Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pondering Our Borders

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere set out on a vital, albeit dangerous mission. His job was to alert Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British troops were coming to arrest them. Legend has it that Revere rode through the country shouting the warning, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” After delivering his message to Adams and Hancock, Revere continued his ride warning others of the approaching danger. Two others, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, recognized the need to warn their fellow citizens and joined Revere in his historic ride. We know the success of their mission, but can we imagine the result if they had failed.
Today the United States is being invaded again. Like Revere, Dawes and Prescott, there are riders issuing urgent warnings, but unlike the citizens in 1775, the people seem apathetic and unconcerned.
I will not debate our presence in Iraq or other parts of the middle-east. If our troops are there—regardless of the “why they are there”—I am going to support them. I am for any measure that will provide them a swift and sure victory and a safe return home. They deserve our support. They answered the call of their nation, and we have to stand behind them at any cost. Their blood and sacrifice is far too sacred for anything less than our very best.
There is another battle front, however, which deserves our immediate attention: the border between Mexico and the United States. Some estimate that 25 million illegal immigrants have already crossed the border and are living safely in the United States. These illegal immigrants are enjoying the benefits of our free society without any of the sacrifices. They do not pay taxes. They do not enlist in our military. They do, however, get free medical care. They get work. In short, they get all the good stuff without any of the cost.
Am I against immigration? No! I am all for immigration. The more the merrier. Immigration is how this country was established. Immigration is how this country has grown. Through immigration our society has been infused with creativity, ingenuity, and power. However, the positive contributions of immigration have come through legal, not illegal, immigration.
Am I against Mexicans? No! Having worked with legal Mexican residents, I have found them to be an honest, hard-working people. Many have left family and home to pursue a dream that the United States of America offers: a better life. They work hard. They dream big. They contribute to our way of life. Illegal Mexican immigrants do not. They are here to scam and drain our economy.
Mexicans are not the only ones illegally coming into our country. Some suggest as high as 15% of the illegal immigrants crossing our poorly guarded southern border are from destinations across the globe, particularly the middle-east.
Here is the question that needs to be pondered: if you want to migrate to the United States, why do so illegally?
The Constitution protects anyone who has a right to be here. Illegal immigrants do not have a right to be here, and are thusly exempt from the constitutional protections afforded those that are rightfully here either by birth or naturalization. No other country in the world affords its citizens the right of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Although some claim that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the right of all humans…and maybe it is, the constitution can only guarantee it to those who have a legal right to enjoy its protection.
Illegal immigration is, in essence, a war against the United States and the peaceful, law-abiding citizens that live here. Hence, illegal aliens are enemy personnel. Their only rights are derived from the Geneva Convention, not the U.S. Constitution. Our government, in other words, “we the people” have got to understand and recognize this threat for what it is and act accordingly. If we do not, we will not survive the war.
“We the people” must respond. We must consider all who would give aid to enemy personnel traitors to our nation, regardless of whether they are foreign nationals or our own elected officials. We must lend our hearts, minds, and purses to the protection of the nation. Close the borders. If necessary, ride like Revere and call to arms the people. Stand shoulder to shoulder along the border and block the entrance. Face it. The only people coming across the border illegally are drug smugglers (we don’t need anymore of that), human slave traders (we should have had enough of that in the 1700 and 1800’s), people who are seeking to harm our country by bleeding our economy, and terrorists seeking to inflict bodily harm on the people of the United States (does anyone remember 9/11).
I love my country. I love her people. I would love to have more people from across the world join us and live out the “American Dream.” But let them come peacefully, and let them come legally.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Distant Trails

Life is full of distant trails, paths that we once walked now covered by the leaves of time. Some we recognize immediately, while others are like a faded picture upon which we fix our gaze and wander through the halls of our own recollection trying to find the memory.

I like to travel these trails. I rode down one tonight. I went back to Madison, IN, my hometown, to visit my mother. Unfortunately, I did not call her to insure she would be home or awake. I wanted to surprise her. Instead, it was my surprise. She was home, but obviously in bed asleep as her car was in the driveway but all the lights were out. I pondered a moment on my own predicament and decided to wander down some distant trails.

I drove "downtown" to my childhood stomping grounds. Most of the houses on Third Street still looked the same...weathered and tired. I reined in though when I saw Lydia Middleton Elementary School. It was changed! The playground in the back of the school was gone, replaced by a huge new section of classrooms. Gone was the towering Hickory tree that once stood proud and strong shading us kids as we played dodgeball. Gone was the basketball courts I dreamed in, practicing to play for the ABA Kentucky Colonels. Gone was the window in which the old janitor lady, whose name I can no longer remember, but whose girth and warm smile I shall never forget, rang the bell that indicated recess was over. It was on that playground I kissed my first girl...I believe her name was Teresa...her parents owned a tavern in town and my parents strongly disapproved when I told them she was my girlfriend. I remember, too, that it was on that playground now buried under tons of brick and steel that we chanted "Kennedy, Kennedy, he's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can." That same playground was where I first learned of his assassination as well.

For a moment, I longed to walk on that playground one more time, to play again in the leaves that used to gather in the northwest corner, to feel the firm grip of Mr. Taylor's hand against the back of my neck as he guided me into his principal's office to discipline me for doing something wrong and promising me it would go on my "permanent record." But, I could not. Change had struck again.

I continued my wandering. Passing the house on Third Street in which a portion of my childhood was housed, I noticed how the new owners had cared for it. My eye caught a movement in the darkness. Someone was sitting on the front porch in a swing. I wondered if it could be the very swing in which I used to sit. I wondered, too, if they were pondering some lost past in their life as well. The movie theater, Roger's Drug Store, Mill's Department Store, Demaree's Men's Shop, the Courthouse, the Jail, the riverfront, the house on Main Street, the treehouse in the neighbor's yard, the alley, Second Street, my paper route, the Power Plant, Hanover Hill, Highway 62...all distant trails...all dusty with time...all changed.

As I drove back toward Jeffersonville, I wondered if given the opportunity would I go back? Could I go back? I pondered the possibilities. I finally decided that I would not go back if I could. Change has taken its toll in Madison, but more importantly, change has taken its toll in me. I must learn to be content with the horse I ride and the trail I'm on. And as for distant trails, I'm content to let memory's evening sun set over their horizon and close my eyes to dream of their experience. Besides, I kinda like the trail I'm on now.

Happy trails.


Within these "ponderings" you will find my heart and soul.

Inspired by my son's blogs (, I, too, shall join the masses who are placing their ideas and thoughts on the virtual world of the Internet.

Please check this site frequently. Do not be content to sit on the fence rail, slide your seat into the saddle, grab the reins, and ride along with me as we explore the grassy meadowlands, deserts, and high mountain ranges of human thought! Cross with me the ragging rivers of controversy, and share with me the cool, crisp waters of agreement. But watch your back-trail, as such ponderings cannot leave you unchanged.