Monthly Archives: September 2009

giving, not giving up

I wasn’t born here. My mother has a green
card, and up until 15 months ago I never lived in the United States. I’m an
American.

If an immigrant labors 80-hour weeks to
support his family in our country should he not have more of a right to
citizenship than me?

Opponents argue that illegal’s are a drain on
our job market and steal our tax dollars. Here it is though; we employ these workers.  We need them to fuel our businesses,
and in return they live with us, pay rent and buy groceries just like
Americans.

“Hold on; but they don’t pay taxes.” -that’s
right; if you’re illegal, then you don’t even have a means of filing income
tax.

What would happen if we gave immediate
permanent residence status to illegals already living in the country? The
logistics of the initial flood would be phenomenal and may cause a lot of
trouble. But think of it in the long run. Residents all pay taxes; no one is
exempt. Any illegitimate worker who currently takes all of his below-minimum
wage salary would now pay income tax on a real salary. New industries would
boom and consumer consumption would skyrocket because former immigrants would
now be comfortable purchasing cars (and paying for insurance) and homes here.

Socially, we could ensure that every child is
accounted for and receives an education. No one would drown crossing the
Rio-Grande and none would rely on false marriages to access our ground.

Why do we exclude the world from our well
being? We’re scared that they might challenge our safety, but we don’t give
them a chance to prove themselves. If we’re really unsure, we could give
immigrants temporary residence status for a trial period, in which we could
evaluate their contribution to our society. They wouldn’t disappoint.

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homeland insecurity

Many look at
our nation’s recent trend in security and surveillance measures and are quick
to label them Orwellian. Although our practices do support the saying “better
safe than sorry”, it’s important to remember that many countries -even our own
NATO allies, the British -have already taken much stricter measures.

I think that
we, America, are so conflicted with our government’s authoritarian practices
because we haven’t quite decided which “freedom” we value more: freedom from harm, or our own civil rights. We esteem ourselves on bringing democracy and peace to lands
far and far away, but we forget that the peace we enjoy on our own soil is a
blessing considering how much we impose ourselves on other countries. The world
is tired of us -I’ve lived it and I’ve openly defended our practices while
living abroad. We have the political, military and economic power to go where
we choose, and we do so frequently. Obviously educated and reasonable
individuals are respectful and tolerant of us, but the masses do not
necessarily appreciate our policies. Our actions will inevitably spark
emotional and responses among extremists, and until we discontinue our
campaigns abroad (which I think is neither possible nor wise at the moment) we
can cope with a few inconveniences at home. After all; if considering invasions
of privacy, law-abiding citizens should have nothing to worry about. I can deal
with knowing my government can access my e-mail if it means I get to walk to
school without fear of death -which is more than can be said for the world
beyond our borders.

Regarding a police officer’s right to perform a blood test on a D.U.I. suspect, perhaps we shouldn’t be paying so much attention to how to police drunk drivers, but rather figure out why we have one of the highest automobile related death rates in the world. Coming down hard on drunk drivers does help to deter future incidents, but preventative measures would probably be more effective.

respectful disagreement?

Despite the US being a flagship for democracy, it’s still
hard for me to remember that many of my fellow citizens openly refuse to listen
to what our own president has to say. I’m writing this literally, in response
to the recent controversy surrounding President Obama’s plans to address public
school students, urging them to “work hard [and] stay in school.”

This is hardly the first time a president has done this.
George Bush Senior made a similar broadcast in 1991 which encouraged students
to “study hard [and] avoid drugs.” However, this time the address has
experienced strong opposition by conservatives who do not want their children
to be indoctrinated to “President Obama’s socialist ideology.”

Many Americans have voiced their concerns that our own president
is a danger to their children’s creative development, but somehow just don’t
quite get the benefit of exposure to opposing ideas (even if only to know how
to better support their own). This only shows a fear that our president’s ideas
are attractive, and indicates reluctance by those who hold opposing views to
acknowledge their own shortfalls.

It’s disheartening to know that some Americans can claim to
love their country, but still distrust the one who we elected when he has yet
to wrong us. Obviously it’s unrealistic to hope for unanimous support of Commander
in Chief, but that doesn’t mean that respectful disagreement has to be beyond
us. National moral is pretty low, and constant quarrelling and the appearance
of stagnation is hardly helping, the very least we could do is pretend to get
along with each other.

McKinley, James C. and Dillon, Sam. “Some Parents Oppose
Obama’s School Speech”. The New York Times. 3 September 2009.

week 2

Monday’s exercise of critical thinking was definitely an awesome way to start the semester. With so much information today, readers are keeping up on current events through more entertaining media like the editorial page or comedy shows like “The Colbert Report” or “The Daily Show” rather than seeking hard news that’s found on page one. The truth is that it’s easier to simply absorb another’s interpretation of news rather than examining the facts and making critical observations.

Concerning Krugman’s editorial; ultimately his pieces are not intended to provide hard journalism to the masses, but rather are tuned to the ears of the educated, mostly metropolitan and perhaps liberal readership of the New York Times. Although he reasons that even Republicans once saw the urgency for government intervention in healthcare reform, his column will probably only serve to reinforce the views of his already converted readership.

However, what I kept asking myself was why did Kennedy reject Nixon’s proposal 35 years ago. Krugman writes the conservative opposition to today’s proposals off as “GOP extremism”, but obviously Nixon’s proposal received Democratic opposition of its own. I don’t doubt the extent of corporate pressure described, but maybe Krugman needs to step back and appreciate the obligations that these politicians have toward industry. Tom brought up a good point the other week when he mentioned the “Golden Rule”. Although we are hard pressed to change the current state of lobbyist ties, maybe in the future we should open dialogue to a system where campaign contributions are capped, keeping our representatives out of industry’s pocket.