May 10, 2010

It's not just about Arizona

The last article, which was a photo of graffiti and one sentence, reaped an avalanche of comments, some heartfelt, some informative, and at least one a typical example of ignorant racism. I can't answer them all individually, but here are some of my thoughts:

1. I am against illegal immigration in any country. Period. But that doesn't mean that I don't have empathy for those who feel it is their only hope or for US Americans who families are torn apart because of immigration laws.

2. Illegal Immigrants: There are many more illegal gringos in Honduras than most of you realize. They are illegal here for most of the same reasons (I don't qualify, it costs too much, it's too complicated, I won't be here that long, I didn't know the rules!, and so forth.) I have empathy for some of them, too.

The main difference is that most Latinos in the US know that they are there illegally and most gringos in Honduras rationalize that they are justified in staying here illegally "because they have money". Because they aren't rounded up, held in jail cells for months, and then put back on a plane to their home country, it just doesn't 'seem' as illegal. BTW, a wanted US American murderer was deported from Honduras last week. And there are gringos who do work illegally in Honduras and take jobs that Hondurans could do. Those who live in glass houses....

3. US Tax Law: Don't know why anyone would assume that British and US tax laws would be the same. US Americans pay income tax and continue to pay property taxes on their US properties regardless of where in the world they live. So I have paid hospital tax for hospitals that I don't use, school taxes for schools that I don't use, junior college taxes for colleges that I don't use, city and county taxes for roads and services that I don't use, as well as income tax.

I made that comment about taxpayers for all the people who use taxes as justification for their outrage and/or racism. Most of the taxes that I pay are going to support white and black people as well as rich white bankers, stock brokers, and politicians, not brown people, since so many people think it is important to make that distinction. Everyone pays unjust taxes. Anyone looking for fairness and an equal share of their tax dollar needs to look for another country and I don't have any idea where that would be!

4. Racism: There is no other word for anyone who assumes that all Latinos are lazy criminals out to destroy the US.

5. Right/left; Conservative/Liberal; Democrat/Republican; Nacionalista/Liberal (Honduras); Blue/Red (Honduran or US): As completely impossible as this seems to be to believe, I don't make any of my decisions on whether an issue is R/L, C/L, D/R, N/L, B/R. So those who love my opinion one week, may not the next. So be it.
"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent."
-Thomas Jefferson

The world as seen by AmericansClick map to enlarge

But the main point for posting that photo was completely missed by most readers. That is: Everything the US does has broad reaching effects, including on American citizens living or traveling everywhere else in the world. I know that we are a small, unimportant minority, not much appreciated by the US to whom we pay taxes or by the countries in which we live to whom we also pay taxes. There is no reason that we should be. I'm not asking for sympathy, just asking you to think outside of your own little world.

If you are wondering why there is so much anger against the US, why there are so many terrorist attacks and attempts, I would suggest that you delve a little deeper into what the US has done and continues to do in other countries. And by that I mean, don't only rely on what you read in the mainstream US media, because, as many of us have discovered from personal experience, it is NOT reliable news and it often bears no relation at all to actual facts.

For example, how many US Americans know that after two years of harsh "economic strangulation" didn't get results, the US invaded Panamá in 1989, complete with air strikes dropping over 400 bombs, resulting in as many as 4,000 deaths and 20,000 displaced Panamanians in a violation of international law condemned by the UN? Why? − to remove the very same 'dictator' that the US had been supporting years earlier. (Sound familiar? How many times has the US backed the wrong guy?) Read more from their independent truth commission, including claims that the US media was used first to "psychologically prepare" the US public for the invasion and then to cover it up afterward.

New solar systemIf you are of the common belief that the universe revolves around the US, you may not even be aware of this brewing anger. I suggest that you should be. It isn't only 'crazies' who have a grudge against the US, and more and more, that anger and hate seems to be within the US as well. Pretty scary.

And again, for anyone who didn't get it the first 10 times I've said it: I am against illegal immigration in any country. I believe that every country has the right to set the immigration laws that they want to set and that they will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences, depending upon how wise those laws are and how effectively they are enforced.

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