Emma Lazarus’s famous poem, The New Collossus, written on  the plaque on the Statue of Liberty is thought to capture the essence of what it means to be an immigrant by many Americans.

Roberto Suro, professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, in his guest editorial in Sunday’s Washington Post, suggests that this overly romanticized poem has nothing to do with our immigration policies, past or present,  or the founding of this nation and that we need to scrap the poem.

 

Some key points in Professor Suro’s piece include:

1. Most immigrants aren’t huddled masses
2. Most immigrants come here for economic reasons, not political or political asylum.
3. Emma Lazarus had special interest in immigrants
4. Emma Lazarus wrote her poem to help with laggard fund raising for the base of the Statue of Liberty.      
5. Lady Liberty is really about democracy, not sheltering the ‘huddled masses yearning to be free.’
6. The plaque was added to the base in 1903, posthumously, by one of Lazarus’s friends to honor Lazarus, long after the statue was dedicated.
7. The Golden Door of immigration slammed shut in 1924. 

You get the idea…

One doesn’t get the idea that Suro opposes immigration. He, himself, is a descendent of people who have fairly recently immigrated. He further explains:

…during the Great Depression and World War II, it became popular to herald immigrants’ contributions in the interests of national unity, and the statue became part of the lore. The poem was rediscovered and popularized as part of unsuccessful campaigns to open the United States as a refuge for Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, a new version of Lazarus’s cause. In 1945, with that point moot, Schuyler’s plaque was moved to a prominent spot near the pedestal’s entrance.

The immigration door remained shut after the war, and the share of the population that had been born abroad dropped to historically low levels as the Europeans who had come through New York Harbor died. By 1970, the foreign-born made up less than 5 percent of the population, a third of what their share had been around the turn of the century.

More romancing the statue occurred during the centennial celebration in 1986 when Ronald Reagan was president. He “spoke of his belief that “divine providence” had made the United States a home for “a special kind of people from every corner of the world, who had a special love for freedom.” Unabashed, he said, “Call it mysticism if you will.”

So what was Suro’s point?

In another decade, about one-quarter of the population under the age of 18 will be the U.S.-born children of immigrants, legal or otherwise, and what happens to them in our classrooms, workplaces and neighborhoods, much more than what happens to their parents, will determine whether this whole enterprise succeeds.

So what can we learn from Emma Lazarus, or from Ronald Reagan, for that matter?

Look back with caution is my advice. Bad poetry makes for bad policy. Whether you believe that current immigration flows are too big, too small or just right, a mystical attachment to the “Mother of Exiles” can lead to treacherous misconceptions. It can delude us into thinking that we shouldn’t have to do much to help folks succeed once they get here.

While Lady Liberty has stood immobile in New York Harbor, immigration has risen and fallen and risen again. Lazarus — and Reagan, even more so — dreamed that the unchanging values she symbolizes give us an innate talent for being a nation of immigrants. Wrong then and wrong now. Like Americans of every era, we’ll be held to account for how we manage the door and for what happens to immigrants and their offspring when they live among us.

We need to honor those values, but that is just the start. It was easy to idealize immigration when the doors were shut, but we know better now. We know that it’s hard work for all involved, them and us.

Professor Suros gives us a great history lesson and he blows holes in much of our Liberty mythology. He makes us take a realistic look at our immigration history and gives some sober words for the future—words that don’t boil the issue down to black or white but more to the what “is” and what “will be “ that will ultimately tell the tale.

Please read this guest editorial yourself.  It is well-worth the time, just to acquire a fresh perspective.

Click here if you missed it above.

42 thoughts on “She Was Never About Those Huddled Masses

  1. Poor Richard

    After reflection, perhaps the better story in Outlook was
    Jonathan Gold’s “Looking for a Melting Pot? Try the Barbecue Pit
    – Grilling, the act of cooking over an open fire, is primal
    and ancient, and there is no culture in the world without
    its version of the ritual.”
    Hopefully we can all agree on a love of good food – domestic,
    foreign or both.

  2. Moon-howler

    Poor Richard, your wish is my command.

