Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To thine ownself be true...

To quote a couple of great men:

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
POLONIUS, Hamlet - Act 1 Scene 3

"I yam what I yam and tha's all what I yam."
Popeye the Sailor

Okay, I'll admit it.
I'm still dealing emotionally with the effects of that post removal the other day, and in some small way, I'm glad that I did remove it - if only to prove that I do care about what some of my friends or family think of me. Because I value and respect them.

But in other ways?
In bigger ways?
Let's just say that I regret it at the same time.
Completely and wholeheartedly.
Because I feel that I was untrue to myself.

My opinions are my opinions. ( and we all know that opinions are like arseholes - everyone has one.)
People have options in life - and sometimes those options include blocking someone, ignoring posts and status updates or sometimes just sucking in a deep breath, and facing the fact that not everyone agrees with our own personal viewpoint... and moving on.

And sometimes those options include doing something that you'll regret... simply because you weren't true to yourself.
I can either suck it up and live with the regret, or I can plant my feet firmly on the ground, hold my head up high, and say "this is who "I" am" - take it or leave it.

See...I have views - strong personal views - about what is happening in America right now.
And you can insert "Australia" in there as well, because the same thing is happening here, with the illegal boat people trying to force their way into the country.

But these are my views, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me, or even like what I have to say.
But I will defend unto death their equal and reciprocal right to their opinions, and their equal and reciprocal right to voice their opinions.

But just as I will accord anyone the right to say or feel what they think - and I will completely and utterly respect them for having the gumption to say it - I have the same rights to share my views as anyone else does.

All this has all been preying on my mind - and on my heart - for several days now... and I've come to the following conclusion.

Am I a racist?
Absolutely not.
And anyone who knows me - who truly knows me - knows that I'm not.

The dictionary defines racism as:
Discrimination or prejudice based on race or color.
So no... I don't discriminate against, nor am I prejudiced against anyone based on their ethnicity or the color of their skin.

Am I a bigot?
Absolutely not.
The legal definition of "bigot" is:
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
I don't judge anyone - and I mean that with everything that I have in me. I'm not intolerant of anyone who's opinion, religion, race or politics... or even their wants and needs in life differ from mine.

In fact, I have several close and valued friends who's opinions and ideas are the total - and complete - opposite of mine - and we're on such opposite ends of the spectrum, that we could almost be considered to come from different planets.
But do you know what?
We get along, because we accept each other for who we are as individuals, and above all else... we RESPECT one another.

But... when it comes to my opinion about illegal, unlawful immigrants in America or Australia? hey, I have to admit that just don't like what is happening.
I don't like it at all.

It's certainly not because in the US, they're predominately Mexican - because to tell you the truth, I would have the exact same opinion if Canadians, Europeans or whomever... no matter what their ethnicity or color - were coming into the USA or any other country illegally - and doing it by the thousands.
Cross my heart and hope to die.
That's the way I feel.

I would object to anyone coming in and expecting or demanding equal rights, which in far too many cases as we well know... includes expecting or demanding the right to access the very same benefits and lifestyles that Americans enjoy.
That natural born, or legally immigrated Americans have earned.
Earned through their blood sweat and tears.. as well as their long standing and honorable belief in working -and working hard - for the fruits of their labors.

Hell, I have Latino friends.
I have Jewish friends.
I have Japanese and German friends.
I have friends who parents came into the country decades ago... but they came in legally - by the proper channels - and they certainly didn't expect or demand that Americans to give up their rights to fly Old Glory or say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Nor did they demand or protest that our schools teach their children in Spanish or Yiddish, Japanese or German.

They assimilated, and they were proud and honored to become American citizens.
And our country is richer for it.
Far richer.

Looking back, the neighborhood that I grew up in just outside of San Francisco, well... it was like a mini-United Nations.
We had neighbors with last names like O'Reilly, Libertino, Xuereb, Paulson,
Garcia, Hesselgesser, Alvarado, Ronconi, Schwarz and Cohen... and my parents were close friends with them all.

My mom and dad maintained contact with each an every one of those families, despite most of them eventually moving to different parts of the country.
And when the parents and my mom eventually died, my dad maintained contact with the children of those families.
He maintained contact with the friends and playmates that I grew up with, because they were extended family.

Those were the neighbors - and many of them were immigrant neighbors - that I grew up with.
So I grew up with tolerance and complete acceptance of "immigrants".
And I grew up as well, with an open mind and an open heart.
So to be called a bigot or a racist?
It's like a knife in my heart.

Look, I'm sorry if it upsets anyone... but when it comes down to illegal, trespassing, immigrants?
No matter how I look at it, it's wrong on so many levels.

Just for instance... Say I told you that I'm battling financially here.
It's a hard job to pay the bills, buy food and meet the mortgage every month.
But I do it.
Because nothing in life is free.

But... if I wanted to cut corners, I could simply go to the next town, walk into a bank and demand that the teller give me all the money in her cash drawer.
My life would be so much easier for it... but do you think I would get away with it?
Either morally or ethically?
No... because I would be a lawbreaker.
I would be considered by almost everyone... to. be. breaking. the. law.

"The law" is defined as:
The principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to all its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

So therefore, bank robbers have NO rights to someone else's money... ...and they are breaking the law if they take it, or demand it unlawfully.
If they want money, they can take out a loan or they can get a job, hit up friends or family - just like everyone else has to do.
Yeah.. it can be a battle to keep your head above water sometimes, but our laws in America require that everyone do it the same way.

