Thursday, May 27, 2010

Too Many Rants, So Little Time...

There are at least three random, non-connected thoughts ricocheting around my brain this week. If I had more time, more energy and someone who cooked, did laundry and ran errands, I'd be able to post more often and excise these rantings from my head.

So, for your reading enjoyment- if there is anyone out there in cyberspace reading this - three random rants which probably have no thematic connection other than to say that these things are really pissing me off these days...

Anchor Baby Blues

Arizona is at it again! Arizona, do I have to put you on a time out? Russell Pearce, the same state senator who came up with their ill-conceived immigration law which promotes racial profiling rather than seriously address the issue of illegal immigration, is now crafting a bill which would nullify citizenship to babies born in the United States whose parents are illegal immigrants. These babies are given the derogatory name, anchor babies, because once born here, regardless of the status of their parents, the babies are granted full rights of citizenship under the 14th amendment and help the families get a foothold on American society.

Pearce claims that giving citizenship to anyone born here is an enticement to illegals to continue to overrun our borders. And to a certain extent he is right. Historically, as a nation, people have been drawn to our shores by the promise of a better life, if not for them, then for their children. With the exception of slaves, who were brought here without choice, the waves of immigrants who came through Ellis Island - the Irish, the Italians, the Russians, the Chinese all migrated here because of the enticements offered. And those people, who did come through the systems legally, contributed to the cultural, economic and physical infrastructure of our country. But that contribution is no less the case with Mexicans coming over the border illegally. They contribute to our economy in ways big and small - by working in jobs that often American citizens don't want to take, or at a wage American citizens won't work for. They are exploited and demonized and have no recourse because of their illegal status. The children of illegals, the anchor babies, for the most part grow up proud of the country of their birth and go on to contribute to it in the military, as teachers, as artists and politicians, adding vibrancy to the cultural, intellectual and financial products of this country.

I am not a supporter of illegal immigration. I think that having open borders is dangerous. No country can survive unless it controls and monitors who enters its country, when and for what purpose. Not doing so is a risk to our economy and security interests. Economically, it creates a lucrative subculture which promotes crime and makes illegals vulnerable to exploitation. Open borders also present a security risk because there is no way to distinguish between the majority of people crossing the border who are in search of a better life, and those who have criminal or terrorist intentions. It also creates a health risk, with public health officials able to chart the rise in active TB in this country with the wave of illegal immigrants who through their own nation's poverty and poor access to health care arrive here infected and transmit that disease and others. But I think again, like with the immigration bill, the issue of illegals and their "anchor" babies should be addressed in a compassionate and intelligent way, not a punitive one. For example, there has been a bill discussed which would require that one parent be a legal citizen in order for a baby born in the U.S. to be granted full citizenship rights. That compromise would appease both sides.

This anchor baby thing bothers me so much because I get a little nervous when politicians start talking about nullifying citizenship and screwing with the constitution. Also, because all of these rumbling from Arizona feel more racially motivated than fueled by legitimate concerns to deal with a serious, far reaching issue. I don't see anyone rushing to clamp down that Canadian border.

A friend of mine once wrote a fantasy novel where a woman wakes up one morning and her constitutional rights have been revoked. She can't buy a car or a house without her husband or father, she can't have a bank account, she can't vote. (And let's be clear, we've only really had some of those rights for about 60 to 80 years anyway.)Her citizenship was nullified by the radical right and she has to go underground to work with a rebel group to try and regain control of the country and restore her rights. My friend couldn't sell her book because the publsihers kept telling her that it was too far fetched of an idea and that it could never happen. And now there's Arizona...slippery slope, slippery slope...

BTW, do you think I could try that anchor baby thing in Italy? I'd go there and give if they'd let me stay. I'd really like to try, particularly in Tuscany during harvest season.

Okay, for more on Pearce's scheme, check out this blog:

Rant 2 - Rand Paul

The senate candidate from Kentucky thought it would be a good idea to voice his opinions against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which (although it did many good things) most notable made it illegal to discriminate against people and turn them away from restaurants, housing, schools or jobs because of race. How stupid is he? If you actually do believe that the government should not have stepped in and outlawed discrimination, that's your choice. But I would hope you'd be bright enough to realize how controversial that is and know not to say it out loud, in politically mixed company or around an open mic. I'm not sure which bothers me more, that he is against the Civil Rights Act or that he's too dumb to know he shouldn't admit it in public. Clearly, stupid is the new smart.

Rant 3 - (Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things") "Girls in white dresses with blue eyeliner make up..."

My nine year old came home yesterday to report that several girls in her class have started wearing eyeliner, shadow and lipstick on a regular basis. I don't know what to do with that. I'm so freaking tired of chanting to Nicole, "Different families do different things..." or get into semi-cordial arguments on the playground with other mothers who think it's cute and harmless for their prepubescent daughter to be wearing makeup and who make me feel like an uptight prig for objecting. And maybe I am, but I'm not yet ready to admit it. I talk it out with Nicole, explain why we don't think it's a good idea for her. I tell her she will have hopefully 70 to 80 more years to wear make up and that there is no need to rush into it. I also point out how at a certain age, all the things you were so anxious to do when you were young, you want to stop doing - like wearing make up, high heel shoes and pantyhose -although I still feel like I'm going to go to hell if I don't hear pantyhose to church.

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