America the Eclectic


I don’t really know anyone who eats raw eggs.

Nor do I know anyone who eats raw baking soda. The same rule seems to apply to sugar, flour, and vanilla extract. You don’t eat them raw (that’s nasty). But when you mix them together…that’s right, it’s a cake. And really, try telling me that you don’t like cake.

But imagine that there was a wall that separated each ingredient, never allowing them to interact—that halted the production of a mouthwatering delicacy. That wall exists. It’s on the border of Mexico and California. The wall (and the values it represents) isolates the ingredients. Someone’s trying to steal your cake.

The wall’s shadow on the desert’s desolate ridges catapults even the most hopeful of men into indefinite darkness. It’s the only thing standing between the land of penury and the land of promise. Its iron foundation is impenetrable. It’s like a moat surrounding an opulent palace. America is on the other side.

America has an eclectic personality. In fact, our taste is so heterogeneous that we’ve been called a salad bowl. We take and adapt. What could be more American than a hamburger, pizza, and good ole’ apple pie? Nothing. The hamburger, however, hails from Germany. Pizza calls Italy its home. And pie, that distinctly American delicacy? Ancient Egypt. Stop being naïve, America. That which is uniquely American is uniquely multicultural. Drop the holier-than-thou attitude. It’s time to realize that our food—as childish as it may seem—is analogous to ourselves.

John Kennedy said it and each of us knows it: we are a nation of immigrants. Unless you’re one of the 1.9 million Native Americans left in this country of 307 million, you’re an immigrant. I was born here, but my great-grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe. Our President’s father was an immigrant. Five hundred and thirty-four members of our Congress are not Native Americans. That means that the ratio of once-immigrants to Natives is 534:1. We all came here from somewhere.

Our country was originally built as a haven for immigrants. Don’t you get a bad taste in your mouth when you realize that we’ve forgotten our roots? That the very fruit of our founders’ loins are the people who now seek to stack bricks upon bricks, building the wall higher and higher? Isn’t it tragic that the level of sanctimony has become so overwhelming that the men and women who preach the quintessential story of migration have forgotten the taste of the salt of the sea? Isn’t it ironic that this country that was created by people seeking refuge from a repressive and impoverished land is now the first in line to push newcomers away?

We often forget that humanity is just as valid a common bond as any. Americans have paved so many different paths to success because of our polychrome composition. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank, one in every four doctors in America is born in another country, forty-two percent of medical scientists in America are foreign-born, and one in three software engineers. Immigrants contribute $1,800 more in taxes than they collect in benefits according to the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “ tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the costs of the services they use”. Immigration has served as the backbone of this country; if there were no immigrants, there would be no United States of America.

Immigration needs to be easier. Becoming a citizen of this country ought to become an inviting and enticing process instead of a legislative turn-off. The notion that Americans are better than everyone else is bunk. Our “moral high ground” is often a plateau and we’re not more worthy of achieving success than anyone else. Our country’s original foundation was an experiment; something that had never been tried before. We are living proof of how an unsteady mixture of idiosyncrasies can build upon each other to form not an obtrusive wall, but an invitation to the rest of the world.

Raw ingredients serve a much more pragmatic purpose when they are combined. America is so successful because it is a motley crew. And so, to those who wish to bolt up the door to opportunity and hold up clenched fists rather than outstretched arms, I have but one thing left to say: let them eat cake.

Xenophobia?


An uneasy mixture of a corporate ego and political corruption have finally caught up to Meg Whitman. In the past week, it has come out that the California gubernatorial candidate employed an illegal immigrant as her housekeeper for several years. Whitman and her husband, Griff Harsh, claim that they were completely oblivious of any sort of notion that their housekeeper, Nicky Diaz, was an illegal immigrant. They claim that the only found out about her immigration status in 2009, and promptly fired her.

