Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vote For Me

Maybe I'm in a mood or maybe I'm tired of the usual political ME, ME, ME and blaming and name calling and everything that passes for honest electioneering. Was there ever a bigger oxymoron than honest electioneering?

When I was a little girl I dreamt of growing up to be many things. First and foremost was a writer and I began there and then when the inspiration struck, writing about a young girl about my age who got lost in the rain forests of Central and Southern America and stumbling upon a lost city. Not surprising since I was enthralled by Edgar Rice Burroughs tales of lost civilizations and ordinary men and women conquering their own physical short comings to become familiar with their new home far from the world and the routines they had taken so for granted. I read dozens of books about modern men and women washed ashore at the fringes of lost civilizations hidden for centuries going on about life without the knowledge of or even caring that there was a wider, more technologically advanced world beyond the confines of their jungles. Tattered, bruised, and often starving, the lost hero/ine overcame all obstacles to become one with their new lives.

And then there were the books about the real histories (imagined of course) about cavemen and cavewomen that did not involve being dragged to a remote hideaway to be raped or brutalized, but were about how our less evolved ancestors progressed from fire-hardened spears to better quality spears and then to bows and arrows. Animals were hunted and killed to be preserved for winter and eaten before the blood dried between forays hunting berries, vegetables, and fruits and catching fish for storage, eating, and trade with other groups.

Then I received a coloring book about the history of ballet that set me dreaming about dancing en pointe to the music I heard every day (my parents liked classical and Broadway music) and I danced for myself between bouts of tree climbing and foraging for guavas and coconuts among the trees that ringed our base housing close to the edge of the dark and mysterious jungles. I tramped the jungles, swung from tree to tree on ropes, climbed trees for sun-warmed lines as big as my dad's fist, and explored the base from our home past the special forces training ranges to the base pool or the movie theater and back again every day, chasing armadillos and hunting iguanas and coatimundis among the shadows, stopping on to pick and eat the abundant fruit just out of sight of home. Bananas, star apples, papayas, and exotic fruit I'd never seen or known about comprised a good part of my diet when out and about exploring. Every day brought some new revelation or experience that fed my yearning for exploration and nourished my need to know more, always more.

My yearning to know more, to experience more, and to live as wildly as possible while still a child left very few barriers to feed my curiosity and I embraced everything the world had to offer. My mother, tired of my constant questions of why and how, told me to look it up for myself and I looked up everything . . . even the things I heard but no one would take the time to explain. The world was my classroom and I enjoyed every moment of it, believing there were no taboo subjects -- at least not taboo enough for me to explore the moment I got out of sight of my parents. Considering the way children grow up nowadays, mine was a wild upbringing where I knew the limits of my universe only until I could find a way to get past the usual barriers and hurdles and keep exploring. No subject was too difficult and no book forbidden me because I could read.

There was The Graduate that Mom hid until I liberated the book from her bookcase, swapped dust jackets with a more innocuous Frank G. Slaughter novel of Australia, and read anyway, hiding it between the toilet tank and the wall in the bathroom. That was when I was a teenager and avidly curious about why the book was too old for me. I found The Graduate all right, but was somewhat disappointed that there wasn't something more dangerous or exciting about it. I swapped the dust jackets back and read Frank G. Slaughter's novel anyway; it turned out to be far more interesting.

In spite of the restrictions placed on me in most areas, like not being allowed to date until I actually turned 16, I felt no restrictions on my explorations into every subject that caught my eye, fascinated by flying planes, trekking through the wilderness, delving into science, astronomy, and history -- always history. I read everything on a subject until I could find nothing new, believing what I read until I discovered another perspective and another voice that offered a different view of the same subject. I do the same thing now at 61 that I did at 6 and 16 and 26 and every age in between, reading all points of view and making up my own mind about truth -- my truth, not what passes for truth in the mainstream world.

But I am somewhat inflexible, believing when attacked from all sides by the establishment and the accepted way of things, standing up to criticism and denigration and being called names. Being called names failed to phase me after being verbally abused in my own home and called a liar when I stood up to oppression, abuse, and denigration, sticking out my chin, biting my lip, and facing my opponents down with whatever I had found to support my claims, and cursing myself for not having a tape recorder to hide in my pocket to prove what I said. In that regard, I was born too early, and yet still I stood up and faced down the abuse no matter where it came from.

I had an easier time in the world outside the microcosm of my parents' home, finding like-minded individuals who were willing to listen and to debate the finer points until one or the other of us was converted or agreed to disagree.

I had far larger aspirations beyond being a ballerina, writer, archaeologist, paleontologist, and pilot. I wanted to be the first woman to race at Indy and to be the first woman on the Supreme Court. I even thought of being a lawyer so I could be a judge and work my way onto the Supreme Court, but my dreams of college were shattered and set aside for life and biology to grab me, shake me, humble me, and cow me into submission . . . for a while. And still I dreamed.

