Life or death - it doesn't matter, I come again

There is so much fear in the world today; no, I did not watch the Republican debate last night. I had plenty of Rudy G. when I sojourned in NYC for six years. I could tell you stories of that man that would make you weep. Regardless of my actual view status of the debate, I know well enough what was said: there was some Clinton bashing (both Bill and Hillary), there was some chest-thumping on the war (mostly by those who have never been to war, but also by a "war hero", whose claim to fame was being shot down by second-hand anti-aircraft armaments). Mostly though, Republicans - since the age of Nixon - have loved to pin all of their troubles on some mysterious "other"; substituting - temporarily? - for the Negro is "the immigrant", although the preferred parlance is "illegal alien".

I have been accused of having an outlook on immigration that smacks of a Pollyanna worldview; one reason this is so is because I choose to adhere to the poem that adorns a plaque at the Statue of Liberty:

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!

Sure, these are but the words of a woolly-headed poet and there has never been, is not now and perhaps may never be a land that embodies these words as true; but does that mean we should not strive for perfection? Can someone explain the goal of trading off the pursuit of perfection for the attempt to attain only that which we know we can do?

Spare me the pleas for safety! Was it so long ago that we proudly (blindly?) strode through the world, secure in the knowledge that yes, there were obstacles before us - but none so great that we need turn aside? How is it that we are the first generation of Americans to wither in fear on the cue of color-coded calls to quake? Why is it we teach our children to scurry about from one refuge to the next, always mindful of an ever-present, omnipotent, omniscient terror?

Bollocks! When I was a child, the only entity with these awesome powers was God - and lo did we fear him! But to fear a man so? To imbue a man - or a class of people in this case - with such power is to create a false god and woe be unto him who succumbs to the sway of a false god!

Guess what? Immigrants - legal, illegal, alien or otherwise - are just people. As such, we should be comforted in the knowledge that we know what they want; they want what we want. There is no mystery here. The creation of an "other" is just a ploy the powerful use to control the weak (meek? surprise ending here though; the meek shall indeed inherit the earth!). Cast away the chains of fear that bind ye and you will see that they are as powerless to constrain your possibilities as the gossamer from which they were spun.

To pretend this rant has a sense of coherence to it, I must state that I do not support this "amnesty" bill, as it provides our current President with something he can claim as a victory and I choose not to aid him in expanding his fearsome ego.

The problem - and listen closely here - is not now and has never been "illegal" people; there is no such thing as an illegal person; a human being can never be an alien (say it with me: a human can never be an alien!). The problem is this: our designation of a class of humans as illegal, creates a market in illicit services for those people to perform. Creating a class of people who are "illegal" identifies for employers where the cheapest labor can be found.

Solution: no class of people named as "illegal"; no class of people who can then be paid under the table - which is merely a means to increase profits. Pay everyone above the table and pay them all the minimum wage or above. The idea that a minimum wage causes jobs to disappear is an economist joke. Jobs exist because there is work to be done; raising the wage does not remove the work - it reduces the profit. Fortunately, it is not the job of government to guarantee profit; it is the job of government to ensure a just society for all.

A capitalist society is driven by the relentless search for profit and as long as this class exists, it will be exploited. Call them slaves, call them aliens - call them what you will. They - we - are people.

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