I sometimes think the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who live in three dimensions and those who live in one. Those who live in three dimensions live simultaneously in the past, in the present and in the future. And when you live in three dimensions at the same time, you realize, as Edmund Burke once said, that those of us who live in the present, at any given time, are the trustees of the past, during our lifetime, to hand it over to the next generation, so that the dead and the unborn are as much a part of life as we are in the minuscule amount of years we have to inhabit this earth.
When we are aware of the past, it means we respect the past, respect our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents and the generations all the way back to the beginning of recorded history. It means we read with exhilaration the historical works of Thucydides, or the artistic works of Aristophanes and Sophocles, reaching back over the millennia – which informs us, makes us who and what we are, enlivens us and broadens our small world into a world of infinite space, an infinite space of thinking, of contemplation and of realizing our kinship with the many generations that have gone before us.
It means as well that we cherish the place where we grew up and we regard, as you may recall from the opening credits of “Gods and Generals,” astronomy as belonging to that little lot of stars that we see hanging over our backyards every night – if we are fortunate enough to live in a place that is not dulled by light pollution all night long. It means that we cherish that homeland, that home place, where we first realized there was such a thing as trees and grass and wilderness and wildlife, open sky. We all started off our lives in a place. We are connected to those places; we are rooted to those places. They are what make us who we are. It is what we call home.
Then, of course, there are those who live only in the present. Now we are moving through the present, and along this road, if we are not aware of the other dimensions, if we do not know the past or know it but disregard it, or disrespect it – then its easy to pave over a Civil War battlefield in Chancellorsville or to tear down the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. It’s easy if we’re the Taliban to blow up the world heritage Bhamian Buddhist statues in Afghanistan because none of that matters to us in our grand egoism. In our instant of life in the long spectrum of life, we are the masters of the universe, at that moment, and we don’t care what happens to the next generation. We don’t care if all the forests are turned into pulp. We don’t care if all the open spaces are paved over. We don’t care if there are no species left on the planet but human beings and cockroaches. What does it matter? As long as we achieve the only thing that is important for the present tense: our own bottom line.
I’d like you to consider two families: one a family in the United States of America, a working class family, where a man, 30 or 40 years ago, on his own, could support a family of four. And as we know now, we’re not in a world where women who simply want to work can work. We’re in a world where women must work if they are to support that same family that used to be supported by one person when I was growing up in America. How did this happen? How did this happen, when at the same time our masters and our elites tell us we should be happy about the prosperous world we are living in? How did it happen that people who used to be carpenters and work in the trades can now no longer find employment? Not enough to feed their families. How did it happen that these families are crowded out of their own schools, pushed out of their own houses and crowded off of their own roads – or if they can get on the roads they have to spend two, three or four hours a day on the roads just to go to and from work? How did this happen in a world where our leaders and our elites tell us we should be grateful for the new world they have created for us?
I’d like you to picture another family – living in Chiapas, Mexico, or maybe in Matagalpa, Nicaragua – a family like our family in Arizona or Illinois, a family that was born and grew up in a specific place. Not in some abstract universe, but in a real, specific community. With parents and grandparents and ancestors, with a religion, a faith, a church, with a community, with cousins, with earth, with rivers, with mountains, with jungles, with animals, with wildlife, a place they call home. And yet some young man or some young woman is pushed out of their homeland by corrupt politicians in their own countries who will not provide jobs, education or even the basic protections of the rule of law – pushed by their own and pulled by the cheap labor advocates here, by those who only live in the present tense, to take a perilous journey of hundreds or thousands of miles, a journey they might not even survive in order to have the great privilege of standing on a street corner in Herndon, Va., or under the 405 freeway in L.A., so that another one of those people who live only in the present tense can use them to turn over their flower beds or to do some job cheaper than the guy down the street who used to do it – or to work in a meat packing plant in Kansas or a poultry farm on the Eastern Shore. What our president calls matching a willing employee with a willing employer. He’s got it almost right. He should have said, matching a willing exploitee with a willing exploiter.
