(All for one and one for all)
By Josh Zeppes
I’m blessed. I had the incredible fortune to be born in the U.S. and have traveled to various parts of the world. Yet I still cannot appreciate my luck. I know I should, I practice gratitude everyday, but I’ll never truly understand living outside of a first-world country. That I won the human lottery gives me no right to relax though. In fact, should it not give me the privilege, if not the responsibility, to earn my keep? I’ve gotten the prize but I’ve paid no price for it yet. What price should I pay and when is it time for me to ante up?
“That’s right, if we’re going to keep this country the great place that it is, how can we have one standard for entry and another for staying?”
As an insider of the financial industry here in the U.S., I see a system so broken that on one hand, we have a $70T financial industry and on the other hand, half of our country is 100% broke and 90% of the other half are mostly broke. This is of course broke in relative terms. Nonetheless, there is a facade that the financial industry is working for most people (but it isn’t) and a general delusion that it will all just work out (but it won’t). The combination of the facade - what people say on the surface - and the delusion - what people really believe to be true whether or not it is, will destroy most people’s lives as they know it.
In a similar vein, let me tell you the truth about the United States from an insider. We are racist and spoiled. This is not a judgement and I do love my country for many reasons - including all those reasons why people risk their lives to get here. Rather it’s an observation. I can write a college course sharing the ways in which we don’t appreciate what we have and our racist history and continued inclinations, but for this short article I wish to apply such efforts to immigration.
The facade is that we must have tight immigration policy to ensure that we don’t allow in criminals/bad people and that we don’t get any freeloaders who will use our resources without contributing to the prosperity of the country. The delusion is that we’re not racists. While there are varying degrees of judging people based on skin color and nationality, most people who were brought up comfortably in this country have been give the luxury to judge others in such a way. Most don’t know they do it and almost all deny it. At least that’s how it has been for the past 50 years until recent events have begun exposing and exploiting it from the top down.
For anyone willing to open their eyes in the slightest, facades are easy to see through. With intelligence, competence, and critical thinking becoming more rare, we can spend a lot of time butting heads between belief systems and narrow-minded conditioning. Instead of challenging, fighting, or even ridiculing those who decide to mentally smoke the toxins of racism under the guise of national security - none of which will work- allow me to submit a national policy with respect to securing our borders that everyone says they want.
Let’s even assume for the moment that we’re not racist and that the ‘facade’ of bad people and resource-suckers is the real reason we wish to tighten our borders and won’t allow people in. A policy that solves our facade must do the following:
It must prevent criminals from entering the country
It must prevent freeloaders and drains on our society from entering the country
It must protect American jobs in a way that only those qualified can be hired for a position.
Imagine an immigration policy that does background checks, can estimate a person’s value and skill set that they bring, and a system in which they may only get jobs for which they qualify. I’m sure this is something that all sides of the aisle can agree on. Before you propose the bill Mr. Senator, my only caveat is that this standard must be applied across the board to all people, including citizens. The door must go both ways. That’s right, if we’re going to keep this country the great place that it is, how can we have one standard for entry and another for staying? Let’s rate each person within our borders in these three categories, rank them accordingly, and the ones that don’t make the cut must leave the country or can be denied access. After all, wasn’t our country founded on the principle of equal opportunity? I feel it is right that we at least give our citizens the same opportunity to prove their worth and earn their right to maintain their citizenship.
Background checks are becoming more and more routine for many things in the world. I’ll leave how we do it and where to set the bar to the experts. I would request that we have the right to appeal any findings and make a case against false or misleading charges.
Determining skill set is a bit more ambiguous but not impossible. I’m not referring to college degrees or certifications, though they may be taken into account. I mean real, experience-driven, demonstrable competence in a skill. Even a strong work ethic with the desire to learn is a skill that could translate to significant value in society. Finally, protecting jobs from the unskilled is built into a capitalist society. It is much too unprofitable to have the wrong people in the wrong positions, therefore we need take no action here as the long-term capitalistic market cannot prevent anyone from getting paid what they’re worth.
So you’re probably already thinking that this will never fly. You’d be correct. We’re too spoiled to give up our good luck and too racist to give anyone else, especially those more qualified than us, a chance. We’ll continue to talk about the facade on social media and at dinner parties and we’ll continue to ignore our penchant for pretending people unlike us can actually have value. Alas, my solution may not perfect and possibly too unpolitically correct, but I’d be the first in line to take the test. Others perhaps not so much. By the way, how fast do you think we’d open up our borders with compassion when the citizens who lucked out to live here and who take more than they give realize that their luck has run out?
The good news is that long-term, this solution may end up forcing itself into fruition. The fighting, anger, narcissism, and racist trends we are seeing amplified are not sustainable. They are counter to every tenet of nature and success within our natural world. And in a battle between us and nature, we lose every time. So it will be in the end with our great country and those countries that still strive towards our ideals, if not who we really are. Nature and goodness will win. Perhaps we can save ourselves the embarrassment, guilt, and frustration of taking the slow road and put the plan in place that actually can make “America” great again.