This I Believe

Joseph - Lutz, Florida
Entered on November 2, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

This I Believe – The present battle over immigration is overheated and continues to show off the underbelly of American society as selfish, unwelcoming and unreasoning. We have set a national priority of leak proof borders in a time of worldwide migration of peoples whose only crime is that they want to live free and productive lives. We are all immigrants. What exactly is the problem? Today, all too often, even among family and close friends, we are politically at odds and in polar opposition to each other’s point of view. This is all too apparent in the current national debate over immigration. In some circles the level rhetoric has risen to the point of being hate speech. No one wants to be labeled as unpatriotic so their vitriolic is couched in the flag or in the fears of the electorate over racial superiority, or loss of jobs and lately on the decline of Christianity as a force for national unity.

This is not civil dialog. There is no discourse. We are shouting at each other, neither listening nor making reasoned arguments. We, like the political advertisements are speaking in mindless sound bites. We seem willing to debase our country or our leaders or do whatever it takes to make our point. There is no wining of this debate, we are all losers. This is not healthy for our community or our nation. We are compromising the ideals upon which this nation was founded. We as a nation cannot retreat into ourselves. The door cannot now be closed. Each ensuing wave of immigration has caused one group or another existent within this country to recoil and to be fearful of being overtaken by the newly arrived. We must not give in to these absurd fears. We are a nation of immigrants. Building fences is not the answer.

There is another collection of democratic states in Europe that have had much more political history and experience than we have. Their transition to open borders and free markets has not been easy and is no way near a complete success. But we as their cousins across the pond could learn much from their experiment. Instead of building fences we should be encouraging open borders and free trade throughout the Americas. The ideals on which our country was founded require us as citizens of the world to be open minded and accepting of the challenges of leadership of that world and the globalization of economies which we as a national endeavor have already set in motion. It is difficult to contemplate the America of my youth in retreat from the rest of the world. I have faith that the ultimate common sense of the American people will prevail. We need to start talking to each other again. Turn down the rhetoric and listen for a change.