Two Sides to Every Coin
Today I had the chance to talk with a friend while our children played at a popular trampoline place. She was lamenting how divisive our nation has become. She is right! Because of so many social justice agendas, Americans are taking sides at an alarming rate. We start to join “groups” of people and then it becomes an attitude of “US” vs. “THEM” each and every day.
Blacks and whites feel more racial tension now than they did in the 1970’s. The LGBTQ and religious groups face off all over the nation in a battle of freedom OF religion vs. freedom FROM religion. You see division and dissension everywhere:
pro-life vs. pro-choice
tech savvy vs. Luddites
educated vs. uneducated
rich vs. poor
breast-feed vs. formula
fit vs. fat
city vs. rural
working moms vs. stay at home moms
anthropogenic global climate change vs. natural global climate change (these are the supposed climate deniers that some people want to put in jail).
Oh no! I don’t fit neatly into either category! I’m some of the items marked in green and others marked in red. Now what? It feels as though one must either adopt the “correct” point of view (read: politically correct point of view) or risk being labelled as a hater who deserves to lose both your livelihood and general respect for merely owning and expressing a point of view that supposedly marginalizes, invalidates, or insults someone. The same people who go around spouting off about how you “cannot legislate morality” apparently believe they can either legislate or coerce congeniality. Gone are the days when we might say, “If you don’t like what’s on this TV channel, then change the station.” Today, anyone who is not “all-inclusive” in his or her thinking MUST be made a villain in society.
People Are Allowed to hold unpopular opinions!
Don’t get me wrong – kindness is sort of great, but people in general are not always kind. It’s not even realistic to expect that to be the case, especially when passions are inflamed. When people feel passionately, it is not always easy to contain feelings of anger, so we must try to focus on the larger message over the tone of voice. But it’s difficult to overcome the drumbeat of society and the media who incite divisiveness by claiming that there is some hidden CODE in our everyday speech so that while I’m saying one thing, I obviously mean something else.
The most recent example of this centers on the topic of immigration. I am FOR legal immigration. That naturally means I am against illegal immigration. However, I do NOT hate immigrants – legal, illegal, or otherwise. I DO believe that people who enter the country illegally should be dealt with harshly as a means of deterring more people from following suit. I DO believe that being lenient on this issue has made the problem of people sneaking into the country grow to the proportion where it IS now a crisis. I do NOT believe that anyone and everyone who wants to come to America should be able. I DO believe that all men are created equal, but not all men are born American, nor are they meant to be. I DO believe that it should be up to the United States of America to decide who gets to come live in America, not each individual foreigner who wants to come. But that’s not because I hate the people who want to come here.
On the contrary, I think conditions in many third-world countries are deplorable and understand why so many want to come. People live in abject poverty and are subjected to the violence and the influence of corruption in their daily lives. It’s terrible, and I don’t have any easy answers for how to remedy the problems of such countries, especially those south of Mexico. One solution I heard recently was for the United States to spend more if its resources to help those nations boost their situation so that their people will not look to come here. Even that seems to be wishful thinking. The governments in those countries are too corrupt for us to have any real influence. I would hate to send them millions of US Taxpayer dollars only to find out some president’s wife used it all buying designer shoes, you know?
When I was young, I learned that much of the Americas are full of vast natural resources – the very same resources we have in the United States can be found throughout Central and Southern America. So what makes the difference in two parts of the world that have the same resources and vastly different outcomes? Culture. That is it. It is the decision of our Founders to prioritize the rights of ALL American citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that acts as a beacon to the repressed, suppressed, outcast, and downtrodden around the world. I personally believe the Founders meant LEGAL citizens. I do not believe for one minute that the Founding Fathers of America felt that they were representing people from other nations when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. Were they open to foreigners coming here? Absolutely, but within limit and reason, the way I think it should be today.
The fact is that the people of means WITHIN those third-world countries do not care enough about their own citizens and brethren to ensure economic stability and public safety in their home countries. Those people of means, many of themselves corrupt, are looking out primarily for themselves. I’m of the opinion that there is little the United States can do to change the culture of corrupt foreign nations. I believe it is the church body that should intervene and lead on this front. The church is the only body that could possibly influence such a shift in culture as would be necessary. I would like to think that even criminals would not be hostile and murderous toward people acting on behalf of the church, though admittedly, I am not entirely sure about that.