I dreamed of being President of the United States and thought I had made a good start when at 15 I worked on my first political campaign. To my parents it was nothing more important than when I drew and painted and practiced the piano, just another phase to get through. I'd grow out of it when I realized that I would never get anywhere because I was born a girl. That point was driven home every single day of my life as I watched my brother, 5 years my junior, do what I wanted to do and was denied for lack of a Y chromosome. And he got to do it at a younger age. Everything I won or was awarded was filtered through the mesh of being a girl. And a nice girl at that. Nice girls don't . . . and the list was endless.

Many times through the years I have dreamed of being President, the first female President, but that is not why I have opposed Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was not a factor, not then and not now. I still dream of being President in spite of my lack of political clout and experience in the Beltway scene and the shadows of being inside the Beltway where honesty and integrity, honor and service to the people is for sale in the White House and in the hallowed (to me) halls of Congress. I have more experience than Daniel Boone or George Washington, though less than they in skinning a bear or commanding troops in a war. I have lived in a war zone and slept with armed soldiers in my bedroom night after night while snipers kept their sights trained on our base home during the Panamanian riots, and rode to school at Coco Solo naval base with armed soldiers on the bus to protect us in transit to and from school and kept watched, rifles at the ready while we studied cursive writing, math, and science. I know a lot more about the Panamanian riots now than I did as a child of 8 years old, but that is to be expected since I was paying attention and kept reading and questioning and digesting the information I discovered.

I am of the people because I am one of the people, one of the US citizens who has voted in many elections since I was 18 years old, and I have hotly debated my views and changed my views as I learned more and experienced more.

For instance, I have changed my position on illegal immigration because I was friends with an illegal immigrant I liked very much. I learned his story and went with him when it was learned he was an illegal immigrant a few days after he got promoted at work. He was a hard worker and had earned the promotion, but he had not earned US citizenship. He had been deported once and had traveled back to see his middle class Mexican family and his brother who worked for the President of Mexico a couple of times after flying back across the border on a plane with the full knowledge of his brother and the President of Mexico who both wished him well. He explained how he was able to get a drivers license and social security card and I saw the letter the Social Security Bureau sent him after it was discovered he was an illegal immigrant with his brand new valid social security card inside along with the admonition to use the valid card and not the fake number he had been using for more than 10 years.

I went with him to see an immigration lawyer in Denver to find out what options he had and if it would help if I married him to give him legal status as the spouse of a US citizen. What she told us opened my eyes to a lot of things, including how to cheat the system. After all, he was my friend and deserved to be treated better than anyone else who stole across -- or under -- the border in the dead of night to live in America and take their share of the American dream.

I was wrong. As much as my heart ached for Luis and the trouble ahead of him because he chose to come to the US illegally, not one, but twice, I finally understood why his girlfriend's father would not sanction their marriage. His girlfriend was born in America and her parents came to the US legally and became American citizens. They saw Luis as a criminal who had stolen what he and his family earned by their hard work, determination, and belief in the law.

I know how it tears at the hearts of good people, citizens of the United States, who grieve for the families of illegal immigrants who are found out and threatened with deportation to their native countries because they broke the law. How do they leave their homes or their children or the lives they have built over the years? Their children were born in the United States, they are American citizens with all the rights and privileges of their citizenship. Why should they give up their dreams and all they worked for just because they broke the law?

That is the point. They broke the law. We're not talking about Jean Valjean or the French Revolution here or about the gendarme who relentlessly pursued Valjean after Valjean had built a respectable life with the silver and gold he stole from a church after he broke out of jail. The tale is heart warming and makes me feel good, but the bottom line is that Jean Valjean not only broke the law, broke out of prison, and broke into a church to steal everything of worth because he wanted to get away free and clear. He broke the law. He broke several laws. He was hungry, on the run, and would've killed the priest when it came down to it (although he never murdered the priest), but the priest forgave him his sin against the Roman Catholic Church and let him keep his stolen property. Jean Valjean took the stolen items and build a business, employing many people, and helped those in need. He tried to atone for his sins to the priest and the Church, but he continued to run from the police and the law because he knew he would get no forgiveness or reprieve from the law because the law is blind.

I feel sadness for Inspector Javert, not because he was in the wrong and unable to reconcile his human nature with his belief in and adherence to the law, but also because in the end he kills himself because he cannot separate his heart from his head, his integrity and the strength of his convictions that the law is made to be obeyed.

That is the real problem of illegal immigration. It isn't as if we can take one person out of the 11 million illegal immigrants or one child whose mother stole across the border to give birth to her child in the United States so that she could go back to her family across the border secure in the knowledge that her newborn child would be the benefactor, the savior of the whole family because that child is by law guaranteed to get welfare and food stamps and medical care because she was born on the right side of the border. Even if the child never lives in America, she will still get the money and the benefits of having been born in America. And that is what matters.

