Que Sera, Dammit! 

The transmigration of roles

Gad, sometimes I wish I could be as cocksure about things as conservatives. There must be a lot of serenity in being so simple.

Like this immigration deal ... issue ... dilemma ... mess ... FUBAR ... whatever you want to call it. I have been struggling with it. Struggling, I tell you. Since everyone else seems to have their undies in a bunch over illegal immigration, I just assumed I should, too. But, fellow Americans, when it comes to solutions, I got nada.

Trouble is, every time I think I've settled on a remedy to even the most partial aspect of the complex mess, I find myself on the side of someone I absolutely don't want to be on the same side with. Know what I mean? For instance, if I take the position that concessions must be made to poor, desperate people as long as America's great affluence can offer them the means to feed their families, I have also crawled under the covers with the corporate parasites who exploit those poor, desperate peoples unmercifully, and inevitably at the expense of American wage-earners.

Then again, if I defend American working men and women by insisting we lock the border up tighter than George Bush's Air Guard records--thereby drying up the labor pool some so that wages might begin to keep up with corporate gouging--I find myself in bed with the likes of Minutemen vigilantes, Robert Vasquez, Lou Dobbs and an entire array of xenophobes who equate brown skin with disease, crime and cultural decline.

If I insist that some sort of compromise be arranged for those millions of illegals already here so that they might earn the citizenship they have already assumed onto themselves--a blanket amnesty or guest worker program or whatever--I am between the sheets with George Bush and Ted Kennedy. Yugh! Now there's a ménage á trois fantasy I never hope to have.

I can't claim that America needs these people because they do the work no pampered Yank will do--not without hooking myself up with Bouncin' John McCain--and were I to demand that every last illegal be rounded up and shipped back across the Rio Grande, I would be numbered among those demented ogres who act like dignity should be granted only to bona fide Americans.

But of course, the struggle isn't simply a matter of who I don't want to be philosophically associated with. There is a whole range of moral quandaries involved in this issue, not to mention the economic quandaries, environmental quandaries, security quandaries, civil rights quandaries. Hell, I'll bet there are quandaries nobody's even thought of yet. And no matter which way we turn, they will echo down through the generations like a civil war. After all, these aren't fruits and vegetables we're talking about. They are families. Sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. And families don't end at the border.

Furthermore, when taking the long view of North American history, this is a civil war of a sort. The U.S. and Mexico have had such a symbiotic relationship for so long, they might as well be teenage sisters, arguing over who gets to wear the good jeans tonight. Both their culture and ours (and I include Canada in ours, since a visitor from Mars--or even Liechtenstein--couldn't spot any significant differences) have developed like two pups from the same litter. We may have different dads, but we share a mom.

So, Gringos, it isn't going to get any easier, no matter what we do. Every step we take will likely be the wrong one, if not for me or you, then for a slew of other North Americas. And even if we find relief from the current FUBAR, it's just a matter of time until something worse crops up. So enjoy it while it lasts.

But hold on. This doesn't mean I have abandoned hope. When taking the really long view, I am confident this crisis will eventually resolve itself, and I suspect the solution will have little to do with any of the particulars of we're bickering over at present.

Look at it this way: in five billion years, the sun is set to implode and become a red giant, expanding it's perimeters far beyond the orbit of Earth. The immigration debate that currently has us tied up in knots (along with all our cultural clashes, language differences, wage deflation, gang violence, debates over who pays for whose schooling and health care, La Raza, the Minutemen, Lou Dobbs, all the marijuana... Canadian and Mexican, the 700-mile fence, you, me, and everything else) will be vaporized like so much Red Bull sloshed into an erupting volcano.

Long before that happens, though, tectonic drift will have rejoined all the continents together into Pangea II, squishing us and Eurasia and Africa and Greenland all into a single land mass. National borders will end up looking like the little swirls of color you get when your kid mixes all the Play-Dough up into one big lump. And if humans are even around then--which ain't a forgone conclusion, trust me--we'll have forgotten all about illegal immigration. Unless it's about who gets to go to the Uranus colony before the Big Fry.

But long before that happens, Dutchmen will start to look like Malays and Mexicans will start to look like Swedes, and Namibians will start to look like Eskimos. And before you know it, nobody will have anyone to bitch about anymore--based on ethnic identity, at any rate. At some point in there, The United City States of the Western Hemisphere will have gone to war with the Eur-Africasian Confederation over the dwindling kelp supply, that's true. And somebody's gonna come out on the losing end of that one, believe you me. But it won't have a damn thing to do with who went where illegally or not.

And long before that happens, the once-great superpower, Amexicanada (Canmeximerica?), will fade to distant memory, and it's once-proud flag (the Stars and Maple Leaf with the snake-eating eagle in the center) will have given way to the International Flag of Lasting Sisterhood. Which, of course, won't last.

But long before that happens, a few visionary citizens of Ancient America will have realized how ultimately meaningless borders and national sovereignty and stuff like that are, and they will take the first steps to go beyond who got where first, focusing instead on the reality that we're all here now.

So, see? It'll work out. We have a few bumps to get over but as for me, I'm through struggling. I am now, officially, resigned. I no longer have an opinion on the immigration matter, and therefore have eliminated the risk of agreeing with anyone. Simple.

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