So when it comes down to my personal opinion?
It should be the same with illegal immigrants.
They have NO rights, because as it currently stands - based on US law, they are breaking the law.

They are trespassers.
They need to go home, and file the correct and proper papers for legitimate immigration status.
Just like all of our forefathers did.
And then when and if they come into the USA legally, I think that they would find that most Americans would welcome them with open arms.

For centuries now, immigrants to America have been doing the right thing.
They've come in through the front door, and they've wanted to become "Americans" with all the benefits and pride that that term entails.
They never demanded that they have the right to fly their countries flag, or that they receive free medical treatment - or special treatment of any kind.
They never demanded that their children be taught in Vietnamese or Spanish or Italian.
And above all else - ABOVE ALL ELSE - they were proud to become Americans.

No one needs to be born in the USA to be an American.
But if they immigrate to to the US, they do have to have an understanding of American values... and they do have to be willing to exercise and implement those values.

Just like generations of immigrants before them have done.


Libby's Library said...

Tater - I am soooooooooooo proud of you right now! All I can add is Amen, and pass the Crisco!!!!!!!!!

Pam said...

Amen! I had to jump through hoop after hoop to get my three adopted daughters to become legal American citizens. Countless battles with paperwork.

Kurichan said...

Hear , Hear!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Your opinions are exactly that...YOURS! You have the right to them as much as any of us and good on you for setting the record straight. Although I feel for people living in shite situations, I agree with you about coming through the proper channels. My great grandmother came here legally from Belfast with 3 pounds in her pocket and had to work as a 'domestic' all her life because her nursing papers weren't good enough. We just had a boatload of Tamil people land on our shores from Sri Lanka. The problem is those who organize these smuggling operations who lie and steal from the passengers, all that they have. Now what do we do with these boat people? We feed them, give them medicare and housing. Thats what Canadians do but at what expense? And are the smugglers punished? No. They are getting rich off of anothers ignorant misfortunes. Anyway keep up with your right to write. I SO enjoy it and you are what you are! Not racist or bigot...just real.

HermitJim said...

My friend...I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience like that! Just know that there are many of us out here that are certainly more than willing to stand with you and be proud to do so!

Never feel you must apologize to ANYONE for being who you are! The world is a better place to have you in it, just as you are!

I'm proud to be able to count you as my friend!

Marjie said...

Some of my ancestors have been here for as little as 110 years, some for 250 or more. But they followed the proper procedures to get here. I was in 3rd grade with a little Portuguese girl who spoke not a word of English but shared my birthday, and in 4th grade with a German boy who spoke no English. They learned. So did parents of kids I knew, and the parents had immigrated from wherever. Nice of you to consider the opinions of friends and relatives, but if they can't be considerate of YOUR opinions on YOUR blog, just how valuable were they? (Says the girl who lives her life that way, and has very few friends to show for it. I'm no hypocrite; I pay the price for my stands and opinions.) Some of us still love you!

Homestay Mama said...

Well written, Katie! I couldn't have said it better!

Bz said...

"Earned it".
"Proud of being AMERICAN" (left off the African, Asian, Latino, etc... before American).
THOSE are the differences between NOW & THEN.
VERY well said Kate.

Tatersmama said...

Moving a comment that a friend posted in the wrong spot. I'll leave the comment where she posted it,(I don't get no respect) but she gave me permission to move her comment to the pertinent post.

Roslyn said: "ILLEGAL= illicit, prohibited or not authorized by law."
I couldn't have said it clearer or better, Kate. As an expat Aus./naturalized US citizen I am proud of both of my countries and their historical record around the world & I am deeply disturbed at the current political correctness in both countries and the issue of ILLEGAL immigration that is bankrupting both countries. AZ prisons are FILLED with ILLEGALS who have committed further crimes after entering in the country ILLEGALLY. The problems are too numerous to list. Thank you for posting more about this very important issue & for your stand for each of us to be respected in our opinions..

Sherri said...

I guess wanting people to go through the proper channels like Miguel and his family did when they came from Mexico makes me a racist huh? What's that make Miguel, a sell out?

Dave and Tami said...

It's important to stand up yourself and what you believe while being considerate of those who may disagree - which is exactly what you'v done. Good for you!

Living in an area with a large illegal immigrant population, I can agree with you wholeheartedly - I am NOT prejudice against this nationality, but I am angered by their demands for the rewards of our nation while contributing nothing in return.

Stand strong, Tater!

Robynn's Ravings said...

I completely concur, Kate. You said it perfectly. We have friends from Germany who waited 8 years to get here and have had to prove to the nth degree that they are productive citizens and not a drain on the state. They are more incensed about this issue than even we Americans are because others get a free ride.

Interesting enough, for all of Vincente Fox's posturing over the immigration issue, look into HIS practices on HIS border to the south. They have no care or consideration at ALL for those coming into THEIR country illegally. It's the full extent of the law, and then some.

Just because my neighbor can afford nicer furniture and a better car, I don't get to walk next door and help myself. The cops would be here in a minute, and so they should. Why is this NOT obvious to EVERYONE?! There are legal and illegal ways to do everything. Flaunting the law and stealing from others breaks down ALL of society.


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