"THERE IS NO WATER HOLIER THAN THE SWEAT OFF A MAN'S BROW"
September 1, 2008
Those remarkable dozen words demonstrated a reverence and appreciation for hard working blue collared Americans and was written and spoken Homer Hickam when he delivered a eulogy at the services conducted in the wake of the Sago Mine disaster nearly 3 years ago in West Virginia.
I thought that this Labor Day we should remember that this holiday is not about department store sales, as all too many holidays seem to be about, but to take a day to remember the huge contributions that hard working Americans have made to building this nation.
Homer, as I have noted in previous commentaries, was the son of a coal miner who grew up in the 1950’s and was inspired by the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite to ultimately become an engineer and work on the space shuttle. When he was in high school the only way out of becoming a coal miner in his town, was to win a football scholarship. He lacked the athletic abilities to do this but also did not want to follow his father’s footsteps that would have led him into the mines he was so opposed to laboring in.
His life story, The Rocket Boys became an acclaimed movie, “October Skies.” I would urge every child in America to read his book and watch his movie. His story is truly inspirational. It is also a story I can relate to. I also grew up in the 1950’s and although I am a couple of years younger than Mr. Hickam, I have a vivid recollection of hearing the astonished news commentator who broke into a sitcom I was watching that Friday evening on October, 4, 1957, “The Life of Riley” when the newscaster announced that the Soviet Union had launched the first satellite known as “Sputnik.” I had already been enthralled by the idea of space flight and had taught myself as much as I could about astronomy, an interest I have to this day, and one that I have shared with my children.
My own background is not unlike Homer Hickam’s. When I was a boy I watched my dad trudge off to work on construction sites as Homer watched his dad go off to work in the coal mines. My dad was a tradesman, a plumber. His work was tough. He did backbreaking, dangerous and filthy work.
My dad was and always will be my hero. He lacked much in the way of a formal education, he completed eighth grade and then went out to find a job as a teenager. This was not unusual for kids growing up in America during the first couple of decades of the last century. My dad might not have been well educated, but he was one of the brightest men I have had the privilege of knowing.
Because my mom and dad found the lack of a formal education hobbled their efforts to live the American Dream, they made certain that I would not only graduate high school, a goal neither attained, but that I would go on to acquire a college degree. Sadly they both died before I graduated from college.
I often say that while my parents have been gone for so many years, but that I am still standing on their shoulders!
Today there are still many Americans who work in coal mines and construction sites. There are Americans who work in steel foundries and do other dangerous, back breaking filthy jobs. The point is that there is no job that American’s will not do provided that when they get their paychecks at week’s end, that they will be able to pay their bills and support their families.
There are politicians who are grammatically challenged. They are unable to conjugate verbs in any tense other than the first person singular. The three most important people these politicians know are, “Me, myself and I.”
While they took oaths of office to defend our Constitution and our nation itself, they seem to be unable to make the tough decisions that fly in the face of the demands made by the deep-pocketed contributors. They are unable to make any decisions that may cost them votes. They fear losing their elected positions even as American soldiers are losing their lives as are law enforcement officers across our nation.
You can easily tell who those politicians are. They are the ones who repeat the mantra about how illegal aliens do the work Americans won’t do. Of course they lack the honesty to call illegal aliens by that legally accurate term. They use Orwellian language and refer to these people as being “Undocumented Workers.” Others call them simply, “The undocumented.” I have even heard at least one politician refer to these illegal aliens as “Undocumented Citizens!”
The verbal sleight of hand (sleight of mouth?) reminded me of a humorous incident I was involved in many years ago.
I was tipped off to the presence of an illegal alien who had been previously deported from the United States. He had been convicted of a narcotics charge and had, subsequent to serving his jail sentence and being deported, unlawfully reentered the United States. This alien who had been a citizen of a Caribbean country, I believe it was Jamaica, had been arrested by the NYPD for a relatively minor drug charge.
I contacted the assistant district attorney who was handling the arraignment. He told me to meet me that day at this alien’s arraignment in New York State Criminal Court. When his defense attorney was told that I was there to take his client into custody, he objected and told the judge that his client was an “upstanding citizen” and objected to my intentions to arrest the defendant.
The judge asked me to explain the situation. I stated simply, “Your honor, I am not hear to dispute the fact that the defendant is a citizen, the issue is that he is a citizen of the wrong country!” I went on and said, “He is an illegal alien!”
The judge laughed loudly and told me I was free to take the defendant into custody to initiate his prosecution for unlawful reentry after deportation.
As I handcuffed him he defiantly told me I couldn’t arrest him. I looked him square in the eye and told him to keep his eyes open so he could see it happening, up close and in person!
I think everyone in the courtroom broke out laughing!
The issue to remember is that our country not only has the right but the imperative to secure its borders against illegal aliens. Back in the 1940’s the enforcement and administration of the immigration laws was the responsibility of the United States Department of Labor because the biggest concern is that foreign workers would come to the United States and do harm to the American workers. This might yet be another reason we fondly remember the Americans who lived in the 1940’s and fought and won World War II as the “Greatest Generation!” While not all was as it was supposed to be, the government at least demonstrated that it would do what was necessary to protect the citizens of our country.
Today far too many politicians have abrogated their responsibility to want to secure our nation’s borders and protect the American worker.
Congress keeps on coming up with all sorts of permanent and temporary visa categories to enable foreign workers to enter the United States. These workers are not better qualified than are American workers, it is just that they are willing to work for lower wages and for far fewer benefits. These visas and the failures to secure our nation’s borders save employers money by providing them with foreign workers, but, in the long run, leaves our nation vulnerable and makes it increasingly difficult, if not impossible for the average American support his family and meet his bills at the end of each month.
