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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New columnist, old friend joins Gazette stable

COMMENTARY: GEORGE TEMPLETON

(Editor's note: We invited frequent contributor George Templeton of Payson to become a regular Gazette Blog columnist.  He graciously accepted and readers can now access his work by clicking the GEORGE TEMPLETON tab at the right.  Here is some of what George had to say about who he is and where he is coming from, followed by George's first official Gazette column:

"My 60’s government book says that the sure fire way to win any election is to enlist the forces of religious fundamentalism (and constitutional fundamentalism), anti-intellectualism, and patriotic nationalism. That’s what is happening now.

"It used to be the task of journalists to inform. I have a get together every year with some of my High School classmates. Out of a dozen, I am the only one who does not think that at long last Fox news is providing the truth and that Walter Cronkite was a Communist. So, what does one do then?

"My background was in electronics and physics and that is how I spent my life. I know nothing about politics and journalism and am completely unqualified. But I have a lifetime of experience that I think is unique and some people might find interesting.

"No one believes in competition, quantification, measurement, and management by objectives more than I. But towards the end of my employment I grew to realize that the most important things cannot be measured or even completely understood. My life was spent in trying to understand that which could not be seen and was not intuitive. I am not an objective observer but rather a subjective participant in reality. Certainty is only a temporary illusion at best. So I don’t think I have the answer for particular people and situations but when I come to a fork in the road I take it. My desire is to move away from simplistic slogans and the denial of facts that characterize the existing landscape. I think the future of America and my children depends on that.") 

MIND
“Mind is the master-power that molds and makes, and Man is mind, and evermore he takes the tool of thought, and shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills. He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass.”

The real issue is not whether immigration is beneficial or harmful, but whether you want immigration at all.

We can’t read the minds of our representatives but we can make inferences from their overt behaviors and verbal slips. When a Republican described landscapers as police killers on television, it revealed hostility to Latinos. They probably were drug pushers using landscaping as a front. The scribbling on the bathroom wall of a major hardware store that prides itself on helping Spanish speaking customers said “Gut shoot them at the border”. This followed a Republican campaign speech claiming that Mexico is trying to take over Arizona and that the Tucson ethnic studies courses, like Elvis Presley, were part of a elitist Marxist conspiracy attempting to deprive the virtuous and homogeneous people of Arizona of their rights, values, prosperity, and voice.

Politicians benefit by demonizing immigrants as employees of drug lords though they are mostly honest, squeaky clean individuals who come to work, not to live on the dole. They are a society within a society, diseased, prone to criminal behavior, and lazy welfare cheats. They are an insurgency intending to destroy white Anglo-Saxon protestant culture, destructive to schools, and too different to ever become real Americans. Proud citizens must drive them away to preserve “America as we know it.”

It’s not possible to identify illegal aliens by skin color or English fluency. This fact is at the core of mean-spirited propositions that would deny public services to those who are undocumented regardless of consequences and make their presence a felony crime subject to imprisonment and deportation.

Envy goes too far when it denies the value of a human being’s life, when it converts doctors and teachers into policemen, and when it deports innocent children who speak only English and have known no country other than America. Laws written to punish day laborers waiting by the road for work, with the excuse that it might slow traffic, while ignoring gun smuggling, reveal thoughts of resentment. The Nazis used the populist anger of the distressed German people to scapegoat the Jews and rise to power. It backfired on Hitler causing his scientists to flee, America to develop the atomic bomb, and Germany’s defeat. Institutionalized pride and prejudice is the result of rewarding politicians who promote shameful thinking because it is a winner at the voting polls.

ASSIMILATION
 The bumper sticker reads “Welcome to America, now speak English.” Don’t make me change because you don’t want to. There are no immigrants that don’t recognize the value of English fluency. This is obvious to anyone who has ever visited foreign countries and felt shut-out because of their inability to communicate. A talk show host complains about the “Mexican on the saw blades” and “press 1 for English”. The business community recognizes the value of marketing to foreigners and publishes information in many languages. They don’t find this to be threatening or inconvenient. It is wrong to reject immigrants because they do not assimilate and then make it difficult for them to assimilate.

