Monday, July 22, 2013

Where's Our Hearts Anymore?

There are many things that are going on in our country today that bother me. None that I can really do anything to correct as I certainly am in no position to work to get changes made on any of the myriad of issues we face today. The economy sucks! Let's face it, it is really punk for so many people who are either unemployed or under-employed now. People losing their homes for many reasons -one of which often is having lost their job and not being able to save enough to give themselves a little cushion to tide them over. (Pretty hard to even scrape by on jobs that pay $7.50 to even $10-12 an hour much less manage to put a buck here and there aside as savings!)

So many things that often make me think America has lost it's light, it's heart and many are against things that used to be pretty accepted.

One aspect I see that very much bothers me is the issues surrounding immigration. Part of me thinks that if people want to come here, are willing to work and abide by our rules and regulations, then the process should be one that would enable them to do that. I find myself being torn between those who come in here illegally and if caught, get deported back to their home country and the ideas of a kind of amnesty plan to allow them to become American citizens.

Why do I feel torn by that? Well, you see, my grandparents on both side of my family were immigrants. My Dad's parents came here from Scotland while my Mom's father and her Mother's parents came here from Sweden. They came through via the legal channels, worked hard -very hard as a matter of fact in the coal mines, to eke out a pittance of a living much of the time. But they persevered and became naturalized citizens, had full voting rights (which they took great pride in being able to vote) and they tried to get the best education they could afford for their children too. They also worked very hard to learn English and for the most part, they and many of their counterparts here in this village -Swedish or Slovak, Polish, Russian and German -many of them even tried to keep their children from learning what was the parents native tongue but rather insisted they learn better English than they had when they came here. (For my part, I really wish I'd been able to learn to read and speak Swedish as I think it would be a good thing to be able to be fluent and communicate in other languages.)

But so many people today forget that our ancestors came here from other lands, other cultures, other languages they spoke and they had to  assimilate into the American culture -not an easy task to be sure for many -but they tried to do that to the best of their abilities. They also had to deal with discrimination due to their nationalities too. Discrimination is a very difficult thing to cope with whether it is based on language differences, religious difference or race and frequently the cause is purely ignorance based on fears of people who don;t talk, act, dress, worship or look, exactly like the average American today. (Whatever that really is because by now, many of us are composites of several other cultures, ya know. I am -as I'm part Swedish, part Scottish so my children too have those ethnicities in them along with French, German and Irish from their Dad's side of the family. So they are truly what we often refer to as being a Heinz 57 variety!

It bothers me immensely to hear people say about so many groups today that they should just go back to where they came from. One night, several years ago, while imbibing in a few brews at the local pub, a guy there made that comment and since I happen to know him and know his roots I asked him if he felt all immigrants should do that -return to their homeland and his reply to me was "You're darned right they should!"

That's when I asked him where he planned to go then? I asked him if he had figured out yet if he would go to Sweden or to Czechoslovakia? For a minute or two I thought he was going to cut me off and tell me to go home but he didn't. However, he did drop his comments about the topic then for the rest of the evening. Maybe it was too much "food for thought" for him!

But it's attitudes like that and then, for so many, they have to seek out legal help via an immigration lawyer thus forcing them to shell out money they probably really don't have to spare on legal fees.

I do still think all immigrants should be able to come here if they have the means to make the trip and skills that they can and want to utilize. I understand why many do feel they only way they can get in is through illegal channels therefore, that's what they do but why does it have to be that way in the first place?

If the illegals are sucking off so many jobs that good old red-blooded American could or should have -according to the arguments put forth by many, then why aren't more Americans then willing to go work those jobs in the first place? Probably because their expectations for employment don't center on doing the hard, manual labor that the illegals often find themselves working!

So much to think about with this problem and I sure as heck don't know the answers to it. I just wish people would begin to operate with a little more of a generous spirit of extending a helping hand and welcome people here instead of calling them names, treating them as being lower than dirt all too often and expecting too families to be broken apart if one parent happens to be an illegal and the other is a citizen and the illegal then risks being deported and the children left with virtually no one then to raise them. Then they become to many a bigger part of the problem if they have to apply for any type of assistance.

Boy, to have to deal with all those things like that, if it were me trying to enter this country today and had to face that kind of hatred and discrimination and such, I wonder if I would still think America is the land of opportunity and the best place on earth to live then.

Would you?

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