    This opinion piece is bound to stir controvery. On the other hand, it sure made me think and reconsider some of my preset conditions of the mind. It didn’t change my mind, but it made me shelve some romantic notions i have been carrying since childhood.

  3. Second-Alamo

    So therefore the main reason for immigration is for the money and much less to become Americans, as we’ve been suggesting all along based on some unwillingness to assimilate. It makes sense to me, and is the reason that some parade around with symbols of other countries yet profess to be American. Partial allegiance at best in many cases. I can understand their fondness of the land they were born in, but it does make you wonder how many in this country would split as soon as economic conditions back ‘home’ improved over that of the US, and the way things are going who knows.

  4. Moon-howler

    SA, I think you could probably look at the entire American experience and say that it was economically driven. Is that a bad thing? Is capitalism no longer a good thing?

    Go back to the very beginnings–some people came for religious freedom but after the initial waves, most people came for economic gain.

  5. kathy

    Moon-how: Wrong! The tale of “religious freedom” is just as much of a myth as what Prof Suro was talking about. The ones who came first were not so much about religious freedom. They were about getting & keeping land; not getting taxed on that land or their earnings. Furthermore, as to religion itself, these people embraced the age of Englightenment & scientific principles. A great many were deists, some were agnostic, and dare I say it — some were atheists!
    Current pro-immigration groups have this fixed notion that our sovereign nation cannot or at least should not control the quota of its immigrants, based on need or some other criteria (ability to support oneself; affinity with the language, etc). Again, more to do with $$$ than any ideology. We have far too many people here already, plenty w/o jobs. Foreign kids being recruited from across the world to our universities, some even paid by those universities, while our kids get student loans & workstudy. “Diversity” refrain played ad nauseum, while this country has taken in & continues to take in more than any other country on earth, yet we are not diverse enough? When will be enough? Far too many immigrants have little skills, mooch off our public services, clog our roads & schools, bankrupt our hospitals, drive up our insurance rates, etc. Not the case so many years ago. Close the doors America. We have done enough, and our own are suffering for it, and will continue to suffer for the mistakes that both political parties subjected us to.

  6. ShellyB

    M-H you nailed it. Ideas like capitalism are as essential to our American essence as the idea that we are a land of immigrants. And guess what? The two things are inextricably linked. How much of a super power would we be if not for immigration allowing our economy to expand? Do you think the population we had before the Industrial Revolution could have created the wealth that made us the most powerful nation in the world?

    Remember the “School House Rock” cartoon. It shows the first English settlers in America gazing across the Atlantic sorrowfully, and the song goes “They missed their homes in Mother England.”

    This made me feel sorry for them. Not hate them, Alamo. And, when they decided to take up arms against their brothers, what was the reason? Taxes. They didn’t want to pay them. That has something to do with economics too. But we look back at them as great patriots. They came to form a new allegiance. That’s what all immigrants to this country end up doing. Even if they intended to go back one day. They often can’t make it for so long, they fall in love with America. They have stronger ties to thier. American children than the families they left behind. This is as much a part of America as anything I can think of.

    There are a lot of iconic ideas that became part of America’s sense of itself even if it wasn’t intended originally. Is “all men are created equal” the same idea it was when it was forst written? Anyway, this was an interesting article. Thanks M-H.

  7. ShellyB, thank you for your astute analysis. Well written and interesting.

    It seems we are always taking up arms against our brothers, doesn’t it? We did it in the Revolutionary war, we did it in the Civil war, we do it globally and we do it to ourselves in our culture wars. Are we really that bent on self destruction?

  8. Moon-howler

    The thanks goes to Poor Richard. He brought it to my attention.

    I believe all first generation emigrants kept one foot in the old land and one in the new. Those who left their home in the east and went west for a better life are really no different than those who came from foreign lands in many respects. Evidence of longing for home can be found in folk music like Shenandoah.

    Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you.
    Away, you rolling river!
    Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
    Away, I’m bound away,
    ‘Cross the wide Missouri.

    http://www.friendsacrossamerica.com/shenandoah.html for melody

    The song has undergone many translations and interpretations. People have argued that over details and minutia. Those who carried that song west were leaving their country, at least as they knew it. They longed for home, but the prospects of a better ($$$) life called to them. Much of the land in the east was bought up and used up in those days.

