Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

I have mixed emotions about both Father's Day and Mother's day. In fact, I have the same mixed emotions about celebrating birthdays. Sure, it's a great opportunity for retailers to sell more stuff, and it seems like a good idea to set aside a day to honor one's father or mother, or to wish someone you care about a happy birthday, and let those same people know that they are important to you and that you are glad that they are a part of your life. It all sounds like a good idea. But is it really?

People start to have expectations then. "Oh, you forgot my birthday! You must not care about me very much." Or parents get hurt when their children are too busy in their everyday lives to make time for them. Or maybe they just forget all about it. Then the parents are hurt and feel unloved or disrespected, and they either sulk about it, or try to make the kids pay for it by admonishing them and telling them that they are ungrateful children.

I would just advise all people to never fall into any of those types of traps. It is a great waste of emotion and largely meaningless. You don't judge your children by what they do on Father's Day or Mother's Day, and you should never expect any acknowledgement from anybody on your birthday.

I for one was not a model son. I loved my parents a great deal, but I was always preoccupied with my own life, and many times I remember rushing at the last minute to buy my mother flowers and a card; arriving late at the house; signing her card while parked in the driveway; then rushing in giving some excuse as to why I was so late. My mother was easy. Anything I gave her she praised and was happy. My father on the other hand actually punished me once for not buying him a Father's day card. Nevermind that I had spent all of my allowance for two weeks on his present. He said I was a selfish, ungrateful son and grounded me for a week for not also giving him a card. I thought it was very silly at the time, and it caused me to feel less respect for him. In fact, I thought he was being childish and I was in the sixth grade at the time. Nevertheless, it was a source of friction and no good ever seemed to come of such holidays. Those days always seemed like just another chance to screw up and get a lot of grief from whomever's birthday or special day it was.

Therefore, my advice to one and all is this: Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed. You will never be disappointed by a friend or lover or son or daughter, or any other poor soul who might just have forgotten that it was your special day. Or if they were just too busy, or they didn't think you rated any special effort, you will never really care.

On the other hand, if they do take the time and effort to remember you, you can still be delighted by their good will. And you will never feel you have to chastise a son or daughter, brother, sister, or lover for forgetting you.

Hold yourself to a higher standard. Try diligently to honor your father and mother every chance you get. Try to let your friends know just how much you care about them. Nowadays, with all the computer software available, it is much easier to keep track of all those special days. But only hold yourself to that higher standard, and never try to make anyone feel bad if they have done less than you hoped for. If you don't hope or expect, you will be more godly.

After all is said and done, the real joy in this world is giving, not receiving.

The American Pricetag of Citizenship

How can anyone with a grain of sense in their head think that a proposed immigration law that effectively grants amnesty for illegal immigrants based on a five thousand dollar entree fee makes any sense? Okay, you give us five thousand bucks, then go back home for a year, and we will re-admit you legally. Are our lawmakers all nuts? Are they that far removed from reality as to think this would ever work?

When I hear our president praise this as landmark legislation for immigration, I finally must admit to myself: "He must be stupid." I voted for Bush, both times, and I am a registered Democrat. I know this administration has been plagued with many a bone-headed move, but this is just so outrageous to me, so egregious and frustrating, that it is almost laughable.

I say almost laughable, because it is not funny at all. This is a very serious issue, and it involves millions of potential new citizens; tens of millions if one extrapolates into the future. Since when has it been considered remotely acceptable to put a price tag on citizenship? On the large, illegal immigrants come here to get a better life, chasing the hope of riches and an all-inclusive society. A large number of these people are illegal because they don't want to wait for the long process of legal entry. This proposed new legislation, directed primarily at illegals from Mexico, hasn't a glimmer of a hope of solving the illegal issues. An illegal already here and working, is not very likely to be willing to cough up five grand and then go home for a year. It's ridiculous.

What would make sense, is legislation to increase across the border temporary workers. That part of the legislation is good and fair and should be enacted immediately. The illegals are a more difficult issue, especially those who have become established here and have proven themselves to be law-abiding participants in our society. It is difficult to decide how to make them legal. This really needs a lot more thought, but since they did break the law and enter illegally, asking them to pay a fee might not be an unfair thing to do. Maybe it could be paid over a long period as an extra tax against their wages. Many options could be palatable in asking for what constitutes a fine. But to ask them to voluntarily come forward, pay, and then go home for awhile is ridiculous.

Far worse, are the implications of what admission to our country is going to take in the future. Already, Europeans have to pay a non-refundable 100 dollar application fee for visas to come here. Why not just say okay, there is a large admission price if you want to come here. Throw a sign across the Statue of Liberty proclaiming it.

Perhaps what is more obvious than immigration reform is that we need change in our government. We need qualified people who think, statesmen that serve the betterment of our society and not self-serving, narrow-minded, partisans who seek only their own betterment and re-election. Until such stupidity is singled out and the perpetrators are publicly ostracized, we will continue to see such ridiculous legislation that carries no hope of bettering the country.