Monday, August 07, 2017

“Speak English if you want to come here”

Give me your fat cats, your rich
Your money-grubbing English-speaking thugs
Send these, the well-heeled oligarchic crooks
I lift my....oh wait, wrong poem
English was the fourth language of my immigrant grandparents. They didn’t learn it until they were heaved up on our shores, victims of oppression that would have cost them their lives had they remained where they were born.

As for skills? Hah! 

My paternal grandfather, for example, had no skills whatsoever. Nor was he employable until late in life. He had to invent his own “businesses.” In fact, he virtually had to invent himself.

He was a marginal "antiques" merchant for a while, often selling stuff that he had dragged in off sidewalk trash piles. He was an equally marginal hand laundry proprietor for another while. 

But one of his sons became a division head of an international corporation. Another became a lawyer. And his grandchildren included a computer engineer, an advertising executive, a senior hospital administrator, a bank co-founder, and a plastic surgeon who, during the Viet Nam War, ran a burn ICU aboard a naval hospital vessel that saved the lives of hundreds of gravely-wounded American soldiers and sailors.

Countless waves of immigrants, driven by desperation and an unrelenting hunger to succeed, came to this nation and worked their ways up. Their jobs were menial for the first generation. But within a generation or two they were the Ph.Ds and the M.D.s at the top of the heap. They were too familiar with and too fearful of a past that they could not backslide into through intellectual sloth.

Donald Trump cannot either stand or understand this. Nor can Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who are sponsoring onerous new immigration laws that would choke off the flow of fresh blood and brains to the United States.

By insisting that those who immigrate to America have advanced degrees and a knowledge of English first, these regressives choke off the flow not only of immigrants, but also of the drive, and ambition, and brain power that made America great in the first place.

This is not making America great. If implemented, it will continue the disgraceful process of making America fourth rate.

And then, on the evening of August 8th, I discovered this.

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