The scourge of slavery has been replaced with the scourge of the exploitation of illegal aliens and foreign workers who are legally permitted to enter the United States to undercut the American worker. This issue is not insignificant but has huge implications for so many aspects of our nation today.
Immigration has corrupted our government. The ABSCAM investigation of 30 years ago clearly illustrated how members of Congress could be bought off to file private bills to benefit certain well-heeled aliens.
Jack Abramoff who has been convicted of crimes involving politicians got his start as a lobbying working for Bill Gates’ father’s law firm, lobbying for massive numbers of additional H-1b visas to enable foreign computer programmers to enter the United States and supplant their American counterparts. There are computer programmers who, to this very day, still refer to those visas as the “Abramoff Visa!”
I would love for the United States to go back in time to a point where the American worker was truly valued. Where our government was mindful of its obligation to the citizens of this nation and showed its understanding of that obligation by effectively enforcing and administering the immigration laws.
Open borders, immigration fraud, and the contrived visas that enable ever more foreign workers to enter our country and offer unfair competition to the American workforce needs to all end.
If we are to provide Americans living in poverty with the opportunity to get off of welfare and bootstrap themselves into economic mainstream America, then these Americans need to have the entry level jobs that are now taken by illegal aliens.
Rather than provide absurd “economic stimulus” checks to families that, on average amount to about one thousand dollars in the hope that somehow Americans will rush out and make some purchases of goods that were probably manufactured overseas, wouldn’t it make far more sense for our government to stop the flow of tens of billions of American dollars each year that are being wired and otherwise sent out of the United States by illegal aliens working in our country?
Wouldn’t our nation’s economy and the economies of the average American family benefit more by providing jobs that pay decent wages to more American workers who will invest their money in the children’s education and in buying homes and making purchases and investments, circulating money and making investments, within the United States?
Need I even ask that question? Why then is what would seem to be commonsense lacking in our nation today?
Beyond the economics of the failure to secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that has integrity are other extremely important issues starting with national security. If there are 20 million illegal aliens now living in our country, then we are talking about a group of people who, if we could put them in one area and create a border around them, would represent enough people to create the 3rd largest state in the United States of America!
As of the last United States census, California had 36,332, 215 residents, Texas had 23,904,380 residents and my state, the State of New York, had 19,297,729 residents.
As many of you probably already know, the census is taken every ten years and is done in order to determine the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives. California has 53 states, Texas has 32 seats and New York has 29 seats. Where electoral votes are concerned, California has 55, Texas has 34 and New York has 31. These electoral votes are also determined by relative population.
is the shocker that I bet many of you have never considered. The census
does not take the citizenship or immigration status of residents of
a state into account. A warm body is a warm body.
An illegal alien counts for as much as does a United States citizen.
Think what this means. If California has more illegal aliens than any other state, the implications of this are clear. California gets the most number of Congressional seats and electoral votes because of the huge number of illegal aliens who live in California. This means that these illegal aliens are being represented in Congress and in the electoral process!
I can also tell you that there are illegal aliens who do vote. The so-called “Motor ? Voter Law” enables people who appply for driver’s licenses to also register to vote at the same time. This is, in my judgment, one of the reasons that there were politicians who did not want to keep illegal aliens from getting driver’s licenses.
The fact that there are millions of individuals living in our country today and that we have no way of knowing their true identities, backgrounds, criminal histories, potential affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations represents a huge threat to national security and the safety of all Americans.
Providing these millions of illegal aliens with official, lawful status in our country would not enable our government to know who they are, but would enable them to morph into a new identity not unlike the way that the Witness Protection Program enables federal witnesses to change their identities to protect them from those who would kill them for cooperating with law enforcement. The basic premise behind the Witness Protection Program is to help these people by providing them with new, untraceable identities to enable them to conceal themselves from those who would do them harm.
A massive amnesty program for illegal aliens would enable criminal and terrorist aliens to similarly create new identities for themselves so that they can also hide: not from criminals, but from law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That is why the 19 terrorists who wrought such destruction on our country used a total of more than 360 false identities and variations of identities to enable them to hide in plain sight among us as they prepared to carry out the worst terrorist attack ever carried out against our nation. The bad guys use changes in identity the way that chameleon uses changes in coloration, in order to hide in plain sight among his intended victims.
The hijacking of four airliners on September 11, 2001 caused horrific suffering and destruction to our nation, to our people and to so many others. The hijacking of airliners is without question a crime of dire consequences.
The hijacking of our government by special interest groups is of no less significance. We the People must do what the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 did on September 11, 2001. They fought off the hijackers and prevented the airliner they were on from being uses as a weapon.
We the People must take back control of our government and make our voices and our demands heard by those who purport to represent us and claim that they want to win elections to provide more and better paying jobs for all Americans.
My parents used to tell me “talk is cheap” when I made promises they thought I might not be able to fulfill. They were honest, hard working Americans who instilled their values in me at every opportunity.
It is one thing to promise more and better jobs. It is all well and good to talk about protecting our nation against terrorists and criminals.
The reality is that until and unless our nation secures its borders and creates an immigration system that has real integrity, none of those lofty and essential goals can be attained.
Todd Beamer, the heroic passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 who was heard on a cell phone, exhorting his fellow passengers on that ill-fated flight to rise up against the hijackers with a simple phrase, “Lets Roll!”
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We the People must similarly rise to the occasion and become involved in the political process. This is the work all Americans must do!
The issue of border security and the creation of an immigration system that possesses real integrity that helps protect our nation and also honors the many lawful immigrants who have entered our country legally and played by the rules are neither Conservative issues nor are they Liberal issues. These are simply AMERICAN issues!.
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
© 2008 - Michael Cutler - All Rights Reserved