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My Two Cents: An Apathetic American, by Joel Borelli

Posted by Joel Borelli on June 8, 2015 at 10:40 AM

My Two Cents – Original Publication Date August 10, 2010, An Apathetic American By Joel Borelli

I’m a little upset this week. Perhaps I should say I’m a little more upset than normal, as I seem to have a little mean streak every week. I’ve been struggling this week with what I should write about and recently, after trying not to dwell on several things I keep returning to them like an itch that just can’t be scratched. Allow me to explain. I am disappointed in America. Now that’s a pretty broad statement.  Let me try and clarify my point. I am a disappointed American who is disappointed in himself and his fellow Americans. I am disappointed in the lack of Patriots in particular, and I am especially disappointed in the apathetic nature the rest of America is displaying. When did this fine country stop caring? When did we give in to apathy and decide that we cannot change things for the better so let us just endure the little injustices that occur daily. And for the love of god, when did we stop caring to the point of letting the slimy, conniving lawyers and politicians whittle away the constitution to a marginal document without any real substance that is now so easily circumvented? When did we decide that it is okay to undermine immigration laws, but hey, let’s empower the parking authorities to ticket for the silliest of infractions like parking your car facing in the wrong direction?

Let me start with the immigration law. In a classic example of the illogical attitudes prevalent in society I recently read an article by Reuben Navarrette Jr., a nationally syndicated writer and sometimes contributor to CNN who is obviously against the immigration reform bill in Arizona. He states, and I quote:

“Since April, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 to punish illegal immigrants for the sins of the employers who hire them, estimates are that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have left Arizona for a warmer climate in Utah, Colorado, Texas or New Mexico.”

At least two things are immediately incorrect with this statement. The first is that Navarrette implies that it is somehow wrong to punish illegal behavior. Illegal activity has consequences, in the forms of community service, fines, even jail time, but in America we let the criminal off easily all too often. The second is his not-so-clever attempt to transfer ownership of the problem, laying blame at the feet of the employers that hire illegal immigrants, rather than at the feet of those who are illegal in the first place. Just the fact that he is defending a segment with the word illegal in its description is illogical. It’s like saying that since someone took the trouble to grow poppy, process it into cocaine and then distribute it to our street corners that we should not only not be faulted for snorting it and getting high, but that we have some sort of obligation to use it because it is simply available. Now the employers are equally to blame if they engage in illegal hiring practices and if tens of thousands of illegals have left Arizona than I imagine the illicit employers in Arizona are feeling the pinch right about now. So who exactly is being persecuted here? And the fact that tens of thousands have left Arizona tells me the problem was obviously a sizeable one.

Navarrette goes on to interview a married couple who came to the United States legally but lapsed into illegal status when their visa expired. Navarrette writes, and I quote:

“They should have gone back to Mexico, but they’d already put down roots in Phoenix, where the husband could earn at least 10 times what he could make in Mexico. We talked about how some conservatives insist that illegal immigrants take jobs fom U.S. workers. ‘That’s not true,’ says the husband, who’s worked his way up from manual labor to an office job for a jeweler. ‘American’s are lazy. They don’t want to work.’”

Let me get this straight. Navarrette defends the couple for staying in America illegally because it is more profitable. That and they’ve put down roots? If they put down roots then where are their immigration papers? Shouldn’t that be the first root planted? It is because that’s not the main reason people come here. The main reason is just as Navarrette stated, money. Ten times more money than in Mexico to be precise. And Navarrette’s argument against the conservatives insisting illegals take jobs from citizens is laughable. His illegal interviewee has worked his way up from manual labor to an office job for a jeweler. Am I missing something or have manual labor positions and office jobs at jewelers always been outsourced to Mexico or India or anywhere outside the United States? When I was a young man I used to do all kinds of manual labor for money, from landscaping to concrete pouring, to construction and demolition. I’ve worked in offices, as a data entry clerk, filer, mail room employee, sales person. I’m a U.S. citizen, always have been. And his illegal interviewee asserting American’s are lazy? How about being so lazy you jeopardize a job and life that affords you 10 times what you could make if forced to abandon it, by letting your visa expire? That is not just lazy, that is irresponsibility on a grand scale!

The husband goes on to accuse Americans as:

“They're spoiled. They think it's easy to come to the United States legally, and they speak from ignorance.”

Talk about ignorant! Well, I for one never said it was easy, and I’m not sure exactly who the husband talked to, but I do know that that’s the way my ancestors came to America. Legally. And they put down roots and they learned the language and they worked hard, at manual labor and office jobs, and they put themselves and their families through school and they bought property and they prospered. That is the American Dream. They didn’t cry about how tough it was to get here, or how difficult it was to stay. They didn’t expect handouts and they certainly didn’t ask for any. They earned what they got, and in the end, several generations later, if some of their descendants happen to be spoiled, well that too is the American Dream. American’s earned that right.

And that bothers me too, the spoiled, apathetic aspect of Americans today.

Now I must defend the few true Patriots that remain and applaud their efforts. In particular, I had the pleasure of going to dinner with friends the other night and I applaud one friend who works for the FBI, not just for the patriotic effort, but the heartfelt attitude in putting forth the effort. Allow me to elaborate. When the discussion turned to terrorism and the task of preventing future terrorist attacks from occurring on American soil I asserted that the FBI and Homeland Security and all the security and police agencies in America had an impossible task. That’s right, I said impossible and I stand by my assertion. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. This should in no way be construed as a derogatory statement against the fine job these security agencies are doing. After all, nothing of note has occurred on American soil since 9-11, a fact I was reminded of over dinner and one I certainly appreciate from the bottom of my heart. But this is an impossible task and I stuck to my guns during our discussion and was pleasantly surprised by the quiet insistence that the job I believe impossible is being undertaken by people who truly care and want to make a difference. The quiet insistence was backed by a humble attitude fortified with the confidence of someone who believes that their effort does and will continue to make a difference. Suddenly I was the apathetic one. Whether you believe it an impossible task or not, I was suddenly very happy that my friend was one of those people tasked with keeping our country safe. That is whom I want protecting our borders, keeping terrorists at bay and even hounding them on their own soil, someone who believes it not only should be done but can and will be done. Someone who knows it should be done, because it is the right thing to do, and isn’t afraid to do what must be done to see the task through. That someone is a Patriot I’m proud to call a friend. I only wish I knew more Patriots. I only wish there were more Patriots.

Now the lawmakers and lawyers are driving everyone crazy. While out to the aforementioned dinner, another friend was ticketed for parking the wrong way. I was astounded, not that a friend got the ticket, but for the infraction. I had no idea it was a misdemeanor to park facing out? Punishable by a fine of $23 no less! Of course we didn’t see a sign before parking that way, but upon further inspection located a sign partially obstructed by overgrown palm trees and only at the one entrance to the property, not the other. Unfortunately, this means my friend will wind up paying the fine, but it occurred to me that we have such a finely tuned parking authority in Miami that on a Thursday evening after 7:30PM a vehicle parked the wrong way in a side street parking lot for less than two hours gets a ticket. I think if we applied this kind of effort, we could control immigration. Hell, we might even be able to stop the terrorists. I’d settle for an end to apathy.

Well that's my two cents!  Not that you asked for it.

Categories: My Two Cents

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