Come Unto Me

On this day that we remember those who have given their lives for our freedom in wars past, and those who are putting their lives on the line right now, I’m going to write about a topic that may not seem to relate to their sacrifice. I hope that, when I’m done, you’ll see that it does.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” -Emma Lazarus
Those words are engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. These words were read by thousands of immigrants coming to this country over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are words that I remember reading in history class as a child…words that made me proud to be an American.
Evidently, they were words that have long since lost their meaning. Consider the immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate, which abandons the USA’s longtime policy of granting preference to the extended families of legal residents. It seems that, historically, if someone was allowed into the country legally, their family members could gain an easier track to residency.
On the surface, and in light of 9/11, this might not sound like such a bad idea. I mean, who doesn’t want everybody to have to go through the same channels to enter, right? The thing that gets me is the rationale behind the proposed legislation. I now quote from U.S Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez: “We could be bringing in a lot of grandparents, but grandparents aren’t filling jobs…We want to make sure people are coming in because of the skills they have for this country.”
Does that anger anyone besides me? Does that not sound like the biggest bunch of crap you’ve ever heard? Basically, if you can’t perform a service for US, such as picking our cotton or making our Big Mac, you’re not welcome. Never mind the fact that if you’re, say, Mexican and have a much greater sense of family obligation than most of us “enlightened” Americans, and you feel like your grandparents are as much a part of your family as your wife and kids. Sorry! Unless they can pick tobacco or make french fries, we don’t want ’em!
But wait! What about “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses!” Oh I’m sorry! That was only for European immigrants! On the wall that we’re going to build to “keep out the drugs” running across the Baja desert, we’ll write:
“Give us your young, your well, your independent, free-of-family-ties, willing to work a crappy job for little pay…yeah, send them. Everybody else, take a seat.”
Ladies and gentlemen, lest we forget, WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS. Unless you’re Native American (that’s a whole ‘nother post), your family migrated here from somewhere over the last 200 or so years. And I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful they didn’t have requirements on who got in.
I’m fully aware that our immigration policies allow a lot of people in who may not be the most savory characters. But you know what? There are more unsavory characters born right here in the good ol’ USofA, too. Are we going to send them to Canada? What about my grandmother, sitting in a nursing home in Virginia right now? Has she served her purpose? Or my best friend’s little boy who was just diagnosed with Cerebal Palsy? The kind of mentality that says “only send us the ones who can perform a service for us” is the same kind of mentality that leads to euthenasia and genocide. Maybe not immediately, but it does. It’s a selfsishness that has no regard for human life. It’s a slippery slope that is very tough to climb back up.

Our soldiers have died for 231 years for our freedoms. They have died for the right for us to govern ourselves, to choose our destiny as a nation, to make our laws and live our lives. And they have died with Irish, Italian, English, Asian, Latino, Arab, and Jewish blood in their veins. This country is not about who can provide us a service. It’s about a chance to earn a better life. How can some politicians talk about “family values” when those values only apply to Americans?
I close with this:

“Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus said that. As a Christian, I am to live my life by His principles. I am to be His hands and feet, as it were, in this world. This is wrong, people. This is not what this country is about, and it had better not be what I’m about, if I call myself a Christian.
So I say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all those who fought and died in 1776, 1812, The War Between the States, WWI and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the other battles our country has engaged in. Your sacrifice enables me to have the freedom to worship my Savior, to raise my family, and to write this post.
Grace and Peace,
TN
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26 thoughts on “Come Unto Me

  1. I am Native American and I feel frustration. I see everyone’s place here. But just as you said my story is another posting.

    All I know is this country has turned into a place of mean-spirited hypocrits. Of course, there are many people that live their lives loving their neighbors no matter where they are from or when they arrived. However, if we simply sit on our hands and think someone else will fix things as we look away, we are sadly mistaken.

  2. Good post, Mattie. I’m right with you on honoring our military. And you’re right; we ARE a nation of immigrants. I just want them to be here legally and want to be an American; not be here illegally and just take advantage of our generous social programs and then go home. Previous generations of immigrants wanted to be American, wanted to learn the language.

    Yes, there is too much bureaucracy; yes, it takes too long; yes, it is a VERY slippery slope if we base immigration on the ability to work, produce, pay taxes, etc. I do not support that at all.

    All I’m saying is I want the process to be the same for everyone. Legal. Thorough. Fair. Non-discriminatory (except for Usama Bin Laden. I think we should keep him out.) πŸ™‚

    I don’t think we’re too far apart on this. And stop saying Republican like it’s a bad word.:) How about “conservative”? πŸ™‚

  3. Inside,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, especially as someone who is Native American. I read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” a few years ago, and it made me ashamed to be a white American. It’s a travesty what we did to the Native American population.

    You’re exaclty right when you say we have to act, and can’t just wait for someone else to fix things.

