Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Neighbor?

So, one blog to rule them all! I may branch out a little, later on, but for now I'm sticking to just right here. Thanks for all of the feedback everyone. Now, onto today's post...

I rarely watch the Colbert Report. However, I tuned in last night to find an interesting guest. It was a gal who was a Catholic and Democrat who had written a book about how the political right had used politics to shrink God and put Him in a box. Sadly, I had to nod my head and agree with her on most things (and you all know how conservative I generally am).

She talked about how we had made God a one or two issue being in the political realm. What does the right use Him for mostly? The ability to speak freely about one's personal faith, which mostly applies to Christianity, as many laws are selectively enforced to silence people who are Christians, and abortion.

She insisted that there is so much more to the message of Jesus and the Bible, though. She talked about loving our neighbor and caring for the poor and the foreigner.

Right now, I think it is impossible to deny that we have an international mess on our hands: war in Iraq, trouble with Mexico and immigration, turmoil in Afghanistan. None of these has really been handled well. Some of these issues go back further than our current president, and I don't lay all the blame at his feet. Deep down, I believe he's a good guy.

However, we need something more than we have been given for the decisions that have been made. What would a wall that did not completely span the border with Mexico really solve? Nothing. What would it cost us? A lot. Billions in tax-payer dollars, a more positive image with the people of Mexico, and maybe the words of Jesus himself: to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Jen argued that those words were more personal in meaning than having anything to do with foreign relations, but I had to disagree. This applies very much to foreign relations.

I think back to what happened in 1945 in England after the war with Germany was over. They had tens of thousands of war prisoners to deal with. What they did was radical, amazing and a great example of Christlike foreign policy. They sent them to live in individual British homes for a year. Over the course of that year, they got to know the people they lived with, the folks in the community they were in, and got to work amongst them. At the end of the year, they were sent back to Germany. Over that year, through those German soldiers, the British got to see the humanity in them, and the German soldiers got to see the love and hospitality of the British people. They got to be loved on and cared for by their enemies.

My question: Why don't we, instead of wasting billions and billions of American tax dollars to half do a job that won't really work anyway, offer $10,000 to any American home that would take in an immigrant for a year? The immigrant would get a special visa to allow them to work, and they would agree to pay their American hosts $400 a month for rent. At the end of the year, they would return home for a month (to tell their friends and family how kind and generous America has been to them) and then be offered their opportunity to gain permanent citizenship. These immigrants would generate tax dollars that could perpetuate this program ad infinitum. If the government took just $2 billion to start this program, they could invite 200,000 people. I'm sure there are at least that many homes that would love to have an immigrant/exchange person for a year.

Think of what it could also mean for race relations. Afghanis staying with Irish and Italians in Boston. Oaxacans staying with Black families in Chicago. Panamanians staying with Russian families in Seattle. They would see these different racial groups as people and not "them" because they now understand them and had a chance to experience their culture, charity and hospitality for a whole year.

What else could this mean? Gradually growing the population this way could help us rival China's financial influence in the world and close the population gap a bit. This would give us more sway in foreign relations and other countries would feel more willing to work with us because of how we help their people.

And that's another part of the bottom line. Much like the video I put up Tuesday, we are such a consumeristic culture. We need to spend less and give more. I know we give out more in foreign aid than any other country, but it is a mere pittance compared to the incomes we are taking in. No, I get this, and I understand that all of you aren't rich. I just lost my job, so I'm not either. But, most people on the face of planet Earth are lucky to get many monthly of the treats we experience daily (chocolate, for example). Most of the population on the planet still lives in crudely constructed huts without running water.

I think we have been so convinced that protecting ourselves is number one that we've forgotten the words of Jesus as they apply to foreign policy. We'd probably have a lot fewer people wanting to kill us if we showed more generosity to them. I'm not suggesting that we dismantle the armed forces, but I am suggesting that we should be building bridges of understanding and upping our generosity, as opposed to building an ineffectual and cruel-looking wall.


R said...

Great idea. Really, that is great. That would make sense. But, Americans are afraid to have anyone in their homes. People can't even talk to their neighbors.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I love the idea...and shoot, $400 for rent?! I would move to Mexico and move back in for that program. ;) Like "R" said, people would be really hesitant but I do think that it would have a chance to catch on once people got used to the idea.

Hm, and you gave me an idea for a blog regarding your comment about Bush...don't know if I want to write it though. I don't think that it's any secret that I dislike him...but you kind of made me think about WHY I dislike him. And to my horror I realized that, well, he's not a bad guy...but I still greatly dislike him as a President.

Stay tuned to my blog to see if I can form this into a well thought out blog.

Chelf said...

To take in an immigrant for a year, I would be willing. But the person has to be a LEGAL immigrant. I will NOT take a person who goes back and forth between my country and his, and brings drugs and takes away money. If I took an illegal, it would be like having a break-in at my home, and then allowing the thief to live with me, rent free, and feed them, clothe them, and pay them a wage for not working.

If they want to come to this country permanently, and make it their only home, learn the language, and be useful to the conglomerate, then they are perfectly welcome. I will not allow my home to be made into Mexico or Russia or wherever they came from. If those places were so great, stay in them!

Loving your neighbor as yourself is a VERY personal assignment, but I believe as you seem to that it can apply to a larger scale. But that is more of a love of body. Food, shelter, and safety. Dealing so well with borders that have abused us is not loving our neighbor, it is being overtaken by evil.

KingJaymz said...

Chelf, you pretty much completely missed the point. I was talking about a legal immigration solution, not illegal.

And, no, dealing well with our border with Mexico isn't being overtaken by evil. It is loving our enemy and caring for the alien, which we are commanded to do.

Niki said...

One blog to rule them all...lol! That's freakin' hilarious!!!

Good thoughts here...I have to think on this one for a bit.

uberstrickenfrau said...

Me and hubby had a little talk talk about your suggestion, we both like it and in a ideal world it would fly, but, thats not were we live, is it? But I would do it, 10,000 plus rent? HECK YEAH! I'll take two. It seems thats what the exchange student program was suppose to do, only for free. Since your looking for a job, why don't you run for office? I'd vote for you!