Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thoughts on Perspective



I wish I could remember who pointed me to this:

"If we divide into two camps--even into violent and the nonviolent--and stand in one camp while attacking the other, the world will never have peace. We will always blame and condemn those we feel are responsible for wars and social injustice, without recognizing the degree of violence within ourselves. We must work on ourselves and also with those we condemn if we want to have a real impact." - Ayya Khema, "Be An Island"


When I reflect on issues I like to superimpose them onto a three-inch marble I keep on my desk. We live on a sphere in an unbounded universe. Earth rotates on an axis so I must admit there are poles and an equator. Early explorers, living in one hemisphere, drew their maps with their hemisphere on top. East and west are entirely relative, and borders exist only to the extent that we believe that they exist. There is one atmosphere, one sea, and one human race.
The propagandists would have us believe that the issue is illegal immigration, as if sealing our borders against the other five billion people would keep the three hundred million of us safe, happy and secure... as if American consumers would pay two to three times more for fresh produce... as if international business wouldn't immediately outsource America's last means of production - our agricultural capacity - to offshore suppliers rather than pay minimum wages and benefits for unskilled labor.
The other day I saw this article by Bob Sullivan for MSNBC which speaks to, and expands upon, some of my thoughts on the whole issue of "illegal" immigrants and their status as taxpayers. The only people who come to my mind who have been harmed by undocumented workers are those who are dependent on the government financing of social service programs... uncompensated health care comes to mind. For those folks, increasing the pool of people in need without a corresponding increase in funding represents a loss of benefits. What if the taxes being withheld for which no returns were filed were applied to providing social services instead of... let's say the Global War on Terrorism?
For how many years and in how many countries have governments been blaming their mistakes and malfeasance on powerless minorities instead of simply stating and dealing in truth? Why does it still work? Lucy sets up the football, and Charlie Brown comes tearing up to kick it over and over and over again.

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