Saturday, December 17, 2005

Walls of Fear

Human beings are very strange, highly complicated animals. And as a highly intelligently evolved species, armed with the ability of reason, we should be able to conquer practically any problems which present themselves. The one factor of our existence which pushes us to become caretakers of the earth is our intelligence. For this one ability is what makes us the diamond among the rocks. Armed with this great gift and capability, we should be able to recognize and solve problems. We should be able to understand very complex ideas through abstract thought. And we should be able to learn quickly and adapt our thought process by using available knowledge, tempered with our experiences. We should, but why can't we?

With this said, I would like to touch on the subject of immigration, as it is presently viewed here in the U.S., and also the divisions of thought on the subject. To begin, we should put a little history into the mix in order to realize what the foundation of exclusion is built upon. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law which suspended or controlled immigration in the U.S. The act targeted ethnic Chinese regardless of their country of origin and this complete exclusion or limitations of this ethnic people continued up until 1965 with the passage of the Immigration Act. These people came to the U.S. because of horrible conditions in China and the availability of railroad jobs at the time. These people were accused of immoral and unsanitary habits, and creating unfair competition in business, as they were seen as the major factor in the lowering of wages in the U.S. The people in the U.S. feared these conditions within the country would only grow worst if the influx of these people into the country wasn't curtailed. This is sounding really familiar, just can't put my finger on it yet!

These general immigration laws often placed a head tax on who was allowed in the U.S. borders and the laws excluded any immigrant that was found to be an idiot, lunatic, convict, or anyone else who may become a burden of the state. I apologize, but after that line, my thoughts wandered towards our politics here in the states and I found myself laughing at the thought of losing the majority of our politicians if we had laws which would enact forced deportation of idiots and lunatics. But what am I thinking, what country on our earth would take in politicians from the U.S.?

It wasn't until 1918 that the need for a passport arrived here in the U.S. and the war in Europe was primarily what initiated the need for placing tighter restrictions on the borders. The fear that spies could enter our country and leak valuable information or possibly commit espionage was the reason for restrictions. The need for a visa system grew out of the need for tighter restrictions of entry as well as the Naturalization Bureau. The borders opened again after WWI with restrictions and quotas on particular ethnic peoples. Once again at the onset of WWII, fear of the horrible possibilites of espionage and terrorism brought about changes in immigration laws and the borders tightened once again as the bureacracies grew. One change during WWII which increased immigration was the Bracero Program. which allowed immigrants from Mexico to enter the U.S. in order to fill gaps within the agricultural labor market. Another similar proposal has been offered by our current administratio in Washington but has been pushed to the back burner due to the fear of terroism. The laws and different legislations are too numerous to list but if anyone is interested, this information can be researched within the Legislation History, and in this pdf of An Immigrant Nation.

From what I have read so far concerning immigration, one thing keeps coming up in regard to immigration laws. And that one thing is "fear". Fear is a very powerful emotion here in the U.S., and it seems this emotion has always been used as a catalyst in the passing of legislation and how immigration has been viewed through history. The fear of disease, immorality, stupidity, loss of jobs, loss of primary language, loss of established habits, terrorism, loss of a particular way of life, and this, and that, and mice, and snakes, and well...., you get the point? Fear! I've never really given it all that much thought before, but by letting fear have so much control in our lives just can't be a good thing. Have the people of the U.S. allowed themselves to learn or construct a culture in which fear predominates their thoughts? How has this Culture of Fear affected our relations with one another and the rest of the world? If we use this quote from Lactantius as a measuring stick, how does our intelligence measure up?
Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be.

Now wisdom can be defined as an ability to make correct judgments and decisions and the amount of wisdom can vary according to experience. Wisdom should be a quality we all strive for in my opinion. Through wisdom we will become more enlightened and only through this enlightenment will we evolve to the next level of humanity. We have been given a great gift of intelligence. Now we must learn to use it to our advantage and begin the process of enrichment of the entire human race. The use of fear as a social control is well documented and it's political uses and abuses are a threat to our growth as intelligent human beings.

We now have minutemen on our borders down south. They are protecting the U.S. from the accumulation of all these fears which have been washed over our senses for so long. These volunteers are thinking and doing what they've been conditioned to think and do. Brooks Dame joined the minutemen in Arizona and wrote of his experience.
As his taillights faded off into the desert night I looked down where the detainees had been seated and saw a piece of garlic laying on the ground. I squatted down to examine it. They believe that rubbing garlic on their skin keeps snakes from biting as they make their trek through the desert to find a better life. Does it really work? I don't know. It may have worked on the snakes, but it didn't work on Minutemen.

There are actually people requesting a curtain or wall be built the entire length of the American/Mexican border. Where will it end, or more important, when will it end? In a world that is increasingly becoming smaller and global villages are growing and sharing their knowledge of the importance of humanity and it's future, how much longer will immigrants be immigrants? How much longer will the people of the world allow fear to be used as a behavioral control imposed on them by an elite few?

What are the causes of migration of people? Well I would say most people migrate, either temporarily or permanently, because of the opportunities in richer countries. They desire to earn more money and widen their horizons. I also think people migrate because richer countries have jobs available for willing workers. And also another reason is social and economic upheavels in the migrant's country which leaves them little choice. When viewed through the eyes of fear, this migration is a threat to a way of life. But if looked at through the eyes of hope, as a migrant does, migration is a promise of a new way of life. Migration has existed ever since we walked upright and it's hard for me to buy into it being bad. And this fear associated with it I refuse to recognize. It's how the world has always worked. It's a life that our ancestors lived. It's about survival and we have to begin to talk "global" now people. We can no longer be seclusionists and build racial and ethnic walls. As the racial walls come down we also have to tear down the walls of greed. The old "Only the Strong Survive" mentality belongs in the museum along with the tools of torture, discriminatory ideals, and the weapons of war.


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