C'est la Vie

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

So says the inscription at the Statue of Liberty. Our great country is a product of the immigrants who founded it and hopefully those who come today and tomorrow will carry on its great tradition.

I think that this Theodore Roosevelt quote, one that I remember but had not seen in some time and now sent to me by a viewer, is worth reading as an immigration battle rages in this country.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt

There must be a way for us to be pro-immigrant — remembering that we and our ancestors were all immigrants seeking a better life — while at the same time enforcing our laws.

President Bush's plan — to allow those illegal immigrants who are here to continue to do the jobs that American's won't do (because of our historically low unemployment rate) and to keep on working on a temporary basis — may be the way to go.

Those who are here must be documented. Let's give everyone 30 days to register so that law enforcement knows who and where they are. Anyone who doesn't will be kicked out. A fence to keep new illegals from entering seems a feasible and logical, if imperfect, idea.

Most of all, what disturbs many in this country are the images of waving foreign flags and placards written in Spanish. Think back to Roosevelt's words: If you want to come to America, you have to embrace it. Speak the language, become a citizen, abide by the laws and pay taxes and then America will protect your rights wholeheartedly.

Crack down with compassion and good business sense.

Paris is burning... again.

On Tuesday, we watched the protests in the streets of Paris. I was reminded of Donald Rumsfeld's reference to "Old Europe" not being needed in the war in Iraq. He took a lot of heat for it — but in a sense, we are watching some on the streets fight to preserve "Old Europe" today. There are some great things about really "Old Europe": the architecture, the food, the style and a slower way of life and savoring beauty. But there are some bad things about not-so-"Old Europe" that have led to a struggling economy that has left them no longer the envy of the world — and it makes them crazy.

So as Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin tries to move the country forward by suggesting that employment is a free market, some of the people are rebelling. The idea that hard and well done work gives you job security and that you are not "entitled" to employment isn't going down so well with some of the French.

Pete Kemp writes to me from Tampa:

Hi Martha,
I find it interesting that young people are rioting in France over early termination, when here in the United States, teachers in the United States, depending on the state, have to perform four years WITHOUT any security. They may be fired without cause for any reason, without any recourse. People complain about tenure, but without it, in many cases teachers would continued to be abused by the politics of education. Tenure, in reality, is a fair dismissal law, not a system to allow poor teachers to continue in a career path.
Pete Kemp

A job is a privilege, not a right. C'est la vie. Change may be coming to the great country of France, but I hope it won't be in the fromage and the vin.

Au revoir,

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