The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

AMNESTY: I’ll be honest with you—I’ve always been of two minds when it comes to the issue of immigration. I suppose that this ambivalence on my part could hardly be otherwise: my paternal grandparents were immigrants to this our Great Republic, as is my mother; and I’ve always had the feeling that there was something more than a little hypocritical about my saying, okay, the Clan Bashmachkin has arrived, thanks be to God, you guys can lift the drawbridge now and keep out the rest of the riff-raff. On the other hand, my mother and grandparents didn’t sneak over the border or jump off the boat when no one was looking; they came to this country legally, after having had to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops and legal twists the warped and malevolent genius of the United States government could devise, a process that makes more than one poor immigrant coming to this, the Land of Opportunity, wonder if they were actually going to America or booking passage for a one way, no expenses paid, five day and twelve night trip into one of the less traveled byways of the Twilight Zone instead. Complaining about the immigration bureaucracy is something many immigrant families do on a more or less constant basis; in fact, we often complain about the immigration bureaucracy for fun and recreation, and now that there are more immigrants in the country than ever before, I am surprised that someone hasn’t started a professional sports league dedicated to complaining about the immigration bureaucracy. The best complainers could meet on the tarmac at JFK in a final ten hour, best of five complain-a-thon to determine the champion of champion complainers, with the smiling immigration people standing nearby to congratulate the winner at the end of his ordeal and then immediately deport his ungrateful ass back to whatever stinking war-torn Third World hellhole he came from in the first place. That’ll teach him to whine, dammit!

Which leads inevitably, as many things are wont to do in our modern age, to Albert Einstein, who, I think we can all agree, was a lot smarter than any five of us put together ever will be and don’t you ever forget it, buster. Albert Einstein was, like Mom and my grandparents, an immigrant to these shores, coming here in 1933, having figured out, years before anyone else did and without the use of a crystal ball or any other artificial ingredients, that Adolf Hitler was a major league loon who liked to start really big wars when he wasn’t busy chasing Eva Braun around the vegetarian buffet counter in the Fuhrerbunker’s cafeteria. Einstein didn’t like wars, big or otherwise, nor did he like wearing socks, which he found irrational, and he was a man, in the words of the late Abba Eban, devoted, in all things, to rationality. The opposite of rationality is irrationality, insanity, or Congress, as it is sometimes called, which now proposes to provide amnesty to the several million immigrants who now reside in this country without the legal blessing of the government. Congress, for reasons best known to itself, does not want to call the amnesty they want to provide an amnesty and so in the interests of fairness, I won’t either. The economist and Carter Administration inflation czar Alfred Kahn used the banana to describe depressions, so let’s call our not-amnesty a loganberry instead. Loganberries are a noble fruit, bred originally by a federal judge who clearly had too much time on his hands. Now, as I understand it, France and Spain have already tried loganberries and found that instead of slowing the rate of illegal immigration (I haven’t thought of a fruit for this term, but I will shortly) loganberries actually increased the rate, since everyone back in their corner of hell’s little half-acre figured that if the French and Spanish handed out loganberries once, they’d have to do it again. In fact, back in 1986, when there were only three million illegal immigrants in this country, the Simpson—Mazzoli loganberry was supposed to stop the tide once and for all; everyone who was already here could stay, but no one else would be allowed in. That’s it; we were finally getting tough. Twenty-one years and about fifteen million illegal immigrants later, Congress is about to do the same thing all over again. Given, as Einstein once put it, that one definition of insanity is the performance of the same action over and over again in anticipation of a different result, what makes Congress think that this time will be any different than the last time?

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