Goodbye Old Friend

If you have ever lived with someone or something for a long, long time you will understand the meaning of the phrase “parting is such sweet sorrow.”  I have recently parted with an old friend. I spent considerable time with him over the past four weeks and have learned immensely. I fell in love with his words, and images. His country is one in which I would live if I had to live life over. There is but one problem with living with him in this land I would have to be racist. This country is very friendly to those who are not black, Mexican, or Indian.

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The friend I speak of is a novel titled “Texas” by James Michener. One thousand ninety-six pages long I estimate it to be filled with six hundred sixty-thousand words, or the equivalent of seven ordinary novels it was a joy to read. This is the eleventh Michener book I have read, and each has been engrossing. Although he plans them similarly reading one or two books will not give away his secret to success. If I had to tell you which is my favorite there is no argument it is his first novel “Tales of the South Pacific.” Out of the forty-one titles he wrote I read six, and they are jumbo novels of a thousand pages. I loved each and every page of his writing and the historical perspective.

Texas gave me a new  perspective on Mexico, Mexicans, illegal border crossings and the reasons why our country is now experiencing the difficulty of illegal immigration. I won’t try to explain it all here I’ll let you read this book and learn from it yourself. Did it change my mind about anything? Nope. I still believe, and know, that Mexicans are great workers, good family people, and hungry for a better life. I also still believe that the borders of the United States are set, and define where the US ends and Mexico begins. I also believe in the sovereignty of our nation,  our system of laws, our economic system, and politics.

There is within the United States a group of people who are firmly committed to return land stretching from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, once a remote part of Mexico, to their origins. These people believe that there should be a section between the two countries where there exists a population that speaks two languages, but the principal one being Spanish. They believe kids should be taught in Spanish until they are finished with grammar school. They believe that this population should have dual citizenships with free movement between the two separate countries. They believe both sets of laws should be maintained.

The Supreme court ruled unanimously to extend bi-lingual schooling (Lau vs Nichols) based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Schools all across America have been working feverishly to teach in multiple languages in order to get government money. Quite frankly, I don’t think the government money is worth having to teach multiple languages. Think about that, schools have to hire multi-lingual teachers or provide classes with a teacher who knows the language of the child. What if the school is unlucky enough to have kids from Mexico, China, Pakistan, Sudan, Mongolia, Hungary and Belarus. What would you do? I know what I would do, I’d forget the ruling, and let the kids fend for themselves, they would learn English within a year like my brother did, or like the kids of every immigrant who ever came to these shores. Instead we have school systems that bend over backwards to get those government dollars. If we need to correct this terrible system we will have to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Going a bit further off my original rant, I can say that I have never met a Mexican I didn’t like, but I have met a bunch of politicians who are just plain assholes who live off the government tit.

Maybe the time has come that the United States of America should reboot. When a computer  goes crazy, the first thing we do is shut it down to re-boot it. This usually resets the software to its original settings, and clears out extraneous garbage until things work again. Perhaps we need to shut down the government and restart with the simple settings we had when the Constitution was adopted.

I guess I can make the point that the value of reading a book like Texas is that it is thought-provoking and certainly educational. I made a big deal about only one of a thousand points that exist in this narrative. I could make a lifetime of blog posts about ideas that came to me from Michener’s work.

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