Saturday, May 13, 2006

and now for something completely different...

This is something we have not done yet on this site, but JC and I are always willing to try something new (however tame it may be). So without further adieu, here is that dangerous new "thing": I'm going to pose a question and have you , the reader, post your ideas and answers in the comment box as sort of a round table discussion.......... Oh what madcap scamps we are! Seriously folks, if you've kept up with our little piece of the net here you've realized that even though we tend to ramble and hop on and off of our soap boxes, we are very much into audience participation. Oftentimes our request for comments goes unanswered for various reasons (the main one being that there aren't very many readers of our dribble). I hope that this time is different. We know that our readers are intelligent and independant thinkers and the comment section on our site is solely for the purpose of nurturing those qualities in all of us through comment and response, so as you all think of the question I will pose to you, please let us know your thoughts. After all, that's the whole reason for this entry. This is something I was thinking about just the other day while riding around at work. It is a fact that our country as we know it today was shaped in a large part by immigrants. (I know that the founding fathers were technically immigrants as well, but humor me a little and for the purposes of my question just think of the Ellis Island style immigrants that commonly come to mind when the word is used.)

How are the immigrants of today different than the immigrants of yesteryear? and What is this doing to the America of today and the America of the future?

We've all heard the debates about their strain on the healthcare and welfare systems and so forth, but when it comes down to the future of our country's culture and well being: what is the affect? I've had a lot of different thoughts about this topic running through my mind and amid all of the debates I keep hearing the same old thing. I know the Shelfers can come up with some origional thoughts and we'd like to hear them. If there are any immigrants out there we would certainly encourage you to chime in. Of course, this may be a silly thing for some of you or just uninteresting to others, but my two young boys will be greatly affected by our country's response to the current situation. I am greatly affected by the situation right now due to my line of work and the fairly large amount of ILLEGAL immigrants in the areas that I work in. I've found that I have no problem with most of the illegals that I come in contact with and most are very nice, but their methods of immigration are causing major changes in our society right now and have for the last couple of decades. Up until now the changes have been gradual, but it seems that we are suddenly sitting on a teeter-totter and we are not sure if our side will go up or down. If it goes up, will we be left screaming with our legs kicking in the air? If we go down can we stay grounded and in control of the tempo of our next move? These are things that worry me. Let us know about your thoughts. I mean, we keep this site going for our reader's sake anyway so go ahead and take the floor. If no one responds then I guess I am alone in my consternation. Hopefully I'm not and if I'm not , maybe my companions and I can draw strength of knowledge from each other.

P.S.- As Mr. Loophole informed you all, I am working on getting up another post and hope you will all bear with me as my newborn has my wife going crazy and myself typing between diapers.

Your thoughts are requested.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to descriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here.Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all.We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt 1907


HD said...

Wolf wrote: ... but it seems that we are suddenly sitting on a teeter-totter and we are not sure if our side will go up or down. If it goes up, will we be left screaming with our legs kicking in the air? If we go down can we stay grounded and in control of the tempo of our next move? These are things that worry me. Let us know about your thoughts.

I have a fair amount of experience riding a teeter totter with different kinds of people. In fact I go on a teeter totter ride with a new person on average of about once a week. However, I've yet to ride a teeter totter with an illegal immigrant.

Yes, I do understand that you meant the teeter totter figuratively. But your choice of the teeter totter to illustrate your point does, I think, reflect an underlying optimism on your part about the situation. The teeter totter enforces a certain minimum of cooperation and goodwill between the two totterees. There's an implicit trust that is required for two people to even mount a teeter totter together.

And the brute fact of the Law of the Lever allows a lighter totteree to achieve leverage by moving away from the center. This holds true metaphorically as well. If you lack sufficent weight to achieve balance, then if you move with your rhetoric to the end of the board, you can balance out a teeter totter partner of heavier weight. This works in theory only if the board is infinitely long. As a practical matter, the board is typically around 12 feet long. And once you become so radical that you move off the end of the board, your weight (whatever it is) has no effect AT ALL.

Good luck with the newborn. Build the little one a teeter totter.

As to the specific question of how immigrants today are different from those of yesteryear, I have no particular insight. When all you've got's a hammer everything looks like a nail. So I would obverve that if we take the planet to be a teeter totter, even if we're perfectly balanced on each end, if the combined weight is great enough, the board will eventually splinter.

Wolf Flywheel said...


Please keep the comments coming Shelfers and use your thinking caps!

BostonJim said...

I believe that people have a right to immigrate to America- the country relied on immigrant workforce around the turn of the century as much as it does today (which included Mexicans as well as the Chinese, Irish, and others) However- there needs to be more control over legal immigration and a greater clamp down on the illegals. I think the government, for the most part, turns a blind eye to the issue because a) its a problem that has gone out of control - so much so that harsh measures that could damage them politically are now needed- and b) there are ways for them to profit from the problem (cheap labor, fast track potential voters, etc).
What we need are representatives in government who remember that they represent us, the citizens, and that they must uphold the constitution which states in the preamble that they must (among other things) provide for the common defense and ensure domestic tranquility.Basically, we need some politicians with some balls who will give Vincente Fox the finger.

Anonymous said...

What disturbs me the most is that the illegal immigrant situation is growing because of political correctness which has crippled us so that we have to force ourselves to look past our self-interest, which is detrimental. Also because it is profitable to many sides except the citizens themselves, who are the ones who get screwed.

Brewjoe said...

One worry is that if we overcorrect- what will it do to our economy? I don't know too many people willing to clean houses, pick a harvest, etc for dirt cheap. Perhaps the first thing we need to do is actually enforce the laws we already have instead of trying to create new ones. I don't know what the solution is, but I do know that excuses for new laws, don't necessarily justify them

Java rules

Christian Johnson said...

Well...I guess I'll weigh in with my thoughts.

I don't think there is any significant difference between today's immigrants and those of yesteryear. Notice I didn't use the word illegal as in yesteryear the laws for immigrating to this country were different. Remember that in 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

We have a long history of resistance to assimilation and of worry regarding immigrants stealing our jobs.

But some things have changed in the modern era, terrorism for one. Weak borders do increase the chance of a terrorist attack.

Second, businesses are colluding with immigrants to depress market wages on construction, and similar, jobs.

I for one have no problem with skilled construction workers coming from Mexico, or wherever, to build houses in the US. I do have problems with contractors hiring "undocumented" workers who they can pay submarket wages and not cover with workman's comp insurance etc.

The problem, as I see it, is not one with the immigrants, rather with the businesses employing the immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants, but we should promote assimilation. One of the best ways to do that is to make businesses have to pay market wages and provide workman's comp, pay taxes, etc. We should also promote the spread of English education etc.

Most immigrants want to be American and their loyalties will lie with America...well...except during World Cup long as we reach out to them to make them into Americans. So long as we look for ways, either legally or because of a lack of legal alternatives, to alienate and isolate immigrants we will not be able to solve the "immigration" issue.

VDH often writes about his own back and forth on the subject. I think that strong "integration" combined with strict business regulation would go a long way.

Businesses who exploit immigrant labor are essentially the modern equivalent of 19th century work houses.

Wolf Flywheel said...

Everyone seems to be on the same train I'm ridin' on thos topic. Anything else?


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