City Slickers comes to mind. 

I’m talking about those movies where the hero goes off to a ranch somewhere, or has to live among “the natives,” or whatever, but then comes back a changed person, with deeper knowledge of him (or her or they or whatever) self, more empathy for their fellow-man/woman/person and a newfound respect for blah, blah, blah. 

City Slickers

We’ve all seen those. 

About every ten years, or so, somebody makes one of those movies where the white teacher goes to the inner city to teach at the really bad school, and…oh, you know what happens. Do I even need to keep going?

The foundation of the premise is always from a place of privilege. And we see the world through the eyes of the person who needs to be changed. 

But I’m always more interested in the people who were there first. In City Slickers, Curly was the guy who was doing the teaching. He was the North Star everyone else was following to find themselves. And the movie was written for us to ride along with the pasty-faced suburbanites with soft hands. 

I just kept thinking to myself, “This movie would be a lot cooler if we could see how Curly became Curly.” 

The truth of the matter is that Curly became Curly by actually doing things. He probably didn’t have a guide showing him how to navigate a trail. He probably got lost and had to survive in the wild for a few days (or weeks), figuring out the landmarks and creek beds and what you could eat and what would make you sick and where the water was and where is wasn’t. 

And yet, the hero journey wasn’t his story. It was the story of a bunch of beta males who needed a guy like that to show them how to survive without lattes and room service. 

I can’t tell you how many people have told my wife and me, “Being around your daughter has changed me in so many ways.” And then we never see them again.

*My daughter has a rare genetic disorder (Angelman Syndrome) that has left her non-verbal and in need of care-giving, 24-hours-a-day. But she’s also full of love and acceptance.* 

I always want to tell them that she’s here at the house every day. How much would you like your life to change? You’re welcome to come over and take her to the park or the mall. She’d love to just go for a ride into downtown and listen to the radio with you. Heck, you could just take her through a car wash and she’d be thrilled. 

We have all the life-changing you want over here. 

But that’s not what they want. They don’t want the reality of her. They want the romance of her. And really, not even her. Just someone like her. Feeling like someone with special needs has “changed your life” is a great thing to say at parties and in groups where you want to appear to be someone of depth, substance and empathy. 

But my daughter doesn’t need that from you. She’s actually a real person, with real needs, real desires, real likes and dislikes. She’s not some prop for your personal growth journey. And we’ve grown weary of people’s sympathy, pity and well-wishes. 

My wife and I are the Curlies in this life. Everyone else is just a City Slicker. Anyway …

This past week, Governor Ron Desantis famously sent 50 people from South America, seeking asylum, to Martha’s Vineyard. This has been talked about and argued over from about every angle. Some claim that Desantis kidnapped them or lied to them in some way. Some claim it was a beautiful stunt that fully exposed the hypocrisy of the left. 

But there are really only TWO questions that mean anything in this debate: 

1. Why can’t a governor send people seeking asylum to Martha’s Vineyard? 

2. Why couldn’t they stay? 

Everything you need to know, about everybody on both sides of this debate, can be summed up in the answers to both of those questions. And if your answer to the first question is something like, “we have rules and protocols and there are laws that govern these things, etc, etc” then, congratulations! You are quoting chapter and verse what people in Texas border towns (and the rest of the red state country) have been screaming about for decades. 

In fact, if tat’s your answer, you’re damn near close to being a MAGA Republican. Order your red hat. Because that’s all anyone has been saying about the southern border, forever. That was the whole point of a wall. And it never had anything to do with skin tone. 

But the answer to the SECOND question is the where we get to the heart of the matter. See, every one of those migrants actually COULD HAVE stayed on the island. Legally. Let me explain …

My parents took in a family from South America, 30 years ago, as their sponsors. You can do that. Did you know that? It costs you $500 a month (to the government) and you have to become legally responsible for them. But you can do it…if you really want to to. 

In my own parents’ case, the family they sponsored lived with them for a few months. But then, one day, out of the blue, my parents woke up and the family was gone. They simply vanished into the dead of night without a trace. And even though this was through a church organization, and the family was a family of Christians, my mother and father knew that they simply slipped into the interior of the country…illegally. 

But my parents tried. They actually ponied up and tried. 

My daughter – the one everybody loves to use to change their life – is also an immigrant. We filled out the paper work. We turned over documents and bank account numbers and gave our fingerprints to the FBI to get her here. I live with immigration. 

And it shouldn’t be a virtue signal. And it isn’t about race. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. If you think immigration is about race, you might want to check your own feelings about race and your own bias. Immigration – to every nation on earth – is about protocol.  

But, hey, if you want to make it about your faith or the book of Leviticus or whatever, you absolutely can. You can start with YOUR house and YOUR money. It’s not that hard.  

What the people of Martha’s Vineyard did, for all time, is to show the rest of us that they really ARE as insular and fragile as everyone thought they were. Where they could’ve called Desantis’ bluff and taken the people into their own homes, showing the world that limousine liberals really aren’t the colossal pricks we think they are, they did just the opposite and actually made it worse by having a celebratory gathering at the bus carrying “those people” to a military base to be processed. 

Then, they had the unmitigated gaul to say that the immigrants “changed them” in profound ways. Well, guess what, one-per center? You could’ve been changed all the way, by applying to be the legal sponsor of ANY of those immigrants. They could’ve lived in YOUR house. They could’ve been a part of YOUR world. 

This is always an option for anyone who feels that U.S Immigration policy is inhumane, or is appalled by border walls or weeps for the children in cages. You have the option to be a sponsor. 

Yes. YOU. 

But when it comes to the realty of a thing, we usually like being the city slickers. 

Nobody wants to be Curly.   




Venmo | Regie Hamm Venmo is a digital wallet that lets you make and share payments with friends. You can easily split the bill, cab fare, or much more. Download the iOS or Android app or sign up on today.

4 thoughts on “MONEY, MEET MOUTH …

  1. “Immigration is about protocol”. What is the protocol and how is it established? Who is setting the rules and why? I am Watching Ken Burns 3 night special going on now on PBS about the US and the Holocaust. Our immigration policy had a lot of bias baked into the system to keep “certain people” out. There were some good reasons (taking jobs from US people during a depression) but there were definitely some racist ones. We had a law for decade banning Chinese immigration. I recall the efforts to ban Muslim immigration (or drastically limit it) during the last administration. I also recall Trump stating “can’t we get more immigrants from Norway?”, or words to that effect. Protocol is established by people, warts and all. And some of those warts have baked in bias.

    Paul Anderson Cell: 615-351-2500



  2. Nice post. Agree 100%.

    I would add the question, “Wait, I thought you invited them?” The silliness of declaring a sanctuary city without the associated consequences. That got shoved down their throats.

    I am the parent of an autistic kid. Even among experts, I see judgment and opinion. When you confront them with reality, they always back down. They don’t live reality. They live what they think reality should be and preach to us lessers. It’s not. Even the experts. It needs to be lived.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s