  9. ShellyB

    M-H, I guess this means that the modern day anti-immigrant attitude we are dealing with is:

    “Yes, immigrants move in search of a better life for themselves and their families, and that’s okay, but only if they are from Western Europe. If they are Italian, we can get used to it after a while, but that’s also a problem due to darker hair color. Chinese: let’s exclude them. Japanese: let’s put them in concentration camps so we can steal their land and their houses. African, Middle Eastern, and Latino immigrants: big problem. Darker skin and darker hair color. The should seek better lives elsewhere.”

    I know this is an exaggeration. But if color was not an issue, how could anyone argue with a straight face that people who look Hispanic to them are probably illegal. And that police officers should use that logic when decided who to pull over and racially profile?

  10. ShellyB

    Does a free society founded on equality mesh with closed doors that welcome only those who fit the right physical description? I wonder if we had been a closed door society that did not let any immigrants in, would the beacon of democracy symbolism have even applied? Would the French have wanted to give us this statue? Isn’t it possible that having Irish Americans (forgot to mention them above, but they also got a lot of crap for being different), Italian Americans, Chinese Americans, etc. in this country is what helped to spread the word of what a great country we are, how great democracy is, and capitalism and the enterpeunurial spirit as well? It’s fine to question the notions we hold dear as Americans, their origin and all that. But if we start stripping out one of them (nation of immigrants), we are really stripping away everything we stand for.

  11. Moon-howler

    The Poles weren’t welcomed with open arms, nor were the Irish. Boatloads of Jewish refugees escaping facism and nazism were turned away from our ports. I don’t think it is skin color. I think it is how different the culture is from one’s own and more importantly, how many are involved. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say it is all about volume and quantity.

    As for the Japanese….I think that was something different. Not better, not worse, just different set of circumstances.

    Let’s put it this way, the easier it is to tell one is an immigrant, the easier it is to target them.

  12. ShellyB

    Moon-howler :
    Let’s put it this way, the easier it is to tell one is an immigrant, the easier it is to target them.

    FAIR was founded in response to 1965 legislation that banned racial quotas designed to preserve the white majority. It was founded with white supremacist funding, and still going strong today despite the attempted clean up of their image. On the 4th of July, Del. Bob Marshall shares a stage with them and makes no apologies. Have we really progressed at all?

  13. Moon-howler

    If the end goal is the same, perhaps no. I am not a FOB (friend of Bob) but I also will say I expect he didn’t know the jaded history of FAIR. Perhap a real FOB might write him a letter outlining this seamy past of FAIRs. I was unaware of racial quotas in regards to immigration. I suppose it was built in. 😉

  14. ShellyB

    I believe there was a federal law passed in 1924 that redefined immigration to involve racial quotas designed to protect the white majority. Then, when this was repealed during the Civil Rights movement, along came FAIR funded by white supremacists to give Congress the “What for!” We only heard about FAIR when they came to PWC, but they were working against immigration long before that. They don’t pretend it’s about legal or illegal either. I don’t blame Bob Marshall for being ignorant of this. My whole problem with him has always been his freakish and extreme language about abortion and teenage girls’ love canals. But since he represents me, I wish he would do his homework before attending rallies with white supremacist groups. Ick.

