Marines.Together We Served

Monday, May 01, 2006

A House Divided

There is a foreboding divisiveness that I see across the land.

Yesterday my wife and I were driving to visit her parents who are packing there household goods in preparation of moving into a new home. Not easily done when you’re 80 and in poor health!

So we stopped to fill the tank on our Toyota Camry. Price: $3.16 per gallon. Ouch! We live in the Central Valley of California, the breadbasket of the nation. Everything grows here. Thus we have a significant number of immigrant workers. Not all are illegal, of course, but there are far too many who are. Needing to use the facilities at the gas station, I noticed some graffiti on the door that said, “Go back home, Mexicans, or there will be war!” I thought, “What an idiot!” Then I began to see a pattern in all of this. There are those who are intent on dividing our country.

What is troubling is that we see an intentional attempt to foster an “us against them” mentality. I was listening to a radio talk show program this morning. The host turned over the microphone to a Hispanic host who then conducted the remainder of the hour in Spanish. One knucklehead called in and said, “Now I’m definitely in favor of ethnic cleansing!” My wife and I looked at each other with a look that said, “Did you just hear what I heard?”

There is a concerted effort to bring about a distrust and animosity for anybody different from themselves. People can’t have simple disagreements today without turning it into a personal attack. I have written previously about a lack of decency and civility in our country. Religious differences drive people apart. Social differences drive people apart. Political differences drive people apart. Ethnic differences drive people apart. Racial differences drive people apart. The tone in the nation today is focused on what we don’t agree on, and not on what unites us. Tensions and emotions are running high.

As I write this, the organized protest to apparently show America that the country can’t function efficiently without illegal immigrants is underway. How successful this will be will depend upon where you stand on the argument. Regardless of the outcome, it is dividing the country. Some in the Hispanic community are realizing that the protest could create a backlash which could alienate many who are otherwise sympathetic to the problem of illegal immigration.

My wife has a definite interest in how this plays out. She and her family immigrated to the United States from Portugal forty years ago. To enter the United States, they had to go through a two year waiting period; have proof of at least $5000 in the bank so they wouldn’t be a drain on our society; have sponsors in the United States who would vouch for them; and have a clean bill of health with updated shot records and recent physicals so as not to bring any unwanted diseases into the U.S. Once they settled in California, my father-in-law had a job waiting for him; my wife and her siblings were enrolled in school and learned to speak English. She had studied English in Portugal, but quickly realized she was woefully deficient in communicating in this new language. So, she decided the best solution was to learn English.

My family moved to France in 1960 where we expected to spend many years. I attended a bilingual school – which meant all the teachers spoke English, but all the classes were taught in French. Let me tell you, I was confronted with the immediate need to learn to communicate in French fast. Was it difficult? Yes! I spent all day in school, and then another couple of hours with a tutor at home. I survived the school year.

As I said in last week’s article, my concern is with the rule of law. If we do not enforce the law, we open ourselves to greater problems – notably, a growing disregard for the law, and a reinforcement of sectionalism, which is the development of prejudice and hegemony.

Please understand – there’s no problem with anyone coming to the U.S. through the legal immigration measures already in place. On the other hand, those who are here illegally need to make it right. How? The methods by which this could be done are the stuff for another article.

But make no mistake – there are those who want to see the United States become the divided States. How will it all end? We don’t know. But if history is any indicator, nations that have allowed the laws of the land to be thwarted, and the language to be subverted, ended up on the ash heap of nations that used-to-be great.

Jesus said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” You and I must pull together to keep our nation united. Don’t allow the agents of hate and division to sway you from being a uniter.

This is the United States of America. Long may it stand.

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