Irish cleric better known for his work Gulliver’s Travels, wrote an essay entitled,

“A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick”

 It is more commonly known as A Modest Proposal.  Swift, seeking a way to deal with the starving people and abject poverty of Ireland, came up with a unique, if controversial, idea.

Since one can always learn from the past, I submit this Immodest Proposal for your consideration  in dealing with the Extraordinary Danger posed by the invasion of our country by those illegally crossing our borders, stealing all the good jobs, raping and pillaging (even if they are caught) because of our “catch and release” policy.

Here is An Immodest Proposal for Preventing the Poor Immigrant People from Being a Burden to America and For Making them Beneficial to our Economy (although I hear it is already perfect.)

It seems our efforts at stemming the tidal wave, nay tsunami, of people crossing our border under the mistaken idea we welcome these teeming masses yearning to be free has been only failure.

We have tried kindness and understanding, and still they came.

We put the National Guard on the borders, and still they came.

We built a wall (and rebuilding it as soon as part of it fell into Mexico,) and still they came,

We snatched their children holding them as hostages to discourage others from coming, and still they came.

It’s time we turned these lemons into lemonade. For what level of desperation must they feel to face not only our indignation and revulsion for their daring to embrace the dream of freedom but to ignore every effort we’ve made to stop them?

I have the perfect solution.

Instead of catch and release, we catch them and then lease and re-lease them to do all those jobs Americans are not willing to do.

We can lease and re-lease them to farms, at costs far lower than minimum wage, and thus lower the cost of agricultural products.

We can lease and re-lease them to cities and towns to clean the highways, collect trash, maintain the sidewalks, sweep the streets (at night to be out of sight of most citizens) thus reducing taxes and improving our living environment.

We can lease and re-lease them to companies who need massive amounts of labor to fill all those newly created jobs (after all Americans have first dibs, of course) and the lower labor cost will reduce the price of all those Amazon orders.

The cost savings will translate into lower taxes, put more money in the hands of “real & true” Americans, and eliminate all those pairs of sneakers hanging from telephone lines which is a blight on our land.

We can take some of them and use them to care for the children too young to work and supplement our own daycare facilities to lower day care costs.

Some might claim, this is slavery. I disagree.  We did not ask them to come here. We’ve made a tremendous effort to discourage them, yet still they came. It would be reasonable to conclude their ignoring our objections to their coming here amounts to volunteering.

We might even put a light at the end of the tunnel.  Say after ten or twenty years of toiling for our mutual benefit, they would be entitled to either a path to citizenship or a free ticket home.

Absent concurrence with my suggestion, we could always revert to Swift’s original idea. More difficult to sell but would accomplish the same honorable purpose.

When did America Become a Land of Cowards?

When did this country become a land of cowards? This is not the America I
knew. Americans do not fear those seeking asylum. We do not demonize those who seek a new life in America.

We used to welcome such people. Now we fear them because we put blinders on in the face of reason.

We used to take on separating out those who deserve asylum from those
seeking to take advantage of our open generosity. Now we label all as criminals, with no basis in fact, and stick them in cages.

ChildWorse yet, we separate them from their children and cage them. If our goal is to create more people who hate America, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal. If our goal is to destroy the once respected, if imperfect, view most of the world had of America we are succeeding.

We have become a country driven by a fear of everything we do not, or will
not, understand. We have a President who tells sitting members of Congress, who by law must be American citizens, to go back to the country from where they came.

America is that country. It is the country facing severe problems so inelegantly put (to be kind) by the inciter in chief. Problems of intolerance and prejudice exasperated, if not created, by the President himself.

He would do well to remember, this is as much their country as it is yours or mine.

More so, I would argue, since they at least have the courage of their convictions to challenge the status quo or the headlong retreat to a mythical and whitewashed past.

The ignorant arrogance of the President and those who remain silent in the
face of such vitriol from this man is astounding. The lack of universal
condemnation across the country for such remarks is a national embarrassment.

Let us make one thing clear, no rational American wants unregulated entry
into the United States. Despite the President’s pandering to uninformed
jingoistic nationalism, most Americans are wise enough to understand the
difference between illegal entry and those seeking asylum.

To put this in perspective, perhaps some numbers might help.

According to the Pew Research Center, “The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world the U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 44.4 million in 2017.” The same report found that immigrants and their descendants will drive 88 percent of the United States’ population growth through 2065.

Consider that for a moment.

Out of a population of 300 million, almost 15% are foreign born. Soon, this will be a country with a significant change in the ethnic origins of many of the people living here.