  15. Poor Richard

    M-H, I agree with you – it is, in most cases about “volume”
    plus pace and location.
    – According to a study by UVA’s Weldon-Cooper Center for Public
    Service, the Hispanic population of Virginia tripled from 1990
    to 2006. Most of the population – and most of the increase – was
    in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. . Virginia jurisdictions
    with the largest Hispanic population percentage were
    Manassas Park (30%), Manassas City (27%) and PWC (19%). Fairfax
    City, Fairfax County and Alexandria were, by comparison, 13%.
    – The report noted most Hispanics living in Virginia -60%- were
    U.S. citizens, most born here – only 13% naturalized.
    – Do a little math. If Manassas with an estimated population
    of 36,000 is 27% Hispanic that is 9,720 and 40% of that
    is 3,888 – consequently, an estimated close to 4,000 undocumented
    Hispanics lived in Manassas in 2006. The report also notes
    that Virginia Hispanics who are not citizens “are, in general,
    less educated, poorer and more likely to lack health insurance
    than the population overall”.
    A large poor and uneducated immigrant population showed up at
    our doorstep almost overnight requiring attention and services
    Manassas was not prepared or equipped to offer. (Would note the
    Federal government, which had the responsibility to not let
    this happen, has since responded to the City, not with help
    and useful guidence but a kicks in the teeth). How could
    there not be anger and frustration?
    – Calm adults need to take charge – but it ain’t easy. What
    I do know is F.A.I.R, HSM, MWB, huge signs in residential areas
    and marches for bogus reasons are part the problem – not the
    solution. Nor is hollering racial descrimation every two
    minutes – when it is really about maintaining your property
    – rent or own- and being proactive in your child’s education.
    You are right M-H, it isn’t all black or white. I’m
    tired of the extremist, on both sides.

  16. Gainesville Resident

    Indeed, I too am tired of the extremists on both sides of the immigration issue. If left up to those two sides, there’s never going to be any resolving of the current illegal immigration problem. Indeed, in Manassas, and in my former neighborhood – it was overwhelmed by the sudden seismic shift to a lot of poor and undereducated people. In my opinion, my former neighborhood is still that way – I haven’t been by there since January when my townhouse got rented out – but reports from people who have been by there tell me nothing has really changed since then or last October when I moved out.

    Anyway, if the extremists on both sides would move more to the middle and be willing to compromise, maybe there might be a chance to finding a solution to this problem, which is going to be difficult to achieve.

  17. ShellyB

    There will always be extremists. We can’t expect them to move anywhere. The lesson of PWC is that when extremists take over the government, ordinary people have to step forward. We did that, thank goodness, or else we would be up to our necks in law suits right now. But it shows that Sarah Palin is right about apathy. Apathy is bad for democracy. Only dead fish go with the flow.

  18. Moon-howler

    Wouldn’t you hate to go down in the annals of history with that one quote about dead fish?

  19. kelly3406

    If immigration is more about economics than political/religious freedom, then that suggests controlling legal immigration based on the performance of the U.S. economy. When the economy is booming and the workforce needs to expand, then the quota of legal immigrants should be increased. When the economy is performing badly, then the quota should be decreased.

    If the numbers of legal immigrants are managed more carefully (e.g. in terms of quantity and education level), then the shrill arguments against legal immigration become less important. When companies are laying people off, we should not increase the competition for already scarce jobs by accepting large numbers of immigrants.

  20. Moon-howler

    I certainly think that immigration policy should reflect the needs of the country. I don’t think we can set a policy and expect it to remain reasonable for 25 years, since the needs of the country continually change.

    Bringing in people for whom there are no jobs is foolishness. Bringing in people who will work for much less is…just not good business.

  21. Elena

    Gainesville,
    How do you see the middle? What criteria make up that centrist solution?

  22. Last Best Hope

    M and Kelly are right at the same time. We set a policy in the 80’s that was quickly outdated as our economy grew and a growing labor force was needed. Out of political laziness we allowed illegal immigration to fill the labor gap. The created problems while avoiding others.

    I am ashamed that the Tea Party organizers keep returning to Prince William. I was very upset by the kind of language I heard during the 4th of July weekend on the radio. Independence Day is not a day to plot insurrection or defame the President. It is day to celebrate unity.

    I guess I got off on the wrong foot with the anti-immigrant propagandists when they attacked Bush simply for wanting to fix the immigration system. Our economy was booming at the time. So there was no call for Kelly’s argument, which is retooled for a period of economic anxiety. Why did these anti-immigrant propagandists turn on Bush on this of all issues? Why abandon him for supporting CIR? These same people could not bring themselves to vote for McCain, thus costing him the election. Why?

    It can’t be economic anxiety because we didn’t have that then.

    With or without economic anxiety, a small segment of people will always find a reason to be against immigrants, especially if there is race involved. This segment of the Republican party is the inbred, socially maladjusted cousin that we need to keep in the back room or the basement. We can’t send them off to an asylum because that would be inhumane. They are part of the family and we must deal with them in such a way that mainstream America will understand.