Whitman and Harsh, however, received a letter from the Social Security Administration in 2003, which indicated that aspects of their housekeeper’s paperwork did not add up. The couple ignored the letter, for the most part, aside from running it past Diaz. Harsh wrote “Nicky, please check this” at the bottom of the letter and gave it to Diaz. For the next six years, the steadily employed her (at very low wages. Meg Whitman is a billionaire).

Am I against illegal immigration? Am I against employing illegal immigrants? Do I think that there are major flaws in the United States immigration system? Do I think that what Meg Whitman did was right? None of these questions are relevant.

Meg Whitman is running on a platform that is firmly upheld by her plan to make illegal immigration tougher and to send those immigrants back to their home countries. One of her principal proposals is the “Economic Fence,” which would supposedly protect against the employment of illegal immigrants. The following is from the website:

“Meg believes that the federal government and California need to work together to establish a system that allows employers to better verify the immigration status of their workers. The “Economic Fence,” an enhanced e-verification system, will help keep employers honest and will be a major deterrent to illegal immigration.”

Her website also says that she wants to “deploy the resources of the National Guard” to keep people like Nicky out of California. She wants to “prohibit driver’s licenses” for people like Nicky (how did Nicky get to Whitman’s house?) She wants to“conduct workplace inspections of suspected business.” Really!

Hypocrisy at its best. May God save California.

27 days, 13 hours, 38 minutes, 48 seconds.

Toying With Nature


In early June, the sagacious people of California voted to institute Proposition 14, which called for something called the “Top Two” system. In short, the “Top Two” system changes the idea of a partisan primary. It places all the candidates from each party onto one ballot. Each candidate has the option of stating her/his “party preference,” but is not required to do so. This leaves the general election to the top two vote getters, regardless of their party.

This all happened two and a half months ago…why am I writing about it now?

Because we’re on the downhill of one of the hottest political climates in American history. The residue of effects from the 2008 election season and the inauguration of Barack Obama has not yet worn off quite yet.

(Then) Senator Obama’s presidential campaign rallied millions of young people– as well as middle aged and older people who had never been involved before– to become wholeheartedly invested in the political process.

Let’s invoke Obama– in his own words– on the night that he lost the New Hampshire primary.

“There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we’ve never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.”

You can call it cliché or banal, but it’s true. The 2008 election started a wave, and young Americans are still riding that wave. But I oppose this “Top Two” law for perhaps a very selfish purpose; a purpose, however, that I believe is of the utmost importance in this a society that is losing any connection to its roots and is falling deeper and deeper into a black hole of worldly ignorance and profound civil negligence.

In the election process’ current form, if you voted for Hillary in the primary, chances are that you voted for Obama in the general election– because both candidates shared basic Democratic party platform principles. And chances are that if you voted for Romney in the primary, you voted for McCain in the general– for the same reasons as stated above.

This law– the “Top Two” law– inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) discourages thousands of Californians from voting. If both candidates are Republicans, then thousands of Democrats won’t vote and vice versa. And in a time when Americans, let alone Californians, need to have a say in what’s going on in their governments, this law is counterproductive and unwarranted.

Painting them Blue


The Republican side of the gubernatorial campaign in California is, in several ways, a great work of fiction. Steve Poizner (who is gaining ground) and Meg Whitman have spent a considerable amount of their funds on creating balls of mud to sling at each other. The campaign has gone from, “Who can prove him/herself the more qualified candidate?” to “Who can make up the most creative lie about his/her opponent?”.

On the small-scale, each of these raging conservatives is trying to paint the other candidate blue, framing them as liberals. Sure, that’s a way to stimulate the GOP base, but let’s be frank: neither of them are anywhere near liberal– fiscally or socially.

On a larger scale, they are literally lying about one another; especially Poizner about Whitman. In a new ad, the Poizner campaign says, of Whitman’s immigration stance, “She supports Obama’s amnesty plan.” But on her website, it says the following:

The woman’s a full-hearted Republican! Let the world see that, so that she loses the general election! Also, check out this ad from the Poizner campaign. It’s disgusting that it’s all come down to lies and unreasonable conjectures.