The influx of children, unaccompanied minors, refugees, illegal immigrants, whatever you want to call them, from Central America that started in 2011, but has reached fevered pitch here in 2014, has boiled over into the political landscape, leaving scarred and seared political principles throughout the USA. Feelings generally fall into two categories: the “send ’em back to Mexico” category, despite none of these children are from Mexico; and the “I have a heart” category that is often labeled “bleeding heart liberal.”
I guess I fall into the a third category, the “I have heart, but I’m not fool” category. Not being a fool, I don’t suffer them long or lightly. When I expressed my opinion on the matter in a recent internet story, I was appalled by some of the replies. They fell loosely along the following lines.
Why don’t you take them in?
How does showing a little empathy and compassion equate to adopting a child? How do you know I wouldn’t gladly adopt one of these kids? There’s a time and place to make a stand and/or have a debate about immigration. Taking your stand against pre-teens who are fleeing horrific conditions, drug cartels, and rape gangs means you’re only going to come off looking like the cold-hearted bastard you are.
We’ve got our own to take care of.
Now you’ve graduated from cold-hearted bastard to racist fucktard. If you type long enough, it becomes very clear that your definition of “our own” is some weird graph where geographic location of birth is on the X-axis, and skin tone is on the Y-axis. What you’re really saying is, “We need to take care of the little, white, ‘Merican children.” Never mind the fact that we aren’t even doing that. This is the same mindset that recently cut EBT benefits to those same little, white, black, brown, and yellow ‘Merican children. If you really wanted to take care of our own, you wouldn’t be using that as a lame rally cry. You’d be calling your Congressional representative and telling them to reinstate some benefits for these ‘Merican kids. You’re now a fully matriculated racist who majored in hypocrisy and minored in short-term memory loss.
Spend your money. Not mine.
You have no clue how the government works. My favorite definition of government is “an alignment of mutual interest to accomplish things that cannot be achieved individually.” It’s great that you have some pie-in-the-sky, 18th century, romanticized idea that we should all be wholly self-reliant, but that has never been the case, not even in the 18th century. The very definition of civilization is the combining of specialized skills to benefit the larger society. If all you needed was a mountain stream and some nuts and berries, you could go live off the grid and shout, “Not in my back yard!” until you were blue. The fact that you have an internet connection tells me you don’t really believe in the self-reliant bullshit you’re typing. You like your internet connection. You like electricity coming to your house. You like the running, clean water that magically appears when you turn your faucet. You’re plugged in and you like it. You believe in trade. Trade is where you got that new tablet or laptop through which you spout your ignorance and hypocrisy. So don’t spout your randomly-connected words of self-reliance at me. Maybe trade is only good when it’s electronics and not people?
The Federal government, the great satanic enemy of all neo-Naz…er…neo-conservatives, actually has already set aside your tax dollars to handle situations like minors coming across the border. They actually had the foresight to pass a few laws that specifically deal with just this situation. So whether it’s yours, mine, or our tax dollars, they’re already spent. If you want to rail about reigning in Federal spending, you need to get out in front of the budget that Congress can’t seem to pass and just keeps continuing from previous years. (Insert meme about “You had one job, Congress.”) If there’s not enough money to care for a few thousand kids in our $3.9 trillion budget, we’re just going to have to tax the rich.
Move out of my state
You know what? It’s my state, too. I live here. I’ve lived here for over 30 years. My children were born and raised here. Geography isn’t like the internet. You can’t run and hide in some internet echo chamber where other extremist feed your view of the world. Real life means living next to people who may believe differently than you. It means compromising on things. It means following some basic rules that we developed in the last 10,000 years of civilization. This is why I’m glad we don’t have pure democracy in the USA. If we did, the fear-induced stampede of wrongheadedness would destroy everything we’ve built over the last 235 years.
Obama is breaking the law, bringing them here, or I hate everything Obama does
Fine. You hate President Obama. The person you voted for didn’t get elected and now you’re upset. That’s the way our system works. You get to be upset until the next election, but that doesn’t mean everything the man is doing is illegal, immoral, and fattening. He didn’t send invitations to Central Americas to come to the USA. The truth is, President Obama is following the law, enforcing the law, two very specific laws. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Refugee Act of 2008, both passed before Obama was President, clearly outline how unaccompanied minors are to be dealt with. Mexicans are repatriated. Those from other countries are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services which then attempts to place them with a relative or, barring that, into foster care. That’s the law. These kids cannot be legally sent back to their respective countries. President Obama has asked Congress to change the law so these children can be handled differently, but Congress has refused. They know it’s a win-win situation for Republicans because slack-jawed, knee-jerk, uneducated yokels will always blame Obama for everything. This is just one more situation where the President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
OK. They can stay, but not in my backyard.
Here we have the most liberal heart found on the normally rabid, attack-mode-only side of the political spectrum. They either have enough empathy or have resigned themselves to the fact that these kids must stay. They acquiesce to letting them stay in the USA, if only temporarily, but NIMBY! Don’t bring them to my state! This is where the most depressing photograph taken in recent times comes into play. This photo above is heartless, neo-cons blocking a bus full of children from entering Murrieta, CA. The picture is the most revolting use of an American flag I’ve ever witnessed. Men and women fought and died for the principles behind those colors. They believed in equality, freedom, hope, and a better life for the next generation. That flag was once a beacon for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. It was never meant to be used to destroy the only chance an 8 year-old had to be safe, warm, and hopeful. Those flags in Murrieta showed a bus full of children that the United States is now closed for business. We’ve given up hope, freedom, and the chance to better ourselves. We’ve sunken into a mire of our own fears and prejudices. We’re stuck so deep in this mire, we can’t even extend a slice of bread and warm blanket to a child.
It was easy for these fear mongers to stop a bus. I wonder if they could have look into the faces of the children on the bus and stood their ground. It’s easy to wave your “I hate Obama” sign at a bus. It’s a different thing to wave it in the face of a hungry child. Therein lies our moral. Government, the coming together to do that which is mutually beneficial and which we cannot do individually, has a human face. There are definitely principles government adheres to, but in the end, government is people helping people, people building communities, people bettering a nation. When we remove the human component from our politics, we begin a short slide into the dehumanized side of governments. That’s the pit out of which we had to climb by fighting World War II. That’s the pit wherein dehumanized people are slaughtered. That’s the pit beyond the line of human decency. It’s a short step from the mire of fear to the pit of despair.
The author didn’t not vote for Obama. In fact, the author has never even voted Democrat. The author was, until recently, a Republican, but alas, you’ve changed Republicans. You’ve changed.