Sometimes knowledge is best gained in reflective moments. Today I want to illustrate that and the core will be how I celebrated this past Thanksgiving. I appreciate it more today than last Thursday.
The core of my celebration was an extended family dinner with football on the TV. Very typical. Most, but not everyone was there. Sadly, in today’s America again typical. For not the first time one of my grandchildren brought a friend from school along to join us. This young man happened to be from France. In the past the guest was from Denmark, so this was not unique. It was also the high point of the event for me. I enjoyed the young man’s company and learned from our conversations as I had from the Dane that preceded him.
My regular readers know that three of my grandparents were born in Poland. America is a country almost entirely comprised of immigrants and their descendants. That fact is lost on too many!
It is not exclusively an American problem (although America is the primary concern in my writing). Recently in Ireland there was a stabbing which led to right wing riots against immigrants. The precipitating event was a knife attack that was broken up by two young men, a Brazilian and a French Immigrant. Somehow the proud nationalist right wing rioters conveniently ignored that fact.
In America we have had a plethora of recent attacks against both Jews and Palestinians in response to the current conflict. That makes about as much sense as attacking me because you are unhappy with the Law and Justice Party in Poland.
One of the best illustrations I can give defending my stance that conservative and crazy are not synonyms is the actions of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel (a core conservative!) with regard to immigration. She embraced immigration because her country’s workforce was graying and the labor supply needed supplementation.
America also has a graying labor force and we need bright young people like the young men from Denmark and France that I met if we are to continue to be a global leader. Shooting bright young college student in the streets of Burlington, Vermont is certainly not the answer to our future needs.
I’m not even going to touch on the innovative contributions of immigrants today. I just want you to look at the raw numbers. From manual labor to cutting edge innovation we simply need the bodies. Economists have long considered 5% unemployment to be full employment. America’s October number was 3.9%. You do the math and think of the possible long-term implications.
I have no idea what the long-term plans of either of these young men is but that is not the point or the lesson. Embrace immigrants – you just might learn something(s). I did. In most cases, certainly including mine, remember where you came from.
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