Last Political Drivel

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Okay, I'm going to put the politics to rest here pretty quickly, but in reading through the comments a couple of issues were brought up that I either didn't address for a reason, or that I completely forgot about altogether. And I have a short rant, so just one more time, let me step up on my soap-box and tell you why I don't think it's evil to be liberal.

Illegal immigration is a touchy subject, and frankly, this is one that I flip-flop on a lot. On the one hand, this is a country of immigrants. Let's face it, without immigration, 99% of us would not live here. We'd still be in some other country suffering the same ills we came here to escape. On the other hand, paying for medical expenses of more people and other such costs is a difficult burden. Knowing the history of the country makes it incredibly challenging for me to deny the same kind of life-altering change of emigrating from a bad situation to others.

I believe I'm among the few people who don't believe that everyone should have to know English (in my opinion, a melting pot means that we all melt together, not we force an unnatural language on you because we decided on it) and I think that there are a lot of reasons to think that it's not a crazy idea. It seems to me that if everyone needed to speak English it would be our national language, and yet, we've chosen not to have one. English is ridiculously difficult to learn and until you've immersed yourself in a situation where you do not know a single syllable of a language and have someone tell you that you need to learn it (with that tone of high horse-ness), you cannot appreciate how difficult it really is. You cannot just assume that because someone does not know english that they are lazy or that they don't want to. It's jut not that simple. I frankly have no problem with our government being a multilingual one, what the hell will that hurt?

Anyway, back to immigration. As someone in the younger generation who will certainly pay a sizeable sum of money to social security, but who may never see a single dime of it, I really can't decide what's right from what's wrong. I do think that legalization needs to be made easier. What about this country makes it reasonable for you have to jump through 800,000 hoops to become one of us? I do not understand this. My step-brother-in-law is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He works very hard for his money, he does not steal, is not sleazy, yet despite the fact that he is married to an American, he cannot get his citizenship legalized for at least two more years. How is that reasonable? I don't know what I support in terms of the politics here, but I do support hard-working people trying to make better lives for themselves and you can call me naive, but I was born and raised in an agricultural city in southern California and you'll never convince me that these immigrants are all moving here to drain you of your money. Do you know why they have jobs? Because they're willing to do the ones that no one else is. I dare you to spend one day in the summer in Wasco, California in 110 degree heat picking and inspecting grapes for almost no money.

To me, this issue is not black and white, it's incredibly gray. It seems to be just a matter of deciding what shade of gray we want to live with. I'm guess mine falls farther to the left of the grayscale than a lot of yours, but I don't think that any of us really support ceasing immigration altogether (correct me if I'm wrong here, though I'm pretty sure Pat Buchanon doesn't read often...).

The other issue mentioned was affirmative action. I feel like I'm running around in a fire pit with a grenade just thinking about discussing this. I'm not really solid in my feelings on this yet either, so bear with me while I talk it out. I think that affirmative action made sense in the past and in certain circumstances makes sense now. I do not feel that it needs to dictate every part of life, but I think that there tend to be still a lot of biases towards other races, nationalities, religions, ethnicities, etc., and there's absolutely no harm in trying to give those who aren't in the majority a shot at the things the rest of us have. I went to the most diverse liberal arts college in the country (or at least it was at the time), and they were proud of that fact. My school did not set out a certain number of spots for caucasians and a certain number for African-Americans and a certain number for Latinos, Asians, etc., they simply put themselves out there to get applicants from a wide range of places and offered a lot of money to those hard working students who couldn't afford the tuition, regardless of their race (trust me, I was one of them). They wanted a well rounded group of kids and tried to spread the acceptance around (I worked in the admissions office, I know that it was not your standard affirmative action situation). The result was awesome.

I think that if we were to get rid of all affirmative action and all it's similar programs we'd find that those minorities would slip back, would lose out on a lot of opportunities. What that middle ground is, I don't know. I know that I support everyone having the opportunity to succeed and I know that I support diversity and what that takes shape as in the future, I really don't know.

My major rant for the day (completely unrelated to all the comments, by the way) has to do with people of whatever political party, looking down their nose at everyone who disagrees with them. I do disagree with about 50% of the population, statistically speaking, but I don't think my opinions and ideas are any more right or morally superior than theirs. I don't think that republicans or moderates or independents are wrong (though I'd like to give Ralph Nader a few pieces of my mind...), and I don't think that it's wrong to disagree. I think that it's wrong to patronize someone because you think you know better. I know that I don't know better, I know that I believe a certain set of things and those things have a lot to do with my life experience, just as I'm sure yours do. I wish that people could express their ideas without making it sound like you'd have to be a complete moron to disagree with them, and I surely hope that I haven't done that.

I don't wish that we all believed the same thing because that would be boring, but I do wish that we could find a way to talk about it that didn't always leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

7 comments:

Pontchartrain Pete said...

I don't see immigration as such the boogie man a lot of people do. My pet peeve is the complaint that "they aren't contributing anything," which is baseless.

Even if they are "off the books," they pay rent (so their landlords can pay property tax), they buy gas, food, liquor and cigarettes and pay the same taxes on all of that as everyone else. It's just silly. And un-Christian.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Thanks for leaving a comment for JOhn. Everysince you said he was superhero, I keep picturing him flying around with a big ass cape!!

Bet I can't get him to play dress up!

Hallie :)

Nola said...

You have given this far more thought than me. And now I can say, "What she says!" because I tend to agree with you on most points!!

Oh, and looks like you DID stir that pot!

Katie said...

I know, right? It's fun. I love me some political banter.

~~Silk said...

Amen, Sister!

Monkling said...

Bahahahaha! I was gonna get on here, quote your last 2 paragraphs and say, "Amen, Sister!" but someone beat me to it.

kim-d said...

Last two paragraphs? Absitively! Right? Wrong? When it comes to politics, would would either of those be? When I was much younger, I was the most liberal liberal that you would ever find. While "talking" to my dad's mother, a staunch Republican, about Reagan, her hero, I was incredibly, incredibly disrespectful of her position and opinion. And she never once blasted my arrogant little 23-year-old ass like she maybe should have. So, for me, the bottom line is respecting other people's right to their view point. And the nice thing about being the age I am is, somewhere along the line over these years, it sunk in that sometimes I can learn something if I listen to someone else talk. Because sometimes, when that happens, viewpoints can CHANGE. Imagine that! Bottom line right here and right now? Liberal or conservative, whatever. I find the things you say and your viewpoint to be well-thought-out and with merit. Whether I agree or not is not even the point. It's good to sometimes look at things--not just politics, either--in a different way. I like people who help me do that--and one of them would be you :).