Monday, July 10, 2006

Global / Isolation

All the furor over immigration (not just in the U.S. but elsewhere as well) captivated my thoughts this morning as I dropped my wife off at work and continued on to my own job. The spark I suppose came from a piece on NPR about how other countries, France and Germany are struggling with what to make of their own immigration laws. It peeked my attention that we (Americans) were not the only ones struggling along with this issue.

First of all, I suppose I sometimes forget that there are actually other places than the United States that other people would find desirable to move to. A sort of cavalier sounding view now doubt. I really don't think on my part it is really anything more than lazy thinking. Of course there are people in other parts of the world wanting out of the country they were born into and finding sanctuary in a near by country is a dream than many would like to transform into reality. For those people, the U.S. may be simply too far away to reasonably look to, or cultural or family ties may make us seem less desirable than some other location.

Why is it that we, who were once so proud of our heritage as the "melting-pot" for so rich a diversity of immigrants not find ourselves fearful of what immigration means to the future of this country?

Some in this country look at this a simply a national security matter. Many speak of security as a basis for immigration reform, but it seems to me that for the vast majority, that is only a reason of convenience. It seems less selfish to say we are simply protecting our boarders than to say that we are fearful of losing jobs, or what our society will become through the assimilation of other cultures into our own. Yet, it seems to me that an assimilation is just exactly what we are!

What appears even more fascinating to me is how fast we are becoming a global community and at the same time how quickly we seem to want and to seek isolation. Confusing you? I'll confess it confuses me.

I have a hunch that most of the people who are drawn to this blog by the nature of the poetry connection are less likely than the majority of Americans to be concerned by immigration. We are probably the people for whom "closing the boarders" is not likely the political buzz word that will get our attention in November. My hunch is that people who are into poetry are generally more open to cultural differences and do not fear the threat of assimilation.
(And you wondered how I was going to tie poetry to all this....)

Honestly, like so many of the arts, poetry goes a long way towards breaking down such barriers. It is, I believe, the openness to such artistic expression that programs us for a broad mindedness that simply will not allow room for much of the "fear" associated with other people. Is poetry then the answer to multi-national understanding? Maybe not, but it sure wouldn't hurt.



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