Ronald Reagan claimed they “brought their own music, literature, customs, and ideas. They did not have to relinquish these things in order to fit in. In fact, what they brought to America became American. And this diversity has more than enriched us; it has literally shaped us.”

AMNESTY
If you have ever driven 60 mph in a 55 zone you know what amnesty is. Speed cameras don’t have a police officer to exercise discretion and pardon you. All reasonable people oppose unlawful behavior, but does the law make sense?

The ideological right does not like immigrants. The business community regards them as manna from Heaven. We can’t afford to detect, arrest, and deport 11 million aliens at an average cost of $20,000 each. Sixty one percent have been here for more than 10 years, 45 percent have families, and 5 million children have undocumented parents. An unlawful hidden underclass cannot be protected by the law. An incentive will be necessary to get them to come out and risk homes, businesses, and family.

Constitutional fundamentalists say the Federal government has no powers that are not explicitly granted but then they want to undo the explicit provision of citizenship for children born here.

It is not written that God became a rigid universally valid law but that God became man. It is not about an envious obsession with fairness. Individuals have rights apart from their citizenship.

OPEN BORDERS

References to the mythical “Open Borders Crew” stir up fears of a Mexican take over. You can’t have a country without borders but there is a need for temporary workers who come and go. The question is whether we want to import more produce from foreign countries or if we want seasonal immigrant workers to harvest our crops.

FENCES

All you need to reduce illegal immigration is a pencil, but that does not gain votes like the image of an invasion and 2000 mile fences along the Mexico border. Nearly one half of the illegal aliens in America arrived legally with temporary non-immigrant papers. They overstayed their visa and found jobs, and are part of our economy. They own businesses, homes, and pay taxes yet politicians ignore their contribution and look only at costs.

JOBS
Globalization created opportunities for importing the best, boldest, and brightest foreign employees to America. They were paid the same as citizens. We didn’t hire them because they were cheaper. We hired them because they were well known, had specific experience, and because no American could quickly fill the slot.

Do we want America to seem unfriendly to immigrants? We don’t want foreign graduate students to return to their mother country and compete against us. We have a skill shortage, not a job shortage.

BRACEROS
I worked with the Braceros in the late 50s and early 60’s and found them to be hard working, enthusiastic, highly motivated, and well treated. The alarm clock went off at 3:30 am, 7 days a week. I returned around 10 pm. The work was hot, dirty, and physical, un-benefited, without overtime, and below minimum wage. A heavy duty pair of work gloves would wear out on the first day and at first hands and fingers would be too sore to wrap around the steering wheel. The low pay and hard work did not motivate locals.

When you are starving in Mexico and can no longer make a living on your small farm, an opportunity to legally come to America and work for a season and send money home looks good. This mutually beneficial arrangement is being choked to death by over-regulation. Now is our chance to free business from the constraints of regulation and to drastically reduce undocumented migration.

HISTORY
The 1942 to 1964 Bracero program brought 4.2 million temporary seasonal Mexican workers to America. Though the legal Bracero program stopped, immigration did not, adding another 5 million Mexicans over the next 20 years.

RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) have historically supported amnesty. In 1986 a bipartisan effort on immigration reform, the IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act), was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The law tightened up on the employment of illegal aliens. It also granted amnesty to those who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and who resided in the USA continuously since then, as well as seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants. All told, about 3 million unauthorized immigrants received amnesty under the act.

The failed 2007 McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act was bipartisan. It proposed a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants residing in the United States as well as increasing border enforcement. A faster citizenship process, fines, and payment of back taxes were features. It did not reward those who broke the law or punish those who waited patiently in line in their home country. It planned a rating system based on a combination of education, job skill, family connections, English proficiency, and employer sponsorship. President Bush strongly supported the bill and said that he was disappointed at Congress’s failure to act.

NOW
America was once known for its benevolence. We helped to rebuild Germany, and Japan after WWII even though as a nation we were much poorer then and even though they had been our enemies. “The mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstances.” This is the message for Congress. We need policies that define rational, stable, orderly, legal, safe, humane migration.

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