Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor ... Hey You, Not So Fast!
“Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America” - Paul Simon
The immigration conversation in this country has historically, pretty much, always gone this way - once you‘re in, it’s time to start toughening those borders. So it is thus, and thus it has always been. Do you think Betsy Ross had anything nice to say about the Hessians? Please, talk about your Momma Grizzlies. We children of immigrants, and that’s pretty much the vast majority of us, tend to have very short memories. We forget how our forebears arrived here in the first place. Now luckily, this is not the case with me as I’ve spent years being exposed to secret, Marxist, liberal, socialist propaganda - thank you Village Voice. MSNBC and The Nation - and that indoctrination allows me to retain the true nature of my origins. My people came from Bari and Naples, and I’m not saying that I know everything, but I’m pretty sure that those cities are not on the banks of the Mississippi. My grandmother, particularly as she got on in years, would speak this half-English and half-something else language, in a somewhat hard to comprehend, thick accent, while she slow-cooked her tomato sauce and prepared her home-made pasta and zeppoles. And again, I’m not claiming to be any Lou Dobbs when it comes to historical knowledge, wisdom and intellect, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that that second language was not Iroquois. And when I grew up surrounded by the musical strains of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Mario Lanza emanating from the old victrola, I don’t think it was because of their magical shaman healing powers.
Once an ethnic group assimilates there’s a tendency to scapegoat the next wave of immigrants for whatever problems that they, the earlier group, might be experiencing - for crime, for unemployment, for one’s pathetic inability to even begin to satisfy the slightest needs of one’s beloved, yet neglected wife, when it comes to those most intimate of moments in the boudior … but, it’s not actually because those, damn, Rasheeds moved in next door. And really, who’s less of a threat to one’s wealth and status in society than the poorest, least powerful and most under-represented in our culture. So, if you’re a Costello or an O’Flannagan, it might not hurt you to be a little more tolerant and understanding toward the Lopez’s and the Hassans - because, you know what? What they’re dealing with today - you’ve been there, done that. We’re not all that far removed from the days of the “Irish need not apply” signs. We’re even closer to a time when it was thought that JFK couldn’t win because he was, no not a Muslim, but…shudder…a CATHOLIC!! Even today, take a look at the Italian-Americans you’ve got cluttering up your TIVO - The Situation, Theresa Guidice and Tony Soprano.
We are, indeed, a land of liberty, and we are a model of tolerance and acceptance and religious freedom - and we shouldn‘t allow that to change. We can’t let the tiny minds of the right like Mitch McConnell, John “Oompa Loompa” Boehner and Rand Paul, usurp the genius of the minds of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin. It’s like pitting the 2010 Mets against, well, any actual major league baseball team.
“We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation." --Sarah Palin
Well, remember, “real Americans” don’t just look like Sarah Palin, they can also look like Fareed Zakaria, George Takei and Carlos Mencia. They are citizens if they are born here, and if they are citizens, they have the right to worship any God they choose.
It’s in the Constitution - for now.