One of my pet peeves is hearing people talk negatively about immigration from a stance of how much money the U.S. will spend on a myriad of public services offered to those who did not get here legally. I frequently think of how easy it is for us as a people, in a country that does allow us to state our opinions, to so blithely state that we should close our borders. I hate to hear people speak disparagingly about those who have crossed the borders and live in this country using the common argument that the nameless faceless ‘they’ take money and jobs from Americans’ pockets. I’ve heard people talk about the criminal element that of course impacts every population of every country in the world…there’s always going to be somebody who’s on ‘the make’ in some way shape or form. I think what I want people to remember is that you do have a right to your opinion, but also be sensitive to the issues that may have caused someone to abandon their homeland, which must be pretty scary and require quite a bit of bravery. To come to another country to try to create opportunities for their families should not be glossed over; who, for the most part, would not prefer to stay in the country of their birth? I know there are laws and I try to follow them as much as possible but if someone ‘sneaks’ into the U.S. I don’t take it as a personal assault. I mean seriously, at a minimum the people who just get by here have to become bilingual (which is more than I can say for myself), work some bullshit jobs that I personally would prefer not to do, get paid very little, and be treated disrespectfully by US citizens who in some cases haven’t even properly exercised their own rights and opportunities.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what brought on this diatribe; my ramble was inspired by a short profile about Antonio Diaz Chacon in the December 2011 issue of Esquire which highlighted “Americans of the Year”. It’s Sunday morning so this is my catch-up time for reading and research which led me to finally getting around to reading last month’s magazine. There are quite a few inspiring stories and wonderful quotes, one in particular by Michael Nutter the mayor of Philadelphia who in response to his take on his lack of popularity regarding his non-apologetic policy change in his city said, “If you have a deep-seated need to be loved and admired every day, you shouldn’t be in politics. You should go work at a pet store.” Guess I know where I need to be working… but in all seriousness I first read his profile and really felt his words but then I read Mr. Chacon’s and what touched me about his particular profile was the irony of his story, if that’s the right word, I’m thinking there’s a better way to say it, but when you read about him you’ll understand what I mean: http://www.esquire.com/features/americans-2011/patriots-of-the-year-2011-1211-3#fbIndex3. I am off my soapbox for now.