    Sis, I say Republican like it’s a bad thing, just as I would say Democrat like it’s a bad thing. Both parties are screwed up and responsible for some serious mistakes in our governing. I don’t have much use for either one anymore.

    My point in this post was not about illegal immigration, but about who should be allowed. When we pick and choose based on their usefullness to us, that’s whacked.

    You know what, though? If my girls were hungry and I knew that sneaking into Canada to get a job to provide was the only way I could take care of them, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  4. Well, I knew it would have to happen. We agree to disagree.

    In a broad sense I can agree. but Christ, Savior of the world. When he says come unto me as you are. we know that you will not leave the same!

    Today though it seems in some cases not ALL, it is we wont to come get all the benifits but not adjust to our culture. Before it was leaving a bad situation for the chance at the american dream, not tear down the dream.

  5. Let me ask you this: what’s wrong with them keeping their culture? ON a whole, their culture is more family-centric than ours, more faith based than ours. The Jews NEVER assimilated fully into any culture, keeping their God-ordained “holiness” separate from the culture they were in. I think it’s crap to say people should assume our culture just because they live here.

  6. And how many people are coming to “tear down” the American dream from Latin America? The people I’ve met here in Eastern NC love this country, and came here at a chance for a better life. If that’s not the American Dream, I don’t know what is.

  7. And another thing. My point in this blog was not to debate legal v. illegal immigrants, or assimilating into the culture. The point was that our government is now wanting to decide, based on someone’s usefullness or lack thereof to our economy, who gets in. That is inherently wrong. That is NOT the American dream

  8. I agree that deciding someone’s immigration status based on their “usefulness” is downright shameful. No excuse for that. Period.

  9. Mattie, you are cracking me up continuing this conversation with yourself! πŸ™‚

    This is obviously an issue you feel very strongly about, and I’m glad you’re putting your thoughts and opinions out.

    I’m with Scott; we can agree to disagree on some points. You would NEVER agree completely with any of us, simply for the fact that would be too easy. πŸ™‚

  10. HA! Even though I might normally do that with people in general (you know how I feel about confrontation), you will not be getting that special treatment. πŸ™‚

  11. Bro, I think I need to comment on this when I’m not sick, but I do agree with you: seems as if the rhetoric is getting a little much.

    Don’t know what can be done however.

  12. I say congressional term limits. Just like the president; 8 years and you’re out. Ted Kennedy’s been there like 40 some years. Please.

  13. Matty told me about this one: just like a military draft, ALL of us have to serve in Congress for 2 years.

    Can you imagine the havoc I could cause to the political process in 2 short years?

    Imagine the possibilities.

  14. If I may … nothing can be done unless we, and I mean we by the people in this nation, call for change. Change does not happen when there is just talk or sitting around. I wonder if anyone ever told our elected officals that? Ever watch those political channels where the house or congress are just chit-chatting, sitting around, and paying no particular attention to anything or anyone? (of course this excludes those of you politicians that don’t just sit around and speak from their mouths and not their asses… excuse the language)How much do they make while we have families that are homeless?

  15. Inside, I totally agree. There are so many things that are out of whack with the whole system. Chief among them: when politicos get to DC and forget their constiuents. They become part of the machine. What do we do, though? What can we do practically, besides mailing them our views and voting our views?

  16. Wouldn’t it be interesting if at the next election, no one voted and then called me a new election?

    Wouldn’t this in someway force them to see that if they cannot act like our elected officials then we will make sure they are not there?

    Now you think it would never work… but think about this… we elect someone who does not do his job… those that elected them can call for him to be fired. It took the majority to get them there, those same people can take him or her out as well.

  17. Inside, you’re right in theory, but in practice, all we’d get voting are the same ones that tow the line and put the same people in over and over again. It’d be like the “gas boycott” I always hear about: good idea, but to get everyone to do it, not so likely. And that’s a shame on both counts.

  18. Then I say fire them all. None in my book are doing all they can and we all suffer for it.

    I live in a city where the unemployment is higher than the national average. I do not see anyone from this city doing anything to fix the problem. It is the fact that they do not care, they are still getting paid. So why should they?

  19. Inside, I agree again! I think there needs to be reform of the entire electoral process, not just campaign finance, which seems to be the hot topic. The fact that any elected official can take office and seem to forget who put them there…that makes me sick. If they’re not doing the job, get them out. The bad thing is that the people we replace them with seldom do any better. It seems that they all become part of the machine. What we need is a truly viable 3rd party, that can give the other 2 a legitimate run for their money.

  20. Listen Squirrel Boy, you’ve stretched this post out as long as possible. Go read pizza roll’s blog. Funny family stories. Useless sports trivia. You have Caroline, live next door to your inlaws AND a have dog; SURELY you’ve got something you can share with us. Plus, we’re sort of worried about you; are you hiding from us or finishing your “honey do’s” for the big shindig?

    Love you, Bud. πŸ™‚

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