“Welcome to Nashville, now ya’ll go home,” is a famous bumper sticker in my hometown.
The influx of people to Nashville, Tennessee is currently mind boggling. For those of us who are natives, or at least have lived here for several decades, our little well-kept secret is out and we are watching and experiencing the consequences of maintaining a nice, kind, clean living environment.
“Voting with your feet” is something Ronald Reagan used to talk about. It’s one of the tenants of Federalism and the tenth amendment. All of that is pointy-headed talk for …if you don’t like how things are being done in your city or state, you can move somewhere where they do it differently. This is why big, sweeping federal programs, that affect every state the exact same way, should always be tempered and thought a lot about before they are enacted.
Healthcare is a prime example of such a thing. There are states that have tried universal, government-run healthcare in their state. And those who want that, can move to that state. As it turns out …it doesn’t usually work that well …but I digress.
Migration and immigration is one of the primal forces of human nature. We move to the food. We move to the weather. We move to the money. We move to the opportunity. It’s as natural as breathing. And there’s nothing wrong with it. People have been doing it for millions of years …or thousands, if you’re a young-earth creationist.
In life you really only have two choices: stay and fundamentally change your home, or move to a different home. We all do this in the micro and the macro. We talk a bout fixing up our current place …or buying a new one. Should we renovate or build? Should we stay in Phoenix or move to Albuquerque …or Nashville?
For some parts of the world, those questions are deeper and have more repercussions? Should we stay in Honduras or march north? Should we fight the existing power in our home country …or fight the power in another one?
There is no magic dirt in the world. People move because human conditions demand it. People pour into Tennessee because we have no state income tax and the cost of living is still manageable …although Nashville is pricing itself out of “manageable.” People come to America because they haven’t had a sufficient revolution in their own country …so they want to come to the one that did.
But very often, these days, people forget what the concept of “moving to different dirt” is. If you move to different dirt, you are moving to become part of the community established on that dirt. Not to bring the very dysfunction you’re running from …to that dirt. If I moved to California, I wouldn’t try to change California. I would move there to become a Californian …that’s why I don’t live in California. I go there to visit and then …I come home to Nashville.
We’re watching a caravan migrate from South America toward the United States. They call themselves “asylum seekers.” Okay …if they say so. But I keep noticing weird things for asylum seekers. I keep seeing them proudly wave the flags of their oppressive countries. That seems strange to me. If they want to become Americans, I would think they would find some old glories to wave. I would think they wouldn’t want any reminders of the dirt they were fleeing.
At some point, after they turn down asylum in the Mexican dirt, they’re going to stand on the precipice of our dirt. And they will come face-to-face with the green and cammo of our military. And a new controversy will rage on the airwaves. The lines of reasoning are already being written on each side. The narratives are already in place: if you don’t want them to come in, you hate “brown people.” If you want them to come in, you want open borders, etc, etc.
All of this is being played out as our president raises the question of birthright citizenship. And I, for one, think this is a conversation we’ve been needing to have for decades.
There are some fundamental questions we should all ask:
how many people should we allow onto our dirt?
What if every person in south America wanted to come here for assylum? Should we allow it? Could we allow it?
What about every person in India? How about China?
Are there any repercussions from trying to assimilate large groups of people into different cultures all at once?
What if a couple from Germany came to visit the United States and see the Grand Canyon. The wife is eight and half months pregnant. And while viewing the world wonder, her water breaks and she goes into labor. She is helicoptered to a local hospital, where she gives birth to a nine pound baby boy. Should that boy be an American citizen automatically? Or is he a German citizen, who just happens to have been born in Arizona?
And finally, when considering immigration policies, I think when the caravan finally arrives, we should force all those in the front of the line …to the back of the line …and bring all those at the back of the line …to the front and give them preferential treatment. If those who were in the front make a fuss, we can simply tell them that they are o good company …along with one million other people standing in line to become LEGAL citizens of the United States.
Our dirt is not magic dirt. We just found a better way to organize ourselves and produce goods and services. We are not racists just because we ask for people to respect the process of entering our dirt. And I, for one, have pretty much had enough of being called that. I live with a brown person. I’m not scared of them and I don’t hate them.
I feel about them the way I feel about all those non-Tennessee license plates I see driving all over my once-sleepy little town …did you think this through before you came? Don’t mess with our coolness. It took us a long time to get it this way. Be cool or go home. And finally, if you’re gonna be here. BE here. Don’t come and complain all day. Add the good your brought from wherever you came from. Discard the bad you left there.
And don’t drive slow in the passing lane!
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