  23. Second-Alamo

    I’m seeing this brainwashing thread that runs through many of these discussions. It goes like this, ‘minority good, majority evil’. Everyone refers to immigrants both legal and illegal as if they are the true Americans, while objecting to the displeasure voiced by those who have been a part of building and defending this nation for many generations, and in all probability are white. Now it seems that there is this anti-white sentiment that keeps trying to downplay opinions by the majority white Americans as being based on hate. The key word not too long ago was ‘racism’, and everyone kept their opinions to themselves for fear of being referred to as a racist. Now that has changed to the key word ‘hate’. ShellyB uses this tactic constantly. It’s ironic that in a nation where minorities are allowed to protect their own turf, and are even protected by specific laws, that those majority members who grant those rights are prevented themselves from enjoying the same. Lets assume FAIR is a white only support organization for the sake of argument. What’s wrong with that? They don’t control the nation or make laws any more than any other minority organization yet many view this as bad. Why does it upset people that, God forbid, whites are allowed to organize in the same manner as minorities? That is a fundamental right in my opinion. So call it ‘hate’ when I speak out about illegal-immigration, but I think its time we ignore the brainwashing before this nation dissolves.

  24. Alanna

    Second Alamo,
    It’s very simple, groups like the NAACP or NCLR work for inclusion of their races in society while Federation for American Immigration Reform is exclusionary meaning they want to exclude races other than white.

  25. In addition to what MH says, “whites” (I hate that term though I have to use it to communicate with the masses) already have benefits of organizations they have established–the Irish American Clubs, for example. You don’t see many Irish people who don’t look light skinned.

    And let’s not forget all the minorities who have fought in all our wars. SA, your saying “….while objecting to the displeasure voiced by those who have been a part of building and defending this nation for many generations, and in all probability are white.” is an insult to veterans of all ethnicities. I suppose you haven’t recently visited the Viet Nam memorial–you know, that one with the African American soldier standing next to the “whites”? Did you ever bother to read the variety of ethnic names on the Viet Nam memorial wall?

    “Whites” can do what they want, but when they inflict or attempt to inflict pain on others who are different, they become a racist or a hate group by definition. “Let’s harass immigrants until we can prove how many are illegal” is inflicting pain.

  26. @Last Best Hope “a small segment of people will always find a reason to be against immigrants”

    Are you sure it’s that small, LBH? I personally know many who fall into this category, and they appear to be a startling majority.

  27. ShellyB

    Alamo, I can see your feathers are ruffled due to FAIR being classified as a Hate Group. But we’ve been over this. There are Black Seperatist groups that are classified as Hate Groups also. Meanwhile, the NAACP is not a Hate Group. So the criteria of merely looking out for a particular subclass of humans is not what makes FAIR a hate group.

    But let’s step back for a second. For the sake of argument, let’s go by your charitable definition of FAIR: “FAIR is a white only support organization.” You ask what is wrong with that? Okay. I grant you, nothing. I think there should be a group like that. Why does it sound threatening? Probably because “whites only” reminds us of the Jim Crow era. And, the terroristic tactics that “whites only” groups like the KKK and the Neo-Nazis have employed to terrorize minorities and preserve their way of life. So if FAIR had been a “whites only” group that simply focused on European heritage, that would be one thing. But instead, they focus on who they want to exclude. They make up fake statistics and fake people to attribute them to, all geared toward making MORE people hate and mistrust those groups they want to exclude. Then then sneak into communities like ours and try to pass laws they’ve concocted that target minorities and institutionalize racism. Add this all together and “whites only” no longer sounds harmless.

    But I grant you, as a start, “whites only” is not that bad. It’s just in the case of FAIR, they took it way too far. It may be that once you start a group with a “whites only” attitude, you end up attracting the wrong type of people. I don’t know.

    Would anyone like to try an experiment? Advertise a “whites only support group” with posters and a website and then announced the first meeting and see who comes. My fear is you would get the wrong type of people based on assumptions. It would take some work to reverse those assumptions.

    That’s why I’m so shocked that Del. Bob Marshall was willing to appear at a “whites only” Tea Party.

