I’m going to talk today about a subject that I will return to again and again, a phenomenon I like to call “The American Contradiction.”  What is this phenomenon, you may ask?  Well, it is basically the situation we find ourselves in today (and indeed, have found ourselves in for quite some time.)  Our national mythology insists that we are provide equal opportunity to all people, that we welcome people of all creeds, faiths, races, etc. with open arms.  That, I argue, is the mythology.  The reality, however, is that all too many Americans don’t welcome foreigners, especially those that are of a different colour or race than they are.  Indeed, they look on them as  pestilence.

The recent and numerous issues with the Mexican border and “illegal aliens” (the favourite term,) is merely the latest manifestation of this phenomenon.  The same thing occurred with the Irish and Italians earlier in the part of the last century, and has happened in many periods throughout American history.  Those who are deemed “foreign” or “unAmerican” (whatever that means,) are seen as threats to our economy, our livelihood and, in the much-flouted post-9/11 term, our “national security.”

This contradiction has, as I said, existed for quite some time, and it’s likely to continue for at least a little longer.  However, as the world becomes increasingly globalized and the borders between countries become more flexible and permeable, the pressure to resolve this essential contradiction that sits at the heart of American culture will only increase.  Much as the Tea Partiers and others would like to see this return to a “white” America, that simply isn’t going to happen anymore, and we’re just going to have accept the fact that immigration is part of our past and our future.  Perhaps we should put our money where our mouth is and open up those arms.  We might be surprised how much good can come out of it.

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