We cannot choose one person or one family and ignore the millions of people and families and children streaming across our borders and simply forgive them for ignoring our laws and flouting our government because forgiving one means forgiving a family and a group and eventually all 11 million illegal immigrants simply because they have, through laziness or negligence or the breakdown of government, gotten away with their crimes.

If I saw a hungry child, man, or woman about to steal food from a neighborhood store to eat, I wouldn't turn them in or call for a police officer. I would stop them from stealing and buy them a bag of groceries, talk to them and find out how else I can help, and even give them a job and a warm place to sleep in exchange for work if they're willing. But I would not condone the theft. I know what it is to go hungry, to have no good options that would take more time than I have, and have gone hungry numerous times because the only option I thought left to me was steal or starve. I starved rather than steal, but the line between stealing and hunger gets blurrier when the object of the theft is a faceless, blind corporation that will only write off the theft on their taxes and the taxes I pay will probably go back to them anyway. That's what happens when we stray from the law and quibble with the facts and reality of the law. We think it's all right if . . . .

What moves my heart in a novel is not what works in the real world no matter what excuses and justifications I use. In the end, it comes down to the law. If we break the law, we are punished. It's a simple equation. No matter how we twist and turn and wrestle with the conscience, remind ourselves that just this one person, this one family, this one time we turn a blind eye it will be all right, all we do is open the door to the flood of one more times, one more family, one more person wanting to take advantage of the precedent we just set and they will beat us over the head with it. What is a good idea, a good policy, becomes the weapon that will gut our laws, our integrity, our honesty, and our resolve and we cannot afford to abandon our principles, our laws, The Law or we will suffer the consequences.

We see the fact of what breaking the law does every day as the government, especially the left wing Democrats, ignore the law and seek to legitimize people willing to break the law and steal from US citizens and destroy the law of the land to allow these criminals to rape and pillage, murder, maim, and abuse this country and the government while granting them the privilege of voting in every election, even to the point of holding public office, in order to salve their consciences and prove they are compassionate. How compassionate is it that allowing illegal immigrants the rights of US citizens defrauds the country, its people, and our government? Whether or not they have children born in the US that have grown up in this country, those children will eventually find out that their parents lied to them and to the government and everyone they came in contact with and those children will realize they have the option of following their parents' example or the rules and laws their parents laid down for them. What a tangled web indeed.

Yes, I supported Luis's struggle to stay in the US and take advantage of the hard work he had done that landed him a management position and I stood by him as we tried to find a legal way for him to stay in this country. Rather puts the issue of marriage being between a man and a woman as a sacred bond to the question. I cared for Luis, but I did not love him. He was in love with another who could not and would not marry him because he was an illegal immigrant. Had anyone asked me then, I would have marched with the illegal aliens to fight for amnesty, but 12, almost 13 years later, I would not fight for their amnesty because they broke the law and continue to break the law every day they continue to live in this country illegally. If I have learned anything about this presidential campaign it is that the law is the law for everyone, not just for the people we know and like -- or love. Break the law and accept the consequences of your actions.

Either the law is the same for everyone or it is not and we can make up the rules as we go along. At some point, we have to stop and see the world as it is. We cannot perjure ourselves and then cover our backsides by asking what the definition of IS is in order to justify heinous actions. We are either honest or we are not. That is the whole point. The law is the law or it is not. We either enforce the law or the law is water and able to fit in whatever vessel holds it. It remains water, but water is not the law.

While I applaud Victor Hugo's writing ability and his story of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, Hugo was fundamentally wrong. No matter how much good he did, Jean Valjean built his life on shifting sands with the tide coming in. Everything Valjean built was a fantasy, a lie born of crime. Like Jean Valjean, every illegal immigrant builds their lives on lies and the fantasy that doing good and contributing to the community while stealing from the citizens of their community and the country does not wash away or justify the original crime of entering the United States illegally or the subsequent crimes of stealing from taxpayers every time they cash a welfare check for a child born legally in the US and use food stamps to buy their food. They have stolen every US citizen's hard work and taxes and steal every citizen's rights when they run for office, vote in elections, and demonstrate against the laws of the land to force the government to postpone deportation and give them amnesty for the sake of their families and their children based on lies and a laundry list of crimes they continue to commit in the name of pity and compassion and it must come to an end. Jean Valjean's life would have been better off, as would his adopted daughter, Cosette, and her mother, Fantine, if he had only confessed his crimes and paid his debt to society. He would also have saved Inspector Javert's life by acknowledging and accepting the punishment for his crime.

I do not believe it is right to break the law, or your parents' rules, and say you're sorry when the only thing you're sorry about is that you didn't get away with it. It's better to admit your guilt, accept your punishment, and work within the system to lessen your sentence.

That does not mean it is all right to rape a country -- or a girl -- and get off without paying for your crime because it would ruin your life. Look at the lives ruined by your crimes and how much damage you do by ignoring and breaking the law. Compassion has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with showing compassion for your fellow wo/man. You show no compassion when you break the law and do harm to others and should expect no compassion when you are caught breaking the law.

That is all. Disperse.

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