Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Open Letter to Someone My Elder Who Posted on FB

Hello Mr. M---,
I hope you and N--- are well. I will be nothing less than upfront -- this message could go a couple of ways. Meaning you might be offended and choose to cut off communication. However, I can assure you respect is in the forefront of my mind as I type.
I'm motivated to send you this message after your latest post regarding Obama releasing 12M illegal aliens to compete with US citizens for jobs. In fact, let's go just a bit further back. I am compelled to send you this message because many of your posts concern me from a factual standpoint. (A couple of which I have replied with refuting links citing actual facts.) Bear with me. This could get lengthy.
It's the memes (that would be an image with a single-sentence slam against someone or some group). They are hardly ever a way to convey real, tangible information. Instead, they incite or perpetuate anger, fear, hatred. Yes, I am left leaning, and many left-leaning news camps are not without useless memes either. I disregard or challenge those, too. (I am not exclusively pro-Obama or Democrat, by the way, but progressive in nature.)
Here's the core issue -- no complex topic can be reduced to a single graphic; no viewpoint can be refuted in a single rebuttal. We're all guilty of this reductionism, but it defies intellectual examination. There are two sides to a story, they say. I'd add there aren't only two sides, but myriad facets to a story.
When I was a young man you were a role model for me. I recall visiting your home several times. I admired its modesty and your matter-of-fact way of approaching life. But above all else I admired your penchant for collecting knowledge. You had books -- books spilling off shelves, books on tables. Everyone in the M--- household read books. This made a major impression on me in a positive way. It was a hallmark of how I wanted to live my life -- in pursuit of knowledge; real nuggets of truth with which to filter my interpretation of the world.
Now, at that time I was young, impetuous at times. Throughout though, I was also respectful of the elder members of the church my late father chose to attend. I listened and absorbed and later tested messages and behavioral examples against my growing faculties of discernment. There was much I could not reconcile. Hypocrisy, that timeless human condition, abounded.
Late to this Facebook game, my sister, H---, linked me with a lot of old church friends. That process has been wholly mixed. And, here, our viewpoints may seriously differ -- too many people I became reacquainted with have stagnated as if they stopped questioning empirical reality some 25 years ago since I last knew them. A few did not surprise me (although R-- W--, another role model for me, proved to be little more than a bigoted stooge). I challenge you -- are you as such?
The World Wide Web is a fantastic place in this simple fact alone -- we have no excuse for ignorance in the information age; ignorance is now a choice. The means to cross-examine any issue are available to everyone who does not reside in a fascist state like China or Iran. Every meme -- from left or right - can be quickly fact checked. Rest assured, I have as many lefty friends I blow off. Blinders work equally well no matter which side of the track you are wandering off toward, and the lens of truth gets equal application.
This leads me back to the immigration question. OK, estimated 12M immigrants -- illegal, undocumented, what-have-you -- running loose in our country. Level it -- they aren't going anywhere. If we choose to round them up tomorrow and send them back to Mexico, Ecuador, Cuba, wherever -- it would suck our tax dollars. If we eradicated their labor force in our country -- documented or otherwise -- it would drain our tax system some, but GDP big time. Do you realize what these desperate people are willing to do in our economy, like mop floors, slaughter meat, process our trash and hazardous waste? Do you realize how many of them are educated professionals with no future in their home countries, but with skills that could advance ours? Are you afraid for your job? I don't think you should be. Seriously.
Do you further realize that a strong majority (4 in 5, GOP and Dem) support a path to citizenship but differ in what stipulations we should assign to achieve it? It's not an Obama issue, it's an American issue. The immigration problem has been rearing its ugly head for generations, long before Obama was a teenager, perhaps even born. Why do you blame him exclusively?
In any of those voluminous tomes on your shelf, was there anything about ancient cultures -- Greece, Rome, Britain? Did you not read in those the consequences of isolationism? The inevitable fall from shutting off borders from fear that peaceful invaders (immigrants) were the sole reason for collapse? Historians have not been so kind in citing the truth about nationalist behavior and its contribution to the decline of a state.
The means of collapse are among us, my friend. (I can call you now my friend because of this -- once you were my elder and I respected you. We are now peers because I am a father, I have weathered the proclamations of you and yours, and have wisdom to share with you.)
Instead of spewing your hate (not a christian value in any form, by the way) toward Obama and immigrants, why don't you do a little research into GOP corporate interests and how the favorable tax breaks, lobbying statuses, and various policies contribute to the expatriation of American jobs? Why don't you explore that those most vociferously calling for the sealing of our borders are the same that seem to cry for small government yet vote for billions in corporate welfare? If you are outraged by paying welfare, why is it that food in families' mouths outrages you, but CEO bonuses (and lack of prosecution/penalties when they gamble with taxpayer money) does not?
These are not Republican or Democratic issues. I suspect we agree a lot when it comes to national politics. On both sides of the aisle we are being sold out. Knowledge can counter the side-taking. We ALL should be outraged by what's going on. My request is this -- be a part of the solution, not a polarizing contributor to the problem.
You inspired me. You are above that.
Respectfully and with love,