Monday, April 10, 2006


the French.

I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other on the whole immigration debate. My starting points are (1) deep suspicion about anything supported by the rabid right wing in this country, and (2) slack-jawed incomprehension about what it takes for any person, young, old, whatever, to leave home and hearth and set out for the landofthefreeandthehomeofthebrave.

Family legend, passed down third-hand, holds that my great-grandfather on my mom's side left northern Italy 90 or so years ago as a young man, sailing to America, alone, saying ciao to everyone and everything he'd known, perhaps never to return (although I think he did visit once many years later, it's not quite the same).

Same deal, basically, for all the other g-g parents. I can't even begin to get in the frame of mind to understand what it takes for anyone to do that, but, obviously, millions and millions of IrishItalianGermanPolishEtc. have for 100+ years, including all of my g-g parents and my wife's too. After all, how many people could even fit on the Mayflower?

Is the immigration debate just an extention of the classic suburban formulation: "Close the door behind me!"? Did the French get the last laugh: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"? Were they hoping we'd be overrun by Gypsies and Basques? Did we (we? my g-g parents were still paying tribute to the lords of their respective manors in the dark corners of Europa) inspect the statue before we took possession? Did we ever intend to live up to those words, or was it all a sick pre-existential joke?


ThursdayNext said...

I see both sides to the argument. I just don't appreciate the protestors hanging American flags upside down and such. Our grandparents passed through Ellis Island and went through proper channels. As for being a guest here, well I all for it because it means they will pay taxes!

Evil mother said...

Geez, Mr. Lawguy. I would think you of all people would agree these people are common criminals, breaking the law by the simple act of breathing our air. I say toss 'em out. I'll pay a little more for my vegetables. It will be worth it.
When they're gone, maybe my ATM will stop asking me if I want English or Spanish.
Those great-grandparents you spoke of learned English. My blood boils when I see these folks picketing with their signs in Spanish.

Michael Plank said...

I wasn't referring specifically to the "problem" of illegal immigration, but the notion of immigration "reform" in general. The main reason I don't have a strong opinion is that I don't know how easy or hard it is to enter this country via legal means, although I have a vague understanding that it depends in part on where you're from. I know PA can use all the help it can get to stabilize its population loss. I also know that there are plenty of people born in this country who can't talk English, like, um, you know, real good and stuff.

Jozet said...

Yeah...I'll demand that immigrants speak English when Dustin and Courtney working at McDonald's can formulate a complete sentence with proper noun-verb agreement. And without rolling their eyes.