What we have is an entire population – north and south of the border – being reduced by the “present tensers” to the only thing that matters to them. A human being with all his immense and limitless capacity for imagining and capable of connecting across time and space being reduced to the only two things that matter to the masters of this new world order: the worker bee and the consumer. And if you can’t work as cheaply as people from Mexico or Guatemala, or when they’re too expensive, as cheaply as people from Malaysia, or when they’re too expensive, as cheaply as people can work from Bangladesh, what value are you? None, unless you can go shop at a big box store. ‘Cause that is the other thing you can be – consumers.
The primary concern of the “present tensers” is to use other human beings as worker bees and consumers in the interest of maximizing their own profits. “Fair enough,” some might say. “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that just free enterprise at work?” But can free enterprise long endure in a country where citizenship is degraded and the rule of law is defiled? Where the bedrock of America, its middle class, is undermined, ignored and pushed aside? Where it is burdened by ever increasing taxation to pay for expenses that are not of their own making or of their own choosing? Where fair play is thrown by the boards, and where even the language they speak is not good enough by itself anymore?
In this brave new world, in their view, the “present tensers,” if 100 million people came across the border, they would celebrate. If 200 million people came across the border, they would celebrate more, because a sense of community, a sense of home, a sense of place, a sense of tradition, a sense of identity means little if anything compared to the financial gains involved. Are these numbers far fetched? Last year a study at the Heritage Foundation demonstrated that more than a hundred million additional people would migrate to the United States over the next 20 years if the Bush-Kennedy amnesty is passed – that’s in addition to the 12 to 20 million already here. And that’s just the numbers admitted legally.
We all have to move on, move over and step aside in this brave new world, pawns in a social engineering experiment on a scale that probably would have made even Stalin blush. No time in human history, no time, have tens of millions of human beings within the space of decades crossed national borders. It’s not by accident. We know it is not by accident. And we know what’s at stake here is not only the survival of our country. It is also the survival of any notion of identity for peoples anywhere. Any notion of such a thing as a Nicaraguan identity, or a Costa Rican identity, or a Mexican identity, or an American identity, because we too, yes, we too have an identity. And we too, “E Pluribus Unum,” out of many have become one. And we know that the forces that are out there are in place to make this union that we have created, a disunion, to return to many, to return to cacophony and noise and civil strife.
We don’t get to choose when we live when we are moving through this present tense. But we know, from our fathers and ancestors, no generation has escaped the test that is before us now. It morphs to different types of challenges, but it is always threatening, always dire and always has great consequences. It falls upon us now to change course, to change course and divert ourselves from the path that some of our elites, elected and unelected, are taking us. The advantage we have over many other societies is that we, despite efforts, which are formidable, we are still, beleaguered as we are, a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
What both administrations have had in common, Clinton’s and Bush’s, is a refusal to take seriously the widespread dislocation, social unrest and negative economic impact their “look the other way” policies on illegal immigration have had on working-class America. Not to mention the threat and the danger of leaving our country’s borders and ports wide open and unprotected. Putting aside the enactment of any new laws, why are the current laws that have been on the books for decades not now being enforced? Have we not learned the consequences of doing nothing?
Billions of dollars are being made on the backs of illegal aliens. Powerful forces don’t want this cash cow tampered with. They will defend the status quo to protect their financial interests. This has become the No. 1 popular populist issue. Because so many of our elite are profiting from the situation, either financially or as they see it potentially electorally, it will only be the common man, the regular guy, the American people themselves who I think at the end of the day will save themselves and their country.
Blue-collar, redneck, everyday Americans of all racial and ethnic background – because they have the instinct, even though they and their grass-roots leadership are harassed constantly by a sanctimonious media accusing them of being racist xenophobes or at best, selfish and mean-spirited. But even after decades of media brainwashing and political propaganda, the American people still have this feeling that – no, we’re right. This isn’t immigration. We know what immigration is. After all, as the saying goes, we are a nation of immigrants. We know it when we see it – and this ain’t it! It’s something else again.