No matter. They will still be Americans.

They are not any different from those who have been here longer. My family has been here for just four generations. Let me disabuse those who see people of different ethnic or racial origin as foreigners that if the measure of a real American is one born here, there are descendants of slaves going back longer than many white Americans. There are generations of people living in Texas descended from the original Mexicans when Texas was part of that country.

Native Americans go back even further. If any people suffered from the
ill-effects of illegal immigration, they would own the discussion.

Immigration—controlled, regulated, and intelligently managed—is good for America. It always has been, always will be. To ignore history, to ignore the realities of the changing demographics of the country, to ignore the basic human decency characterized by the American people is to lose the very thing the makes America great.

Those four Congresswoman demonized by the ravings of a madman may be naïve in the policies they pursue. However, it is that same naivete that sparked a revolution in 1776. A young nation, populated by idealists and dreamers, saw the necessity to throw off the fetters of a repressive government and fight for fundamental human rights against overwhelming odds.

Those efforts gave us the government we have now. Almost to a man, each of those founding fathers was foreign-born. Still, they rose to the occasion to create this great nation.

I wonder what they might think of this President and his silent enablers?

We are better than this. We are smarter than this. We are nobler than this.

It is time we remember that and take a stand against such idiocy percolating in the country.


Welcome to America (here are the rules)

As shocking as this may be, I am not a Trump fan. But this post goes to show how, if you look hard enough, you can find commonalities where you least expect them.

The debate over ICEhow, or even if, we should deal with illegal immigrants seems academic. Call them what you will-undocumented, illegal, or otherwise-they are breaking the law.

Mr. Trump’s focus may be inarticulate and mean-spirited, but it is not wrong.

Now nothing is ever black and white. Individual circumstances call for careful consideration.  An eighteen-year-old high school graduate heading off to college, but here illegally because of her parents’ choice to break the law, should not be unilaterally tossed out.

I have no sympathy if this same graduate’s parents have been here for fifteen years, yet made no effort to become citizens.

What sparked this is an interview I read of a twenty-five or thirty-year-old woman, brought her illegally as an infant who said she wants to stay here to support her family in her homeland, but does not want to become a citizen.

Whoa, there Nelly. That’s not how America works.

This country guarantees opportunity, not success. We offer a pathway to citizenship, not a shortcut to enjoying the benefits without taking part. It’s like saying I want to play for a World Championship baseball team (let’s use the New York Yankees as a neutral example) but not go to practice or be in the game. I just want the salary.

If the problem with the law is it prevents one from applying for citizenship because of how you came here, we can work with that.

How about this as a compromise?  Regardless of how you got here, everyone can apply for citizenship. If you have no criminal record, we’ll overlook your entry in exchange for your making the effort at joining the team as a fully participating member.

We’ll issue you a provisional driver’s license good for five years. At the end of five years, if you’ve did not achieve citizenship, then out you go.  If within the five years, you achieve citizenship we’ll extend the license and classify you as a provisional citizen for another five years.

Maintain the peace, obey the laws, pay your taxes, take part in our society and at the end of the five-year period, your citizenship becomes irrevocable.

The only way to do this is to put teeth into enforcing immigration laws, tie federal aid to cities and towns to ensure their cooperation (including accepting the amnesty of the five-year grace period for reaching citizenship), severely penalize companies that hire individuals not taking part in the path to citizenship program, and tighten the borders.

The solution to strengthen the borders is to listen to the ICE officers who’ve been dealing with the issue for decades, not some idiotic unworkable campaign promise.

Even amid diametrically opposed philosophies, compromise through rational discussion is possible. The ingenuity, determination, and courage of what many illegal immigrants go through to get here may be an untapped resource. An opportunity not to be squandered.

As Americans, we offer an opportunity to enjoy our freedom but expect you to bear the same burden to ensure it survives.

Undocumented: A Kinder, Gentler Illegal

Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So, one can say undocumented yet it is still illegal. We are a country of laws. Laws that need apply to everyone equally.

If it makes you feel better, call those millions of immigrants undocumented. It won’t alter the fact that they are here in violation of the law.

The question is how to best deal with it.

Although solid numbers are difficult to derive, research indicates a significant number of “undocumented” aliens who are eligible to apply for citizenship do not. The various reasons cited are an inability to speak English, cost (around $680) or just a choice not to bother. (Pew Research Foundation)

I must be missing something.

There are any number of opportunities to learn English. If living in fear of deportation is not a motivation what is? Perhaps we are doing a disservice by having multi-language signs.  If everything was in English, it might motivate people.

