Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
November 21, 2014
Mr. President: As you introduce your new rule to stop the deportation of illegal
immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens (usually through birth here), one thought
springs to mind. What if the next President rescinds the rule. Would they then be
sitting ducks for immigration authorities, having emerged from the shadows to register
and giving names and addresses?
You yourself said we are a nation of laws, and it is doubtful the founding fathers had
in mind rule by executive fiat. On the other hand, Speaker John Boehner has sat on
an immigration bill for over 500 days without bringing it to a vote in the House. No
doubt because it is likely to pass with bipartisan majority.
It used to be that most post-war migrants came under third preference and were well
educated. However, the massive illegal migration from the south has brought poorly
educated low-skilled labor that has carved a niche in service and construction. It has
also served as catalyst for transformative structural change in society -- at least
metropolitan. With both parents working, childcare services are essential and often
provided by Latinos or East Europeans. Ditto for housecleaning and lawn care.
There was a time when neighbors mowing their yards on a weekend would stop for a
few words. That connectedness is less. And a neighborhood kid looking to make a
few dollars would mow a yard for someone unable to. Other outlets for introduction to
work were fast food places or grocery stores or car washes, etc. Things are different
now. A car wash in my neighborhood offers a new twist: they hand wash your car
instead of using those automatic brushes prone to leaving scratch marks. There is
not a single teenager on their staff -- all professional, all Latino.
It is not that teens are not busy. They are ... being run around to sports lessons,
music lessons, tutoring, and when they have time, they are into video games, social
networks, chats, texting and so on.
It is a different world, and it is a world becoming bifurcated by class. The houses are
larger, supported by the ambitions of two-income families; the children fewer, and
receive less parental attention -- hence the concept of 'quality' time to soothe guilty
Whether this new world is better or not, time will tell. There is a shooting every week
or so at schools, colleges or public places -- always ascribed to a loner or someone
with a problem. One wonders what they did with their problems just a couple of
While Adam Lanza's family is not held responsible (and rightly too), the East
Jerusalem families of the two meat-cleaver wielding Palestinians who attacked and
killed in a synagogue have paid dearly. Their houses were bulldozed ... in
contravention of international law proscribing collective punishment.