  28. ShellyB

    @Posting As Pinko
    Pinko, I do think it is a small segment of the population. Remember, that 58 percent of PWC voted for an African American President.

  29. Moon-howler

    Whites are certainly not the only group of people who harbor prejudices.

    Alamo, you ask, why can’t white people organize for white only support organizations. You know the answer to that.

    ON the other hand, you did not say that FAIR was a whites only organization. I understand what you are saying. You ask a logical question. The answer might not even be so logical, but it is what it is. The Times They are a Changing. In fact, the Times Have Changed. Those who survive the times are those who move on and adapt.

    Those who don’t survive will always feel bitter.

  30. ShellyB

    I think you mean “adapt” in the last sentence, M-H. Alamo is surviving just fine. The problem is he is failing to adapt to a modern era where the majority of people have no qualms or phobias with regard to people of other ethnic backgrounds. Certainly around here, you either “adapt” or get bitter. But there are still communities where the old fashioned separatist approach to life is workable. Prince William and really the whole area around here has become too multi-cultural for that old fashioned way of living. Thus the Alamo’s of our community are suffering. I have sympathy for that. It’s easy to say, “you have to adapt.” But for some, they would rather fight to the bitter end.

    Alamo, for the sake of your family and your own sanity, I hope you learn to adapt.

  31. Moon-howler

    Shelly, I actually did mean survive. Perhaps not the best use of the word, but I really mean survive, but not in the literal sense.

    I am not a fan of Al Sharpton. I often find him to be a blow hard and yes, there are times I find his speech to be racist. Today, he made such good sense as he eulogized Michael Jackson. He said so many things I have never even thought of. Cause/effect things. He spoke of all the children who grew up on Michael Jackson–more when I see the text.

  32. @ShellyB
    That’s good, because I get worried 🙂

  33. Second-Alamo

    Sounds like nothing but White Bashing to me! Pinko, who is considered the majority in this country? Whites, that’s why I stated that most who defended this country are probably White. Simple statistics, but then there you go again stretching the comment into something ugly, why, because I’m White! That’s is exactly what I was referring too.

  34. Second-Alamo

    MH,

    I don’t mind the times are changing, as long as it is by the will of this nation, and not by people from other nations. The way I view the people here is that they feel that people from other nations have the right to come here illegally because it is in their best interest, but they feel that this nation doesn’t have a right to determine who and how many come here when it is in its best interest. Therefore they feel that people of other nations have more rights than the very people who were born an raised in this sovereign nation. That’s wrong.

  35. Second-Alamo

    Another response to you Pinko. Your reference to whites as typically excluding other races, or some such racial hatred is just that, brainwashing. True that attitude existed generations ago as did slavery, but I’m sick of taking the rap for it just as minorities are sick of being stereotyped at times. Think about it, if you mention ‘white organization’ everyone immediately thinks KKK. One freaking bad organization, yet there are literally tens of thousands of good helpful organizations that just many have a majority white membership and get no press. That’s what stinks. This white bashing has got to stop. Whether you like it or not, whites are in the positions they are in because of their abilities, and certainly not because of any quota system. Just ask those fire fighters about that one! For this nation to succeed it’s future has to be based on selecting the best based on ability not diversity. Dwelling solely on diversity as the prime requirement will be our downfall.

  36. @Second-Alamo
    “…Your reference to whites as typically excluding other races,” SA, where did I ever say that? If for no other reason, we have integrated within our “white” organizations because the law says we must. But that reason is at the bottom of the sociological barrel. Most organizations try to be more inclusive because it benefits the organization. Snobbery, racially based or otherwise, isn’t usually a good selling point.

    I am also curious if you are saying white people have more and better abilities than people from other cultures when you say “whites are in the positions they are in because of their abilities.” Or are you solely addressing employment programs like….(Dang…for the life of me I can’t recall the name of that program…it’s like EEO but not…help me out here.)

    What makes you say “white” organizations don’t get any press? I am genuinely curious here. What kind of organizations would you like to see get press and why? What do you consider a “white” organization (excluding groups like FAIR)?