And while I realize $680 may seem a fortune to minimum wage workers, it is also something one can save given the same potential for deportation. Offering some sort of discount might be less expensive than building a wall.

I empathize with the so-called “dreamers,” brought here as children and living in the quasi-world of raised in America without the benefit of citizenship. But what have they done about changing their status? That begs the question, why should we help you if you’re not willing to help yourself?

So, perhaps this should be the test. What efforts have you made? Have you tried to learn English? Thrown change in a jar to save for the cost? Made any effort to become a citizen?

If the answer is no, I have no sympathy. It may seem unfair, looking at how many American citizens by birth underappreciate this country. It may seem frustrating that natural born citizens show no interest in being good Americans. But life is not fair. While one cannot choose their citizenship at birth, this country does offer a path.

That path may be hard. It may be steep. It may be long. But there is an attainable goal if you want it bad enough.

To expect us to carry you up the path, or pave it, or shorten it is not fair to all those who have conquered that path before you.

If you want to be a citizen, to contribute to the country, to participate in the great experiment of the people, by the people, and for the people, great.

Show us your willingness to earn it.

If you expect us to simply legislate you in because you want to be here, that is not going to happen.

Wanting to live in this country, with all its opportunities, comes at a price. The price is a willingness to try. Taking those first steps down that path to show us your sincerity is a great start.

ISIS, Immigration, and the Law

In a February 25, 2015 column by Ann Coulter (www.anncoulter.com/columns/2015-02-25.html), Ms. Coulter complains about the narrow-minded focus of the country on certain issues.

Now, I do not often agree with Coulter. However, her columns are always well researched, supported by sound argument, and well written.  In this piece, she makes some valid points, and misses some others.

Coulter writes that Congress and the media fixate on ISIS and the crisis in Syria, yet ignore a much more serious domestic problem, illegal immigration. Or, more to the point, crimes committed by illegal aliens.

History is replete with Governments using Foreign affairs, war being a favorite tool, to divert attention from more pressing, and difficult to solve, domestic issues.

Coulter recites a number of incidents involving illegal immigrants committing violent crimes, ranging from assault and robbery to rape and murder.  She details how many of these illegals have extensive criminal records.

The complicity of the media in underreporting crimes by illegal aliens smacks of political correctness run amuck.  In many ways, this is more troubling.

She derides Congress, in particular the new Republican majority, for “gassing on about what’s happening 7000 miles away.”  She points out that ISIS has killed four Americans, while illegal immigrants have committed thousands of violent crimes killing many American citizens.

As she says, “if you don’t want to be killed by ISIS, don’t go to Syria.”

Where I diverge with Coulter, and the whole deport every illegal immigrant philosophy, is that while the law is clear, the Justice of its application is not.

First, the easy part, if you are in this country illegally and commit a violent crime you go to jail, and then you get deported. This is the ultimate no brainer.

Why not just deport them, you might ask?

Despite rumors to the contrary, prison is not enjoyable.  Giving them a free ride home is like pardoning the crime.  Let them do the time, all the time, no parole eligibility by virtue of their illegal status, then back to their country. While I am willing to extend access to our system of Justice to everyone, regardless of his or her immigration status, it is only to a point

Here is where it gets complicated and blanket deportation will not work.  Most illegal immigrants obey the law. Hold on there you might say, they came here illegally, and they already broke the law.  True, but many came here out of desperation.  Many left countries plagued by violence from their own government, starvation, horrendous conditions; they came here for the sake of themselves and their families.

Then, many of them had children who were born here yet, by virtue of the law, are illegal.

Justice in this country is famously blind.  However, the true strength of this country is its Justice tempered by Mercy.

There need be a path so those that are here, following our laws and contributing to the cultural mix, can remain here.  The words on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,” are meaningless unless we find a way.

We should demand of our Congress and President, cooperation in finding a solution to illegal immigration.  One that fully protects our citizens from violence yet tempers Justice with mercy for those who have heard the message of the Statute of Liberty and believed in it.

If a time arises that ISIS poses a direct threat to this country, I have the utmost confidence in our ability to respond effectively.  No military in the world can provide the maximum opportunity for each member of ISIS to enjoy martyrdom like the US military.

In the past, playing the world’s police officer brought us only a few things, a host of dead American service personnel and the rending of our society at home. We cannot ignore the rest of the world, but more importantly, they cannot ignore us.  By strengthening our own society, we influence the world for the better.

This country will never truly be in trouble, until people stop trying to come here.