Saturday, May 21, 2011

On Immigration

I am in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.  It was too bad that our congress voted down the reform bill that came before them a few years back.  Here are some reasons.:
1.  We are a nation of immigrants, and that has been one of our greatest strengths.  We are not weakened by immigration itself.
2.  There are way too many illegal aliens in our country at this point in time.  Those who want to stay here to work in honest endeavors should be given a way to do that legally.
3.  We need more workers.  I am not convinced that illegals do the work that Americans are not willing to do because I see Americans of all kinds of jobs.  The problem is that there are not enough workers.
4.  If we are going to continue to not only have legalized abortion, but also a climate that favors abortion over live births, then we need to get people from somewhere.  Our present policies are not only immoral, but also insane from a human resources point of view.
5.  We have an aging population.   Most of us cannot expect to draw on the social security that we have been paying into, given the fact that our federal government has shown no interest in modifying the giant Ponsiesqe scheme that they call Social Security.   We need younger workers, and there are not enough young Americans at this point in time.  The Social Security system is on the verge of collapse.

Some of my reasons may sound kind of cold, but why not allow people into our country who  wish to study or work?  The immigrants that I have met lately - all of them here legally, BTW - are happy to be here, believing that this country is the best place in the world to be.  Why wouldn't we want more people like them living among us?   It is uplifting to meet upbeat, happy immigrants.

Yes, they miss their homelands, but are also happy for the opportunities to work and to get an education that they have here.

At the Wedding Store

Our daughter is getting married on Aug. 6.  Today was the fitting for her wedding dress.  The lady who will do the alterations is an immigrant from Croatia.  She was competent and sure of what she was doing.

We talked about bilingualism, being an immigrant, and how people react to her.  She thinks that this area is very welcoming of foreigners.  I do, too.

After all, we are a nation of immigrants.  I myself grew up in an ethnic neighborhood where there were many first and second generation Finns and Croatians, all hard working people who came here to escape the insanity that was Europe during the 20th Century.  They came so that they could have a better life for their children. 

I am happy to meet new immigrants to our country.  Welcome!

Friday, May 20, 2011

On the Kingston Ferry

Our traveling is over for a few months  now.  Yesterday was the last day of our cross country, Texas  A&M to Kingston, WA  road trip.  The very last part of our journey involved a ferry ride across the Puget Sound. It was a lovely afternoon, so many of the passengers were out on deck taking in the beautiful scenery and just generally enjoying the ride.

On the upper deck, we met a young man from India who was in the area for a conference, and visited with him briefly.  His name was Ganesh. He was surprised when I knew that Ganesh is the elephant god in Hinduism, and that it represents something like good luck.  He has quite a few Christian friends, though, he said. 

He lives with his family in the Portland area, but has to travel a lot for his job.  He told us that they had tried to live in Dallas, since that is more centrally located and would make his trips shorter.  However, they found that it was very hard to live in Dallas because of the extremes of climate there.  Portland is a beautiful city with a mild climate.  Good choice, actually.

Meeting people like Ganesh is part of what makes travel so interesting.  I would love to visit India someday.  We have many friends and colleagues there, all but one of them Indian nationals from several different parts of the country. 

I wonder if Ganesh will tell his wife that he met a woman on the Kingston ferry who knew that he was named after the elephant god.  Hmmm...

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the Airplane - 2

A few weeks back my husband and I were flying from Seattle to Rochester, NY.  We got to sit next to a man from Armenia who came to the US in the 70s. 

He had grown up during the time that his country was part of the Soviet Union.  We asked him how he learned English, since he spoke very well.  For one thing, he and his wife had lived for some 30 years in Alaska, where he worked.  His daughters were born in the US.  Besides that, he had studied English in school back in Armenia.  The Soviets had the schools divided into blocks.  Some of the areas studied Russian, others English, and others other languages.  He was in an area where the schools taught English as a second language, and he had worked hard to master it.

He said at one point that the Soviet rule was not all bad. Then he paused, correcting himself.  "No," he said. "It was all bad." 

I know what he meant.   We spent a number of years living in Pinochet´s Chile, and we regularly visit a country that, well,...I´d better not say any more.  I know what he meant.

In a sense, one learns to be stronger in oppressive situations, but there must be better ways to learn strength and endurance.

Democracy and Freedom

"Bush said U.S. foreign policy needs to continue to promote the ideas of democracy and freedom as a way to combat global terrorism.
"The long-term solution is to promote a better ideology, which is freedom. Freedom is universal," Bush said. "People who do not look like us want freedom just as much. The relatives of [former Secretary of State]Condoleezza Rice over 100 years ago wanted freedom. It is only when you do not have hope in a society that you join a suicide bomber team."

ABC News

Quotes from an article 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

On the Airplane

Sometimes on a flight, the person you are sitting next to doesn´t want to visit at all.  They may just sleep, or read, or watch movies.  Other times the neighbor is in a visiting mood.  Yesterday on a flight from Chicago to Houston, I got to sit next to that other kind of seat neighbor.

James is an immigrant from Taiwan who did his electrical engineering degree at Syracuse about 20 years ago.  He now works for a company out of California, and he gets to travel the world meeting with and talking to his company´s clients. 

We visited for maybe the last half hour of the 2 hr. 45 min. flight.  He told me about his grandfather in Taiwan who lived to the age of 99.  He had been a farmer, but later in life somehow he had the money to buy a Mercedes.  Grandfather never forgot his farm roots, and always kept a pet cow.  He built a 2 car garage where he kept both his car and his cow.  He loved the cow more than he loved the car.  The cow had copper bells on it, and James was the proud owner of two of his grandfather´s cow bells.

He also shared about his nephew who has been accepted to John´s Hopkins and his niece who also wanted to go there.  It costs only $70,000 a year!  Oh, my!

I shared with him how our daughter had just finished her first year of grad school at Texas A&M; and that I was going to help her move out of her apartment, put things in storage for the summer, and then we were going to drive back up to Washington together.  He was especially interested when I told him how different Texas is from Washington, and that her major is Spanish.  He told me to tell her that if he could arrive in a completely foreign country after having had only a rudimentary knowledge of English, and made it, then she would be able to do well.

James was an inspirational seat neighbor, which is not all that common on an airplane.  He also reminded me that we are a nation of immigrants, and that is a good thing.  My grandparents grew up on farms in Finland.  They never owned a Mercedes, but I am glad that I could learn English instead of the very complicated Finnish language!