Democracy Works! - My Annual 4th of July Holiday Opinion
By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
THE AUTO CHANNEL
Long before the ink was dry on the United States Declaration of Independence, people had been coming to the new-world seeking political and religious asylum and personal prosperity. Since July 4, 1776, they've come in the millions and were instrumental in helping to build a fantastic country, the best mankind has ever known.
The fundamental reason for immigrating to America was, of course, the lack of similar opportunities in the home countries. Although all early immigrants didn’t achieve everything they hoped for, they did live far better and richer lives than would have been possible if they remained in their place of origin.
Viewed from a modern perspective it might be said that the decision to set out for America was a no-brainer. However, the decision was a most perilous one, not just because of the inherent dangers in making such a long journey, but because there was no guarantee that America would remain a land of opportunity. Any number of events and circumstances could have scuttled the brave, new democratic experiment. Immigrants might easily have just found themselves exchanging the shackles of old-world monarchies and dictatorships for a new-world autocracy or military tyranny. Indeed, it could be argued that right up until the recent collapse of the Soviet Union, it was uncertain if the United States could remain a free and democratic republic.
Ignorance of American history and its juxtaposition to world events is so pervasive that most people will probably find the above statement hard to accept. The common belief is that once the British surrendered at Yorktown that America’s sovereignty and future was secured. However nothing was further from the truth. In each generation following America's precarious war for independence, situations arose which could easily have swept away the United States and democracy forever. What's more, people tend to think of contemporary times as being worse than, or at best, only equal to bygone eras. Sure, they’ll know that there have been technological and medical improvements, and they’ll have some fleeting knowledge of the Depression Era, but they will also tend to think of past times as the good old days; the safe, sane, carefree good old days.
In reality, there is no such thing as the good old days. For example, American cities were more dangerous a hundred years ago then they are today. Gangs roamed at will and terrorized their neighborhoods. The air and water in urban regions was more polluted, deadly diseases were rampant, and streets were covered in horse sh…er, manure. Almost all politicians and the police were corrupt, organized crime was getting organized, working conditions were atrocious, the world was continually at the brink of war, and Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm had plans to invade the U.S.
The best times, the safest times, the sanest times, for America and the world, are right now. Depending upon how cynical you are you might need a moment or two to catch your breath, but this is the good old days, and it is a great time to be alive. It’s great because for the first time in world history, humans have proven that they are capable of ruling themselves, making decisions, guiding their own destinies and taking responsibility for their own actions. We may not always do these things correctly, or in the smartest and safest manner, but we are capable of doing so. We don’t need kings or dictators to tell us what to do or who we should love and hate. We don’t need repressive economic systems to force us into slavery for some fictitious common good and fellow comrades. And we don’t need religious doctrines to explain the mysteries of life to us. People may choose to believe in a particular religion and choose to follow its teachings, but at this point in our societal evolution, they should be doing so because of a conscious free-will decision as individuals.
Democracy works! Freedom works! Individual expression and achievement is a viable, valid way of life. After more than two and a quarter centuries the United States has finally proven this. Government by the people and for the people is no longer an experiment, it’s a fact! We have withstood the test of time; we have beaten back the forces of darkness and evil. Oh yes, there’s still some really bad guys out there, and there probably always will be, but goodness and the individual human spirit is champion. There’s no reason for a dictator to exist anywhere in the world. There’s no reason for an autocratic and corrupt government administration to forcibly control its citizens. And there’s no reason why the individual citizens in each and every country shouldn’t have the right to regularly decide on how their neighborhood, region, and nation is going to exist and conduct themselves. People have the power, and it is now indisputable that they can rescue themselves from illicit rule, when they want to. No longer should oppressed people need to find safety in other lands. For the benefit of future generations, and to honor their ancestors, they must rise up and create within their own borders what we have achieved here in America. And if they can surpass us in some or all categories, God bless them.
We have shown the world what is possible; now the peoples of the world must demonstrate what they are capable of. The United States no longer needs new people to populate its land. Non-citizens should return to their home countries. Immigration into the United States should be terminated immediately. Children born in the United States by “accident” to non-American citizens should not be given automatic citizenship, and any children so conferred with citizenship over the last few years should have it revoked.
