Friday, May 28, 2010

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

I'm not an overly intelligent person and so I tend to see the big picture and don't pay much attention to the minutia. With the advent of audio books, I've pretty much stopped listening to talk radio because I can't (or don't want to) follow the ins and outs of all the conflicting and contradicting viewpoints, and it gets me too riled up anyway. I get most of my news from Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, and some internet sites.

Nonetheless, I do have some observations about the madness that is swirling around us right now.

Let's start with Rand Paul. I don't know the man so I don't want to say he's an idiot, though the temptation is there. But anybody who could be asked the question "do you feel a private business has the right to discriminate against black people" over and over again for 20 minutes and still be unable to give a straight answer--and then complain that there was some bias on the part of the interviewer--does begin to prove my initial feeling.

But Paul's idea is, like so many people running for office keep saying, that government is too big. We need to keep goverment out of the private sector. I think that was the notion behind his idea that the Civil Rights Ammendment was somehow flawed.

"Smaller government" is all the buzz word these days, but what are we willing to sacrifice in the name of "smaller government"? It seems that Washington is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

Let's take those borders in Arizona. Obama just sent something like 1200 troops to Arizona to help man the borders. Government! And they complain it wasn't enough. They wanted bigger government--more troops.

I heard a discussion on the radio this morning saying that there is a bill introduced to force sex offenders and violent offenders released from prison to have some sort of a mark printed on their driver's license. Government at work again.

During the health care debate everybody was all hot and bothered about both government involvement in our private health care decisions--and adamant about how everybody was not to touch our Medicare. Last time I looked, Medicare was a government program.

And then there's the illegal alien problem. We have, by estimate, 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Suppose we do a huge round-up and catch at least half of them. Maria and her 5 children are picked up Monday morning. She came here on a boat from Haiti ten years ago.

  • Where do we put her after we pick her up? I assume there is no plane ready and waiting to take her home to a country in dissarray on Monday afternoon. Where does she stay until there is (a) a way to make sure she really IS illegal, and (b) transportation is available.

  • Who pays to house her while she's waiting? Where do we put all the other millions people who are also going to be rounded up? Who takes care of all children, who are legal US citizens? Are they ripped away from their families, who love them and take care of them, and put them in the foster care system--and who pays for that? Where will the foster families come from? Where will the institutions come from? Or do we strip citizenship from legal citizens and force children born here to move to countries they have never lived in?

  • Who pays to send all these millions of people back home again to countries all over the world?

The government. That government we are supposed to want less of is supposed to work overtime to get rid of all our illegal aliens, feed them, house them, pay to transport them, take care of their legal US citizen children. But don't even think of amnesty which would allow them to remain here legally, work, pay taxes, and have to pay a fine (which wouldn't hurt the US treasury).

So much of the border control concentrates on immigrants who have slipped in illegally from Mexico and, granted, that is a big part of the problem, but nobody talks about the people who come here legally on tourist visas and just never go home again. The Experiment in International Living at one time stopped taking students from Nigeria because they were using the exchange program as a way to get to this country legally. They never went to their American homes, but simply disappeared into the country...somewhere. I know people from then-Zaire who did that too.

One of our Brasilian students stayed, moved to the San Diego area and was actually picked up several times by the border patrol, but always released because they didn't have the money to spend to send him home to Brasil. It's one thing to drive a truck across the US-Mexican border. It's quite another if your illegal comes from South America or Africa or some other country.

It's not just a question of pack-em-up, move-em-out. There are lots of intermediate steps that cost big bucks and would take lots of interference from that big government so many profess not to want any more.

But how about that whole "big government" thing? It's all well and good to say we have to reduce the size of government, but what if my prioritiess for the kind of government I want to have are different from your priorities. I'm 67 and happy to have Social Security. You may be in your 20s and resenting having to help pay for my medical care. You may want to put thousands of troops on the borders, I would rather see the money go into education or health care for children. Everybody is for "less government," but nobody seems to agree on where the cuts should be made.

I wish all the people frothing at the mouth over "less government" and "border control" would stop and think the thing through. Sound bytes are great, but I haven't heard anybody even begin to put forth a workable plan for any of it.

But then I'm not very bright, so what do I know?


Mary Z said...

Just what we've been saying - but you say it SO much better!

harrietv said...

What it is, is frustrating! I am so glad I don't have to listen to my husband's radio any more, filled with people who are so in love with the sound of their own voices that they don't care what they say.

Oh, by the way, what does an illegal person look like? That guy who tried to bomb Times Square had citizenship papers. Of course, he bungled so badly that I thought he must have been educated here.

Remember my old friend who originally entered this country illegally? On the advice of an attorney, she left and re-entered legally. As far as I was concerned, she didn't look any different when she came back. Her son, who was born in Connecticut, is now sixty years old.

Governor Jen said...

Agreed. Except I think lots of people are saying "less government" but what really they mean is "less government in stuff I'm not interested in and more in what I am".

For example, let's not regulate businesses and kill the EPA so people can get wealthy; until BP creates a catastrophe. Then we should blame the government for not doing its job. Let's complain the government isn't doing enough to invest in business. But then when our governor approves a high speed rail in our state, creating a couple hundred jobs, let's all complain that the fares will be too high and should be subsidized. When it affects our pockets, let's complain about a national health care bill; until our own child gets sick and we don't understand why we're not throwing money at it to cure the disease. Let's say we want out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but continue to pay mercenaries to do the dirty work we don't want to admit to. Let's claim that people getting welfare should take drug tests, but let the corporate fat cats hedging their funds in the Caymans and Antilles do whatever they want to avoid paying taxes.

To me, it's not an issue of big government or small government, but of people being accountable for what they're saying really means. It's about a lack of consistency in wanting one thing until it affects us too personally to pay what it costs.

So when it comes to immigration, we want low food costs, we'll turn our heads at the groups on the corner. We want a healthy population, but we complain about the price to educate people or give them healthcare because of how they got here.

Sorry for my own rant here, and I'm probably preaching to the choir. The lack of consistency is just so mind boggling to me, I can hardly stand it.

So anyway, happy belated mingling, and Hi from TMA! :-)