I listened to this song today on the drive into work and thought about posting it here. I considered the possibilities it represents to talk about a hot button issue of the day and pondered what I would write in connection with the video. As the day wore on, I considered just posting the song and people could do with it what they wanted.
I really have grown tired of the political debate in this country. The outraged left and the outraged right, fueled by the no holds barred world of twitter, blogs, and a 24 hour news cycle that absolutely must be fed, have completely destroyed the possibility of having any kind of rational, intelligent, productive debate on the issues of the day.
With the President allegedly complaining about letting people from shithole countries into this country, we continue the degradation of how we talk about these things. I’ll admit that I’m torn on the issue of immigration.
One the one hand, I would like to believe in the ideals expressed on the Statue of Liberty. That we are a beacon of hope and haven for the oppressed and the yearning. For many years we have been that. And I think it important that we keep that concept in mind.
On the other hand, no country can live with open borders. In my ideal world, there are no more countries. But that’s not reality, so we have to deal with reality, and in that reality driven world, it is simply unworkable on so many different levels — political, social, economic — that a country simply lets in anybody who wants to come in.
On the other hand, for decades now the United States through its exercise of power, military might, dominance, and a believe in its right to influence the affairs and lives of other countries and peoples has wreaked havoc in most corners of the globe. (How does a round object have corners? I don’t know.) Because of that, I feel like we have an obligation to continue on as that beacon of hope and opportunity for those oppressed, at least in part because of our own actions throughout the world.
On the other hand, we are a country of laws and those who arrived here illegally have violated the law. If we ignore that and just let anybody in, what message are we sending? What reasonable limits are we placing if … well, you’re here, I guess we’re stuck with you. (And that sounds of pejorative, but I don’t mean it that way. It’s just that immigration seems to be one of those areas where we allow facts to be established from which there is no return, and I believe we can do better than that.)
On the other hand … well, at the end of the day I remain an idealist. I still believe that we can be a land of hope and dreams for those who struggle and strive for freedom and opportunity. I do not believe that any country is a shithole. I don’t believe that any individual should be tarred with the worst of their religion or their country of origin or any other label. I don’t believe our immigration policy should be defined by what is best for us. I believe that our immigration policy should be defined by a variety of factors, including what is best for our country but also what is right given our role in the world. At the end of the day, I do believe in a land of hope and dreams.