    SA, I also don’t know why you think “white organization” means the KKK. I used the Irish-American club as an example. These are folks who celebrate their culture. And yes, they are white. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s great. The more people who celebrate their culture, the better, IMO.

    Ever go to a Renaissance festival? It’s about European culture. How about classical art museums? We get our building designs in DC from classical arts.

    Maybe you should celebrate your own culture, SA. I don’t mean this disrespectfully. I mean…throw a party that says, “Hey! I am proud of where I come from!” You can do that without denigrating people who come from other places, without doing the “my culture is better than yours” dance (and I am not saying you are).

    We used to go to these cool “feasts” in North Boston when I was growing up. The Italians put them on. Picture all these Italians parading in the streets, cooking sausages, selling vegetables, playing music, singing….it was great. And people from anywhere who wanted to come DID come and enjoy those festivities.

    I really hope you answer these questions, SA, because I am trying to understand where you are coming from. It’s next to impossible on the Net because everyone gets so PO’d and reads things out of context (unfortunately, it’s a problem inherent to communication).

    I wish we could have a live discussion and truly HEAR each other. I bet you would be shocked that people like me really aren’t raving mad and really do NOT want illegal immigration in this country.

    Admins, how about setting up an Anti audio conference online that would allow each commenter to take a turn and avoid talking over one another? Then you could archive the conversation. Too difficult?

  37. Moon-howler

    Too difficult for me. Why dont you all use net meeting or something.

    If I might interject something in here, pinko, you don’t hear him because you are from a different region and from a different generation. I totally understood every word SA said. I am closer in age and am a Virginian.

    SA and I both were alive during a time when the most social change of the century took place. I expect we both have a different outlook or understanding than those who grew up, like my children did, in the age of mujsic videos, Michael Jackson, and a different social context.

    There was a great deal of ‘taking the rap’ for those of us your parents generation, pinko. We took the rap for that which went on during WWII also, probably because we came along after it, so pile that on also. We took the rap for Vietnam –both sides. We were responsible somehow for Mai Lai and for spitting on soldiers, for example. Because we were alive during segregation, that is our fault too. Perhaps I exaggerate somewhat…or perhaps I don’t. Not sure.

  38. @Moon-howler
    MH, what do you mean about “taking the rap”? Do you mean the next generation blaming your generation for the country’s pitfalls? If so, you can count me out of that. Every generation fails in its own way. Then again, I have never been what you would call mainstream, so there must be something I am missing. (My Dad told me last week that I’m very kumbaya, which is true to some extent and which might be why I don’t understand what some people are trying to say.)

    Do you think the immigration debate reflects as much social change as say, the Civil Rights era? I don’t know. I’m just asking.

  39. Moon-howler

    No. Absolutely not. It is not as far reaching.

  40. ShellyB

    I think during the Civil Rights Era we settled all the questions that a very small minority of Americans are struggling to catch up to. We are all equal and all have the same claim on the flag, the Constitution, inalienable rights, etc. We can’t put certain religions or races above others. Nor can we pass laws that target certain religions or races, whether it be citizens, non-citizens, immigrants, or soon to be immigrants. The Civil Rights Era decided it once and for all. We meant what we said about equality back at the founding. It was not just talk. We may have left unsettled the questions of slavery and women’s suffrage, but finally with the Civil Rights Era we got it right and we are never going back.

    Either adapt or you will be a really frustrated angry person.

  41. Gainesville Resident

    I’ll have to think about Elena’s question to me somewhere in the middle of this thread – I’ve been busy and away from the blog for a few days and just now checking in and catching up on all the threads. It’s too late in the evening now – and I’m not sure I can even really define what a centrist solution to the whole immigration reform issue would be. I’ll just have to give that one some thought – it’s an excellent question but a very difficult one too! My brain is too tired, been a long day at work today (I’m out of town on a business trip fixing yet another minor crisis of the customer’s making that developed on a system I’m responsible for).

  42. ShellyB

    Hey everyone, a centrist solution from the Council on Foreign Relations, a bi-partisan and widely respected group, is the topic of a new thread. Everyone seems to be drawing the same conclusions. If, that is, they have accurate information not derived from white supremacist funding, i.e. FAIR and Numbers USA.

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