Perhaps a more accurate title for this post would’ve been “Eli’s Sociopolitical Ramblings.”
I was reading some articles about current immigration issues, namely the Arizona law (allowing law enforcement officers to ask for proof of citizenship or residency of anyone they suspect of being an illegal) and the Secure Communities Initiative (which would allow law enforcement to cross reference the fingerprints of anyone they booked with a database of Department of Homeland Security immigration records). When it first became common to have a comments section on news sites I would read the comments, but inevitably someone would throw in a hate-filled remark that had nothing to do with anything, regardless of how uncontroversial the article was. It’s 100 times worse for articles on controversial matters, such as the current immigration debates, so I stopped reading people’s comments.
I made the mistake today of reading them. Oh boy.
I don’t even get angry at the hate and ignorance anymore. It’s so sad I can’t get angry. If we could talk about the issues without throwing in baseless, racist accusations, we might get somewhere. Hell, I think just getting rid of the “baseless” aspect would help tons! Right now what I’m plagued with isn’t anger, but Irony and Weltschmerz.
The people currently running their mouths about an “alien invasion” or a “Mexican invasion”…I wonder if they feel the slightest tinge of Irony when pondering history. Assuming they ponder it at all.
Why are there so many Mexicans in the southwestern United States? Because that used to be a part of Mexico. That, just like the entirety of the U.S., was taken by the European invaders under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. So I can’t help but smile wearily at the fact that despite what any inspirational children’s show says, might DOES make right. If you can overpower someone completely, you have the power to dictate what truth is, what justice is, what anything is and how it shall be. It’s easy to huff and puff about the “foreign invaders” when you think you have a right to be on that land and don’t think about how you came to have such a right. That’s the problem of context.
I love the comments that say the illegals need to go back to their countries to fix them. They say it out of hatefulness and vindictiveness, but how I wish the immigrants would do that. Looking at it just in black & white, without considering context, it’s a beautiful thing to wish for. The biggest reason I spent two years as a full-time volunteer was because I saw Detroit’s problems and thought no one but Detroiters could fix them, because everyone else could care less if Detroit went to the last circle of hell in a handbasket. It would be beautiful if all the illegal immigrants who risked life and limb, living in fear of Immigration authorities could go back to their countries and fix them. Eradicate poverty and ignorance, ignore the need to be in the rat race, the global rat race that keeps poor countries poor as they yearn for the affluence of post-industrialization instead of the affluence that the resources on their lands can yield.
I slipped into a fantasy there. Allow me to pull myself up out of it.
There’s the problem: people are no longer satisfied living with what their country can produce. I was going to cite oil, but since that’ll eventually run out, let’s look at a simpler example: cheap labor. If no country was interested in selling its products abroad, it wouldn’t matter if the goods available in one country were expensive because the consumers wouldn’t have a choice. The other option if goods are made by fairly-compensated labor is to not have such a large profit margin.
It’s at this point that we are rudely awakened from our fantasy once more.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but a marker of economic “success” for a company or country is growth. Once you’re already selling to everyone in your country, you won’t be able to grow. By definition, you will stagnate. So what do you do? Seek foreign markets.
Aw hell, you mean we have to deal with someone other than ourselves? Snap.
Well no, we really don’t. We could change our absurd economic models that are dependent on something impossible (infinite growth).
But of course, most people would look at me and say, “are you on crack right now?” Of course we need to expand into foreign markets instead of being satisfied being able to sustain our society!
So then that means we have to deal with other people. It means we have to kill other countries’ businesses to take over their markets, make them buy our products. Or even better, steal their products and sell them back as our products! Genius. “Banana Republic” originally didn’t refer to a clothing store, you know.
Everyone saying “the illegals need to go fix their countries,” do you realize that if that happened the U.S. would no longer be able to dictate that those countries have to allow American goods into their markets at prices set by the States, while not allowing those countries to set what prices their goods will carry in American markets? I think if we weren’t concerned with profit, with having luxury at the expense of others; if we could settle for a sustainable life rather than one built on the premise of infinite growth, it would be okay. If the American people would honestly be okay with such a scenario, and would demand that our government stop interfering with other nations’ governments, then we can be holier than thou about illegal immigrants without being hypocrites. Then we can say, “go back and fix your country,” because we’ll know that if they can’t fix it, it’ll have nothing to do with the fact that it is strategically advantageous for the U.S. to have all those countries remain in poverty.
You can’t be a global superpower if you have equals. You can’t be on top without someone on the bottom. You can’t have it both ways.
So which is it? In your heart of hearts, be honest. Just so we can get the facts straight. Just so we can move forward with all our cards on the table.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that humans can’t stand the thought of being equal. To put it bluntly, they want, they need, for someone to play the role of the little bitch. That’s why the communist revolutions failed; the revolutionaries exalting the virtues of equality wanted to be a little bit more equal than everyone else. It’s why people get into arguments over stupid stuff. It’s why gamers spend countless hours leveling up characters so they can beat a super boss and earn nothing more than bragging rights.
Maybe I’m just too tired right now.
While I believe we should fight for peace and a just world, I don’t believe we will ever get it as long as people feel the need to have something over someone else. I think it’s an okay impulse as long as it stays confined to small things, like, “I need to get a higher score than Joe” or “I need to learn more kanji than Bob.” But when it gets to “I need to have a bigger house than Jill” and “I need to use up most of the world’s energy resources,” then we run into problems. Then we have wars.
In short, I believe egos are the root of all evil. Not money. Money is just one way egos express themselves.
When I first learned the etymology of the word “weltschmerz” I was like, freakin’ genius. Welt = world, schmerz = pain. ^_^;