Go Ahead. Disown Me!

My first cousin Liz down in Baldwin County, Alabama, posted this quote today on Facebook, “Common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.” Well … amen to that!

Only one problem. After this blog, you may agree that my garden is bare of those blooms, too. It is the element of common sense that I am going to try to use in this political discourse that follows.  Like most things I write about, I spend a lot of time rolling them around in my head. This one has been giving me headaches for quite a while. Or, as my daddy-Glen used to say, ‘If I had a nickel for every time”  (I worried about what I am about to write next), “I would be a rich man.” 

I am a conservative – not always a Republican – but I am often a complicated cuss in what I believe. Yes, it drives me a bit bonkers, too. So, if I make it through this without my keyboard catching on fire, I plan to give you a different perspective on a  hot topic.  If the Republican Party would face it head-on in the only logical way that I can discern, we would never worry about that other party again. Well … almost never.

IMMIGRATION

I suggest that we must turn 180 degrees from current immigration policies if conservatives are to be taken seriously. A quote attributed to Churchill, and  many other people, as well as Sir Winnie, is appropriate for thought:

If a person is not liberal in their 20s, they do not have a heart. If they are not conservative in their 40s, they do not have a brain.  

Whoever said it, I have found that is certainly was true for me. Only one problem – I find that I still have a few of those liberal leanings still rumbling around in my head from my 20s. I bet you do, too. However, unlike me, you will not fling them out into cyberspace to live forever and ever. Hold on. Here we go! 

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Except for the Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, who we treated most atrociously, we are all immigrants. I don’t care how we got here; we are immigrants. So, I think it is about time that we accept that we have much more in common with the poor souls trying to enter our country today than not.   

Interestingly, North Carolina is a hotbed of Hispanic immigrants, and you know what, I like what I see. I find them kind, gentle, family-oriented, hard-working, religious, smiling, and friendly. OK, my sample is small – restricted mostly to those who built my house and the hundreds of other homes in the retirement community where I live and one life-changing encounter that I will never forget. 

I was teaching this night, and about 6:00 p.m., my phone rang (my students always loved my Sweet Home Alabama ringtone), and not recognizing the number, I just hung up. A few seconds later, it rang again, and I closed the connection without talking.

I got home about 9:30 as I usually did on class nights – hungry and tired, but still as anxious as first grader the first time he needs to whiz during class!  Before I could start my supper, Sandy began telling me a story of how Boomer (our 6-month-old Brittany puppy) had escaped the yard and run across one of north Mecklenburg County’s busiest getting-off-time roads.

She told me the story of a how Hispanic-sounding man called her and how she hung up on him just as I had. Then he called again, and she made out from his heavily accented voice that he had seen Boomer standing in the middle of that busy road, and how he left his small store and ran out and stopped traffic to save our Boomer. He read the phone number on Boomer’s ID tag and kept calling until someone understood him.  

Only then did I realize that he was the same person who had called me. He called and kept calling until he reached us. 

We don’t know if he was illegal/undocumented. We didn’t care. He was a good man.

__________

 Are there some ne’er-do-wells in the population? Of course, just as in every group of humans – whatever the ethnicity.

But it is damn-time that we affirm the good in every community and quit judging entire groups because of the behavior of a few.  As Southerners, we ought to understand this better than almost anyone. As I wrote in the preface of my novel, Angry Heavens

According to the US Census of 1860, 75 percent of Southern families did not own a slave. But the 25 percent who did own other persons have created a great open wound that has yet to heal for more than fifteen decades afterward.

Southerners should surely understand what it means not to be entirely accepted – intellectually, educationally, academically, socially, or religiously. But, oh, how we love shootin’ and fishin’ and football. Yessiree, Bob.

It is time that we grant amnesty to immigrants who came here seeking refuge and a better life. Why? Because will someone, please tell me how the U.S. Government can realistically identify, detain, try in court,1 and deport every undocumented alien.  IT CANNOT BE DONE. 

The 14th Amendment and decision of the U.S. Supreme Court give the right of Equal Protection and Due Process of the Law to every person inside our country no matter how they got here. That means that every person is protected as an individual or group from abuse of power by the government. It also means that before a person can be punished, such as being deported, they have the right to notice of their crime and a chance to be heard in court with an attorney. 

This legal interpretation is not mine. These are the protections guaranteed by our Constitution and affirmed by the Federal Courts over the decades. As I wrote in an earlier blog, if you have a daughter playing sports in high school today, thank Title IX upheld as a fundamental right under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

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The Bottom Line: Logically, if sending people back to their home countries cannot be done, then the high ground – morally, politically, and religiously – is to declare an amnesty. Then build a wall that cannot be surmounted, dug under, or sawn through, and we give a true promise to those outside our borders who seek refuge in our country that we will hear every petition fairly, and judiciously, and quickly.

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