As beautiful as America is, it is not the only beautiful land on Earth. As magnificent as our cities might be, there are other magnificent cities around the globe, and many more can be built. Arid land can be made fertile, swamps can be drained, and hot houses can be used to grow tons of produce in the coldest regions. America’s culture and heritage may be great, but so are the cultures and heritages of other countries and peoples. Citizens of those countries should remain where they are and fix their own societies, so they can retain their way of life without being “distorted” by our society. There are plenty of terrific universities in other countries. Many U.S. citizens who have studied abroad have proven this. Let those institutions of higher learning have the opportunity to host the students who would otherwise be coming to America. Our schools and universities are over-burdened by foreign students, our medical and legal systems are in turmoil and our financial assistance programs are in chaos because of so-called legal and illegal aliens. We don’t need them and we certainly can’t afford them any longer.
Commerce between nations should, by all means, continue. International tourism should be encouraged and welcome. Sampling foods and customs is terrific and fun and informative. The free flow and exchange of ideas must be kept alive; however none of this requires any additional immigration or the granting of permanent work status. If a foreign national company wishes to open an office or manufacturing and distribution plant in the U.S., great, but all employees including management must be American citizens: our people can handle any job. If a particular part of the U.S. economy gets diminished because of the reduction in menial laborers or lower-level blue collar employees, that’s fine. We shouldn’t be engaged in certain low-end industries any longer. America’s future is in technological and intellectual pursuits, not growing cotton. We’re the world’s best thinkers and creators. We really don’t need more convenience stores. Just because there’s an empty lot on a corner it doesn’t mean that a new 7-11 or Circle K should be built. Empty land is good; it gives people a place to walk their dogs.
A large portion of our agricultural efforts could easily be moved to places like Baja California, which would then provide jobs to Mexicans in Mexico. The land on the Baja peninsula is so plentiful and accessible to water that they could grow enough food to feed the entire Western Hemisphere, if not the world. Between Mexico's oil resources, climate and available land, Mexicans should be among the wealthiest people in the world. As their friendly neighbors to the North, we should make sure that they reach their full potential (and then they can afford to buy all of our products and technologies). With the amount of land and oil and access to water that Arab nations have, every Arab should be living like a fat Sheik. If the Israelis can turn their desert into an oasis why can’t the Arabs. Yeah, so they may have to actually talk civilly to the Israelis to find out how they did it, but maybe that’s the price they’ll have to pay to not have under-nourished children. There are plenty of highly intelligent people that have come to America in recent years seeking opportunity. All that’s happened is that their home countries have been stripped of much needed human resources. Those countries and their religions need them more than we do. Let’s help them to help themselves by reuniting them with their brothers and sisters.
The door to America for musicians, artists and entertainers from other countries should always be open. To those people I say, “Come, tour the U.S., bring us your best, thrill us with your performances, make as much money as you can and spend as much money as you want while here. And when the tour is completed you’ll have plenty of screaming, adoring fans at your point of embarkation to wish you farewell. When you return you’ll get the same great treatment, and we’ll look forward to your next engagement after that. But in between engagements, please go home so that you can thrill and inspire your own fellow countrymen. Help your country to be as great as or greater than this one.”
If citizens of a particular country are in imminent mortal danger and they absolutely, positively must find refuge elsewhere, they should be directed to under populated countries like Australia or Canada or Russia or find somewhere to go in Africa. Those nations could benefit from the increase in population, we can’t.
Is this just the ranting of a xenophobe? Do I fear foreigners? Do I dislike cultural diversity? No, not at all, as a frequent traveler I love visiting other countries, exploring their cities and countryside, eating their foods, and enjoying their entertainment. I look forward with great anticipation to my next trip abroad more than I do to Disney World (and I love Disney World). It’s from these experiences that I know firsthand of the beauty and potential that can be found in other countries and that should be exploited to its fullest. Even in the U.S. I love to partake in culturally diverse events. I love eating foods of other countries and watching their movies. I enjoy meeting and conversing with tourists, as well as working and socializing with U.S. citizens of foreign ancestry (I'm one, myself). But I’m an American and a realist, first. The policies that I’m suggesting are no different than many of the work and residency requirements of other democracies. As a U.S. citizen I can’t just move to England or Australia or France or Mexico or the Bahamas and buy a house, get a job, and assume the rights of local citizenship. There’s no reason that we should continue to extend such rights to those who chose to abandon the responsibility of making their homeland prosperous. It’s time for them to fix their own countries, regardless of the cost. And more importantly, it’s time to protect our country, our culture, our language, our unique heritage, and to provide for the continuation of what our forefathers created.
Originally published July 4, 2002