Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ho, ho, huh?

I've been bouncing around whether to post something non-comics related today. Not the to be exptected Christmas message of sweetness and light, but something a little more trenchant. Sure, expected from me is probably not what most expect, what with me being the atheist of the blog, but I do Christmas. Nice sentiment to it, even if it's cloaked in mythology.

'Course, I was thinking about the Ebenezer Scrooge of Baltimore and Harford Counties who goes by the name Pat McDonough, state senator. He's made his bones on dehumanizing any Spanish speakers. He says he's after the one's here illegally, but he's not too keen on differentiating. All Spanish speakers are presumed to be here illegally and worthy of nothing but swift removal to their country of origin. Of course, they're all a drag on the economy and potential killers, either via membership in MS-13 or drunk driving. It's the worst kind of demagogory, saddly similar to the broad brush Nazis used to paint Jews (and just about anyone else not Aryan) and racists in the US have used to depict blacks for centuries.

The reality is that illegals pay into the system through taxes and work but reap little benefit. The supposed free health care at hospitals is the sort of last resort, reactive health care that poor people are relegated to receive because they can't get proactive health care that would alleviate their own hospitalization needs, saving both them and other taxpayers money. Illegals are the targets of crime due to their fear of seeking police protection, lest generous hearts like Scrouge McDonough separate them from friends and family and remove them to even more egregious poverty.

And what was the purported impetus of Scrooge McDonough's missive, run by the Baltimore Sun (no doubt in response to the endless right wing cries that even-handed reporting is biased against the right)? Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are making Baltimore into an amnesty city by only pursuing deportation of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. Why, this is going to harm the poor black citizens of Baltimore by depriving them of jobs. Scrooge McDonough is only looking out for the interests of these poor, upstanding citizens.

Not that he'd make their lives immensely more palatable by pushing for the repeal of drug criminalization laws. The scourge of poor communities in Baltimore isn't low wage immigrants. It's drug laws that make it nearly impossible for those communities to recover without pushing the very people in need of recovery out of those neighborhoods for gentrification. It's a constant shifting of pockets of blight and decay. Those who fall into the drug trade are allowed little opportunity to mend their ways, branded with the stigma of felony convictions, and likely to be the targets of death in some war over distribution territory.

But I digress.

Fortunatley, Scrooge McDonough is a member of a particularly small minority in Maryland. Despite his delusion that 130,000 people signing a petition to put the Dream Act on the ballot for possible negation is a sign of a massive opposition (in a state with a population of more than 5.7 million, over half of whom live in the overwhelmingly Democratic Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties), Baltimore City, with Federal support, is taking the emminently sensible position that hard working immigrants, even if here without proper papers, shouldn't be pursued to be sent to their home country unless they do something criminal (yeah, I know, being here illegally is, by definition, doing something illegal, but so is heroin and cocaine use, and pursuing users makes equally little sense in a cost/benefit sense). Baltimore and Denver are going to remove the drags on society who commit crimes and work with the seeds of the hard working.

Isn't that the sort of thing the United States wants? Don't we want to develop an immigrant population who are hard working, law abiding and free to cooperate with police, to the benefit of themselves and all of us? Doesn't it make sense to provide a path to full citizenship for people who are industrious enough to make the arduous trip here, surviving the sort of hardships the first illegal immigrants endured in 1620?

What, you think the Pilgrims had papers? Did they ask the Native Americans if it was ok to come ashore? I don't think so. This nation was founded by illegal immigrants, for illegal immigrants. In the end, the only ones who have suffered from all these centuries of illegal immigrants are the Native Americans who were on the losing end of this human migration, not unlike the many societies before such as the Ainu, the Druids, the Saxons, the Celts, the Jews, the Palestinians, and innumerable others around the world.

It's only recently that we've decided that displacing people is problematic. Someday, people will figure out that the American way of allowing new groups to join the population, so long as they're willing to adhere to a philosphy of representative government and separation of powers, is the most productive and peaceful way to address population shifts. It'd be nice if we start in the US.

So, to the hard working people of Maryland and Baltimore, and the hard working people of the rest of the world, Christian or not, illegally wherever they're residing or not, Merry Christmas. Be giving. Don't be a Scrooge McDonough. Ho, ho, ho.

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