Nonetheless, failure on my part to articulate a solution for the downtrodden of foreign nations does not constitute agreement that they should all be able to move to the United States whenever and wherever they so please. I am not against reforming our legal immigration system to allow more people to come in an orderly and organized fashion. But I do think we should have the opportunity to perform basic health checks, background checks, and ultimately have the final say-so of who gets to enter and how many get to enter each year. That’s the bottom line. I’m against any measure that weakens the ability of the United States to have the final word over who gets to enter and who gets to stay in our nation.
I do NOT think that only educated foreigners should be allowed to come because I believe that within two generations, most of those who are allowed to come will go on to graduate high school, possibly attend college or trade school, and work toward productive citizenry. There is no reason to deny them entry if they follow the rules. But if they don’t follow the rules, there is no reason to admit them or keep them either.
Now, the issue of children being separated from their incarcerated parents after sneaking into the country has also come to light in recent months. It’s a sad situation, surely. But I think we either allow the separations or we allow family incarcerations. What I don’t think is okay is the JUDICIARY trying to force the government to go back to the systemic failure of “Catch and Release.” That is an abuse of judicial power in my opinion. If we want to change the laws, we should rely on the LEGISLATIVE branch of government to do so (even if they are COWARDS who keep kicking the can down the road on this issue). We need to use the power of the people to influence legislative remedies for this crisis. And again, it’s a crisis because of the sheer numbers (hundreds of thousands) who are violating our national sovereignty by sneaking into the country illegally, not because I hate foreigners.
And to me, that is the crux of the problem. Illegal immigration is not a trickle, it’s a flow that’s gaining momentum. I believe about 25% of the foreign-born population in America is here illegally. I don’t hate them for being here, but I do find their presence inconvenient. Let’s stop allowing this trend to continue! Let’s STOP the flow of illegal immigration, reform and streamline legal immigration, and get on with other important matters. That is my take on this issue.
Mutual Respect for Differing Ideas and Opinions Goes a Long Way!
Personally, I don’t like being bullied into silence about controversial topics because silence seems too much like acceptance of the opposing point of view. I like to talk about politics, religion, and other third-rail conversational topics. I will eagerly tell you what I think, and more importantly why I think it. And anyone who converses with me would be free to speak his mind too, so long as he could explain the reasons why he thinks the way he does too (logically – do not come at me with some hair brained feeling that cannot be articulated). There is no need in my mind for us to agree. I may be swayed in my thinking, or I may be immovable. But rest assured that in my world, we could disagree and still go out to lunch, or have ice cream together (when I’m not on a low-carb diet), or watch a movie some time. I don’t need others to think like I do in order to care about them, for them, or take an interest in them. I wouldn’t love others any less for thinking differently from me, and I’d expect the same courtesy as well. I respect that America is a diverse country – diverse in cultures, races, and opinions. I’m tired of people acting like their own opinion is the only one that matters, or the only one that is moral (Christians included).
This world of division – it’s hurtful, and it’s hateful, and it’s just not for me. I can’t worry so much about how unpopular my opinion is that I will compromise what I really believe just to gain acceptance from those around me. I have always believed that we can unify as a society if we focus on what we have in common rather than how we are different. I have learned to love my neighbor AND love my enemy. Believe me, I KNOW it’s not easy, but it IS possible. I think this societal push to “embrace diversity” of every kind except for the diversity of ideology and opinion is harming America because it is turning us against ourselves. We are the United States of America, with a society of 330 million people; we are never going to all agree on anything! The rich diversity of ideas should be talked about, debated even, but at the end of the day, we should end each disagreement firmly rooted on what we have in common because if we allow our differences to divide us, we will fall. Isn’t that what Abraham Lincoln said? A house divided against itself cannot stand.
The Wisdom of Lincoln Still Stands
If I were president, I’d be ripping off bits of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech. One main message of my administration would be:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this country cannot endure, permanently, divisive politically correct policies that silence dissenters or pit groups of Americans one against the other. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. Let us unify around the basic principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens of these United States.
Of course, I’d no sooner get that statement out before the media and the pundits would start attacking me and one another over who I mean by citizen (legal vs. illegal). Then the La Raza hate group would call for my resignation, and the whole vicious cycle would leave me shaking my head once again.