Our borders are turnstiles for coyotes, drug lords, human traffickers and terrorists. Our Border Patrol agents are being incarcerated for doing their jobs. We’re under attack, under assault, and our government is looking the other way – even making excuses for illegality and promising rewards for lawbreakers. Yes, unbelievably, they are promising the reward of U.S. citizenship to anyone who can run the gauntlet of the U.S. Border Patrol and make it into the United States. Home free home! And then, to add insult to injury, they want us to believe this should not be called amnesty.
Our neighbors, fellow citizens and taxpayers know it is they, not the businesses who are luring them here and making money off their cheap labor, who are footing the bill for these increasing millions of Third World migrants – for health care, for education, for welfare, for added security and for their own depressed wages. The American people are a generous people, but they are not dupes and fools. They have moved from skepticism, to mistrust, to outrage. Where is our leadership? Who is defending America and our way of life? Not just in Iraq or in Afghanistan – who is defending it here, in our own homes and our own communities? It’s a healthy feeling of self-survival that the American people are feeling and which they are finally turning into political action and imposing on their elected officials who sometimes forget who elected them and whom they are supposed to serve. Americans intuitively understand that what’s at stake here is nothing less than the survival of our country.
We must ask, who is profiting from the importation of this cheap labor? Who is it that wants to exploit these poor Third World people? Who is encouraging young men and women to leave their children and their parents behind? Who is causing the division of these families, the millions of broken families and separated loved ones? Who is profiting from their exploitation only to then pontificate, after the fact, after the damage has been done to the fabric of these communities, after the emotional damage to real life people – that all they really want to do is reunify those families – but not, of course, in their native countries – oh no, here, in the USA.
Why here, why not in their countries of origin? So that the “present tensers” can then legally import millions more of their relatives through chain migration to be exploited as well. So that they can put more American citizens out of work – replacing high-priced American workers with those who will do the work that they, the 300 million citizens of the United States, are told over and over again by their own president that they really do not want to do.
As if America, all its great cities and farms and railroads and highways and skyscrapers and navies and air forces and bridges, all its universities, all its industrial might and the space program itself were built by Mexicans, Hondurans and Guatemalans. What rhetorical mischief! What political chicanery! What a colossal con game perpetrated on the American people and on our neighbors to the south.
We must understand that our brothers and sisters south of the border are victims as much as we are. We have to find solidarity with them. We must help them in a way that does not create chaos here, that does not lower the standard of living in our own country, that does not decimate our working class and that does not leave our citizens vulnerable to gangs, drug lords and terrorists. We must help them live in their own beautiful countries south of the border, in their own extraordinary cultures and rich traditions, among their own families and friends.
What arrogance to think and to act as if God’s love only extends north of the Rio Grande.
If we are still a sovereign nation responsible for our own destiny, a people alive in three dimensions of time, as I believe we are, then we must take at least three measures to halt the demise of working-class America and the gradual disintegration of the United States into fiefdoms, tribes, ethnic enclaves, rampant violence and anarchy. (That, my friends, is an accurate description of what our southern border looks like today.)
One – finally and at long last we must secure, really secure and control our borders. An immediate sign that we were taking this task seriously would be to commute to time served the sentences of the two Border Patrol agents, Ramos and Compean.
Two – finally and at long last we must enforce the law on employers who exploit illegal labor, who continue to provide the magnet luring them here. These unscrupulous profiteers are living high off their neighbors’ misery and impoverishment. That means more than fines. It requires jail time for repeat offenders.
Three – we must create the conditions, humane and non-coercive to be sure, to respectfully permit the millions of illegal aliens already here to repatriate, to gradually find their way back to their own native countries, to their own ancestral homes, to their own special corner of the earth, under their own set of stars – reunited with their own families with our financial assistance, with our understanding and yes, with our love.
Copyright RFM Productions
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Ronald F. Maxwell is a film writer, director and producer.