Sunday, April 16, 2006
Mything the Point of "Broken Borders"
Lou Dobbs has been beating this drum with almost as much fervor as he used to bang the "outsourcing is bad" drum. That puts him in a peculiar spot. As Stephen Colbert pointed out, "If all the immigrants from Mexico are coming here for jobs, then why not outsource all the jobs? Problem solved." The ever rational Dobbs had to admit Colbert nailed him with that bon mot.
I don't know which is more ironic, a pundit posing as a comedian getting nailed by a comedian posing as a pundit, or the fact I couldn't think of a good English word to describe what he did. It doesn't matter. The important thing is that you have to take a longer view if you want to solve a complex problem. We all know illegal immigration is nothing new. Ask the Indians. When you look at that history, its easy to see how people would get edgy about immigrants.
Here’s the good news: things are different now. First off, we didn't suffer through a series of killer epidemics that wiped out 90% of the population right before the immigrants showed up. Second off, there are a lot more of us then there are of them. Third off, we can actually use their labor. Fourth, and most important, people who immigrate tend to represent the most talented, motivated, optimistic, and enthusiastic parts of the population. Think about it... you honestly think millions of pessimistic, lazy, and depressed losers can get it together to move thousands of miles from home to a place where they don't even speak the language?
I realize people are running around screaming about illegals sucking up resources like health care. There is no question health care costs are a real problem. However, before you start blaming illegal immigrants, consider this simple solution for containing health care costs: We follow every other industrialized nation over the cliff and get Universal Health Care Insurance. Don't worry, it's a happy landing.
Here's one number: 3%. That's the administrative overhead for Medicare.
Here's another number: 12%. That's the administrative overhead for the average private plan.
If we just had Medicare for Americans, the savings in administrative overhead ALONE would cover the costs for the 45 Million uninsured Americans. Do that and 5 million uninsured immigrants means we have 1/10th the problem we have today ... and it didn't cost us anything. It's a fact. Look it up.
A lot of people complain illegals are here unfairly. Are you kidding? America was built on unfairness. If the Colonists had fought the British fairly they would have stood in plain view and taken their musket shots like men. They would have been cut to ribbons, the Revolution would have be quashed and we would still be speaking English. Imagine if we had bit it like that, you know the Brits would still be all up in our grill dogging us like scrub, fo'shizzle my weeble.
That reminds me of another complaint we often hear. “The immigrants are destroying American culture.” What exactly is American culture? Saturday Night Live? Connie Chung? Jennifer Lopez?
Saturday Night Live is certainly part of the culture. Connie Chung is an icon of post-feminist success. That brings us to Jennifer Lopez. That All-American boriqua de piel canela isn’t part of the culture, she dominates it. She sings, she dances, she acts, she models, she even has her own fashion line and fragrance. It looks like the only thing J. Lo can't do is find Mr. Perfecto.
Let me show you how this all comes together. One of the funniest lines I ever heard delivered on SNL was by J. Lo in a skit where she was a news anchor on a local access cable show called "Good Morning Bronx." She was trying to keep up some semblance of professionalism but her co-anchor wouldn't stop acting like a fool. She finally got him to shut up by shrieking, "You're not gonna mess up my chance to be the Puerto Rican Connie Chung." Only in America, baby.
Face it, people aren't coming here for the culture. People never came here for the culture. People come here so they can have a better life, and they're willing to risk their lives for the opportunity. The last time we went through this with Reagan, I remember a story about a teenage pregnant girl that got caught at the border and sent home...to Guatemala. The girl had walked across Mexico so her baby would be born in El Norte. That's like walking from Florida to Connecticut. Barefoot and pregnant. That's the kind of woman any employer would love to hire. It doesn't matter how deep the snow gets, or whether the buses are running or not. That girl will always make it to work.
Here's why I bring all this to your attention: 25 years ago Japanese investors bought Rockefeller Center; the home to NBC where they broadcast SNL. People started freaking out. In the midst of all the public debates, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said "America is an inferior mongrel race." Looking back, that's pretty damn funny. How many different ways can you be wrong in one sentence? Anyone who thinks American is a race obviously never rode a bus. Judging from the collapse of the Nikkei, I would say inferior is as inferior does. The only thing he got right was the part about us being mongrels. We call that diversity. Biologists call it hybrid vigor. That's the secret to our success. I say cultivate it, celebrate it, bottle it, and sell it. It's the American way.
Mything the Point:
"Examining unexamined beliefs Americans accept on faith value."