Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's Their Fault!

The election is over. Depending on how you voted it’s either the dawn of a new era of unimagined prosperity or the beginning of the apocalypse. The people have spoken and if one thing is clear beyond any shadow of doubt, and cuts across all demographic groups, political affiliations, ideology or lack thereof, it’s that It’s Their Fault!

Pick your choice from any of the below list. Multiple selections allowed and encouraged:

  • Immigrants
  • White Men
  • Whitelash
  • Backlash
  • Cultural Elites
  • Political Elites
  • Economic elites
  • The unwashed masses
  • Facebook
  • The Media
  • Wall Street
  • Main Street
  • Muslims
  • Christians
  • City folk
  • Country yokels
  • Anger
  • Ignorance
  • Greed
  • Any of the seven deadly sins
  • Polls
  • Lists
  • Things left off lists

The country might be divided but this is the one thing we can all agree on. The other is wrong (horribly and indisputably) and they’ve never been this wrong before. Ever. Not even close. Only one thing seems to be missing. An actual debate of the issues and policy.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than the immigration debate. For the record, I’m an immigrant. Not only am I an immigrant but I was an illegal, or undocumented if you prefer (for the life of me I can’t understand the debate over the semantic label which regardless of preference basically amounts to the same thing), immigrant before everything got sorted out and I got naturalized. I understand better than most the complexity, issues, pain and hardship involved. Furthermore, I voted for Clinton. I can’t think of a single candidate who was running, or might have run, in any party, who I would have voted for Trump over. I am willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, but pretty sure four years from now we will be worse off. Now that that’s out of the way let me present two examples of talking at each other rather than talking.

On the left side of the political spectrum there is the issue of Trump proposing immediately deporting 2-3 million illegal immigrants who are also convicted of crimes. Rather than debating the pros and cons of the proposal this is getting swept up in the general debate of the pros and cons of immigration. Why? Can anyone really come up with valid reasons not to deport people who have been convicted of crimes? We are not talking about citizens. We are talking about illegal immigrants who have done nothing to contribute to the larger society. Why sweep them up into the greater issue and tar and feather the majority of illegal, or legal, immigrants who commit no crimes, work hard and are decent and law abiding citizens guilty of nothing but wanting a better life for themselves? I understand that not every individual in that “criminal” bucket is a criminal or guilty of any crimes, but that’s not really what the debate needs to be about. It’s a side issue. Most reasonable people can agree that illegal immigrants who committed crimes should be deported. Arguing against that merely makes reasonable people question motives and gets us further and further from a solution.

On the right side of the political spectrum there is the issue of building a wall and limiting immigration to create jobs and make America more secure. There is no evidence of either one of those working. Look around you. Do you see any illegal immigrants working in well-paying jobs? Let’s assume you have zero immigration do you think there will be an increase in well-paying jobs? Why would there be? Eliminating illegal immigration will have no impact. Those aren’t the jobs the jobs illegal immigrants are filling. Maybe you were thinking about legal immigration and H-1B visas? In 2014 there were 162,239 H-1B visas issued. Perhaps an impressive number but a tiny fraction of the total 140,000,000 jobs. There is no cause and effect. Stop pretending there is. Okay. Jobs isn’t your real issue. Security is. What makes you think that building a wall will make you more secure? I check the news pretty regularly and I don’t really see an increase of terrorist attacks? The ones I have seen can pretty much be counted on the fingers of a single hand. Contrast this with the usual crime, mass shooting, etc., statistics. Shouldn’t those be addressed first? Neither terrorists nor illegal immigrants are committing those. Do you think that a committed terrorist, or a narco-terrorist for that matter, be daunted by a wall? They’ll just turn back? It doesn’t work that way.

But enough of being divisive and talking at you. Pretty sure none of the above will change anyone’s mind. I rest easy in the knowledge that it’s not my fault. It’s yours and on that we can all agree.

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