Weeeell, OK. I'm a fighter. Disguised as a lover. And that is why I am posting en email exchange that circulated through my family (as in parents, siblings and spouses) today.
It may surprise you to know that for as conservatively as my siblings and I were raised, a good half or more of us have turned out to have a definite liberal leaning. This makes for some "lively" exchange. We know better than to bring up controversial topics over Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, we rarely, if ever, discuss them in person at all. I guess that's why the email exchange has become so popular: safety via distance. And it's my mother - a woman who all my life I assumed was non-confrontational and socially accommodating - who has assumed the role of instigator! In the past couple of years she has become very politically involved and this, on top of her lifelong devotion to her religion, has sparked more than one round of cyber-debate amongst the rest of us. It didn't take me long before I started to routinely delete her emails from my inbox (sorry, Mom, but I do) when they hint of religious content, Glen Beck or both. I'm simply triggered way too easily and end up dumping too many hours of my time into a response then needing the rest of the week to diffuse and recover. The last time I engaged was a couple years ago on a round of Prop 8 arguments but have been pretty restrained since then.
I made the mistake of opening the following email she forwarded:
LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT
IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.
IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.
IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.
IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE JAILED.
IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.
IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.
IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.
And if you cross the Mexican border illegally you get fined and jailed!
IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET:
1 - A JOB,
2 - A DRIVERS LICENSE,
3 - SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
4 - WELFARE,
5 - FOOD STAMPS,
6 - CREDIT CARDS,
7 - SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
8 - FREE EDUCATION,
9 - FREE HEALTH CARE,
10 - A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON
11 - BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
12 - AND THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON T GET ENOUGH RESPECT IN OUR COUNTRY
I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP OF THE SITUATION
For the record, I have not come up with an official position on illegal immigration reform. This issue is just far too complex and way too emotionally charged for me to achieve any sort of clarity. Furthermore, there are sound arguments on both sides. What really triggered me here is - well, several things - but mainly the overemphasized sense of entitlement that the author simply reeks of. The older I get, the more I am confronted with the simple truth that there but for the grace of God go I.
And that is why I emailed back the following reply. But before I post it, I acknowledge that I am guilty of the very same crime as the author of the above-posted tortoise caca: my counter-argument is an emotional appeal and way over-simplifies the case, thus doing both sides a disservice. Having said that, I'm human.
OK, I guess that's it.
No, there's one more thing. Isn't there always a little more room for love and compassion for our fellow man, whoever they are? And isn't there enough in our land-of-plenty (yes, even the very land we stole from the original inhabitants) to go around?
OK, now I'm done. My reply:
IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET:
12 – TO RISK, EMBRACE, AND ENDURE ALL OF THIS BECAUSE IT IS BETTER THAN THE POVERTY AND SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION OF THE COUNTRY YOU CAME FROM
1 – SHOT AT/ KILLED WHILE CROSSING. OR MAYBE YOU DIE IN THE FALSE BOTTOM OF A SMUGGLER'S TRUCK BEFORE YOU EVEN MAKE IT TO THE BORDER
2 – A BUNK IN AN OVERCROWDED, SQUALLID MIGRANT CAMP
3 – TO PAY FOR COLLEGE BUT DON’T GET A DIPLOMA
4 – TO LIVE IN CONSTANT FEAR OF BEING APPREHENDED AND INCARCERATED
5 – OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID FOR A JOB AN AMERICAN WOULD SCOFF AT
6 – INDEFINITELY SEPARATED FROM YOUR SPOUSE AND CHILDREN
7 – THROWN INTO A CULTURE THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN AND MUST LEARN A LANGUAGE NOT YOUR OWN
8 – TO SUPPORT AN ECONOMY THAT WOULD FAIL WITHOUT YOU
9 – EXPLOITED, DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AND LOOKED DOWN UPON
10 – RACIALLY PROFILED AND HARRASSED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
11 – TO LIVE AMONG A POPULATION WITH AN EXAGGERATED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT, MAYBE EVEN CLEAN THEIR MCMANSIONS IF YOU’RE LUCKY
PS PERHAPS NORTH KOREA, IRAN, AFGHANISTAN, SAUDI ARABIA, CHINA, AND VENEZUELA ARE CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR CITIZENSHIP