Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Childish Games: (Your Thoughts, Please!)

"Tick tock, the game is locked.
Nobody else can play but us . . ."

On the way home from the dentist that day my mom bought me a purple and blue marbled rubber hoppy-taw. It landed with a satisfying slap on the hopscotch she drew in our driveway with white chalk.

Karen and Linda came over and we practiced our expert throws, skillful jumps and precise turns in preparation for the fifth-grade competition. It was annoying when a couple of little sisters begged to join the game. So, we joined hands and locked them out.

Afterward we went out of our way to demonstrate all the fun they were missing, showing off our solidarity in excluding them. Were we cool or what??

Apparently not. Mom came out and took away the hoppy taw. It had been a gift from her, and she didn't like the selfish attitude I had in using it. She scuffed out the hopscotch, sent my friends home and told me when I learned to play with my little sister I could have my grown-up privileges back.

Mom taught the lesson over and over. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

That's why my shoulders tighten and my stomach churns when I hear the angry voices on the immigration issue. Although the arguments make it sound complex, to me it boils down simply: I'm not more special than anyone else, and I'm supposed to share the blessings I've been given.

This is the introduction to a recent series on KSL TV on immigration.

The Dream Divided
It is an issue that affects every American, and everyone who would become an American. And while it touches a thousand aspects of American life, it has managed to divide America into two camps.
One which believes our national borders are there to protect a way of life. Another which believes there should be no hard borders for those who strive honestly for freedom and opportunity. One side believes our nation is made weaker when the Rule of law is not enforced. The other believes our nation is made stronger by those who come here to build a better life. Neither side is right; neither side is wrong. It is a battle of perspectives, influenced by many factors -- compassion versus concern over safety, economic stability, the integrity of our culture. It raises a fundamental question about what we call "The American Dream." Does it envision a place of refuge, or place that ensures the security of those already here? The most important question: Is there a place in the middle? That is the question, and while the debate rages, the Dream is Divided...

From my perspective, it's wrong to join hands and lock somebody else out, just because I started playing first. That's a childish game.

*I'd love to hear your comments, whether you agree with me or not. This is a subject worthy of a serious back and forth discussion. Although I usually don't comment in my own comments, I'm excited to respond to your thoughts. Tell me how you feel about all this!


Cannwin said...

I was running errands with my brother-in-law a few years back, when we pulled into a parking spot next to a little hispanic family. I can't even remember how the conversation got started but my b-i-l said 'They're illegal.'

'why on earth would you think that?!' I asked, 'Because they speak spanish they must be illegal?'

'Oh, they are... I know it. They all are.'

His opinion was so saturated with venom that I backed off, but I was seriously disturbed.

It bothers me that in the United States, the melting pot of the world, we can say 'this is our land, stay out.'

Isn't this the reason for the Statue of Liberty, to show that we embrace all. Welcome all?

Do I think it's okay to have a carte blanche acceptance of all illegals in our country? No, but I do think we should make it easier for people who have come here illegally to become citizens (I don't know the process so maybe it is).

It's also double sided though, there is a sense of solidarity throughout the hispanic communities that perhaps only serves to exacerbate the problem. We all need to be more open to one another.

I used to live in Arizona, and immigration was a constant issue. When I was there they had a vote on the ballot that would make it so public school teachers were required to only teach in English. The proposal made me so mad! It was extremely exclusionary and it was focused at children. The saddest part is that it passed.

I think most of the immigration issue is fueled by racism and stigma's that, if they were done away with, would make the whole situation easier to deal with.

The Grandmother Here said...

What does "illegal" mean? Against the law, right? Don't we believe in obeying the law? Shouldn't everyone obey the law?

polly said...

i've been reading lately about my ancestors who came here to find a better life. I have great respect for them because it was so hard to leave the homes that they loved, but everyone that lives here has people that came before who left a country. they came and learned the language and the ways of this country even though it was difficult. I feel that today everyone who has that same dream should be welcome to this great country, but out of respect for those that came before that same standard should be met. They should come legally, learn the language and the ways of this nation, while teaching and maintaining their customs and traditions. It is what built this nation and what made it America.

Travelin'Oma said...

I was going to leave comments to your comments but they're turning into whole blog posts. I can't seem to say anything without telling a story. Anyway, I'm loving your comments and I'll respond in blog posts later this week.

Keep talking!

Heffalump said...

I'm fine with letting people into this country, who come in legally. I am not fine with people coming in illegally.
I have some wonderful friends who came to this country as immigrants, and who are now U.S. citizens, and I think that is wonderful.
Sneaking into a game without asking to play though, is cheating. Your little sister begged to join the game, she didn't just jump into it in the middle...

Grandma Shelley said...

I live in Arizona and the issue of illegal activity by illegal immigrants hits very close to my home. I live within a few short miles of a highly used highway for drug traffic from Mexico. It is a very dangerous stretch of highway that we try to stay clear of.

Our youth group from our church has also had to change the location for their annual trek due to the dangers of illegals crossing the desert in the area.

For me it is not the childish game of exclusion but one of illegal activity and the resulting danger it brings to our communities.

I have several friends who work for border control, highway patrol, and the sheriff's department. They have a very dangerous and risky job every single day. These friends are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, and sisters to those who love them.

They are in the front lines fighting a real and dangerous war within the U.S. border towns every single day for me and my family.

I have many hispanic friends and relatives. I know that there are many more good people than bad who would like to come to America for a better life. I would never want to deny anyone of their dreams but I do feel that they should reach their dreams legally. It is safer for everyone that way.

kenju said...

I definitely agree with you. But then, I nearly always do.

Some of the hateful invective I'm hearing lately saddens and scares me.

the wrath of khandrea said...

the whole thing is so very complicated. i strongly believe legislation needs to be enacted because our country is totally overburdened. but america is great because of our diversity. we need to find a way to make it work better.

Mrs. O said...

Okay not to change the subject but, isn't that what Prop 8 does? Doesn't it lock people out?

Both are hard, divisive issues to discuss. But does 'all' really mean all?

Alisha Stamper said...

ergh. i don't wanna write it all out, but I will say, what is this person TALKING ABOUT "the integrity of our culture"?! american culture isn't something like FRENCH culture or ASIAN culture, we're such a mishmash, WHAT integrity?!

Alisha Stamper said...

Also, I will say that immigration quotas were set during WWII... of course people for mexico weren't trying to come over then, so it's less likely than the lottery. who wants those odds?

allison said...

I read this post thinking you were addressing prop 8. But my feelings on both subjects are the same. Inclusive.