If you are already tired of the two candidates running for president you now know what your
third option can be. Jill Stein recently received the nod from the Green Party to challenge President Obama and Mr. Romney (in states where the Green Party is on the ballot). Here on informuscitizens.com we often discuss immigration issues as they relate to the Democratic and Republican parties. Giving a little attention to a third alternative may be helpful. According to the Green Party platform regarding immigration, “The Green Party stands
firmly for social justice for all those living in order viagra this country regardless of their immigration status. Above all, policy and law must be humane, anything less would be inconsistent with our Green Values, and with our nation’s values.” Furthermore, they declare, “The U.S. needs a complete overhaul of its immigration laws. Our current situation has created extreme social injustice. Millions of people are living and working in the U.S. with no legal status, making them subject to extreme exploitation and abuse. Immigration raids are terrorizing the immigrant community. Families are being broken up. Employer abuses of undocumented workers are rampant.”
If this sounds like something that interests you or that you may want to support check out their platform in full at: http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/social-justice.php#1002510 and scroll down to the immigration section. Here is the link to read their whole platform: http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/index.php
Often it seems we think of things in a binary fashion. For example: good-bad, white-black, illegal-l
egal. To some extent it is probably human nature to perceive the world around us in these terms in order to build a foundation that allows us to understand the events that surround us. At some point it is necessary for us to rise above a binary point of view and examine all the complications and combinations of life that fill in the scale between black and white. Many people want to view immigration is such stark values that dismisses the wonderful and edifying qualities other peoples and cultures have to offer.
Why have I been thinking about this? I have a co-worker whose father is from Jordan and his mother is from the U.S. My friend Amjad is a photographer and does wonderful work that highlights “tension.” Tensions that at first glance may seem opposites, but upon further reflection can illuminate links that bridge perceived differences. When we attempt to understand and obtain a wider view, then we can see the beauty in peoples, concepts, cultures, and perceptions where before we only saw diametrically opposed ideas.
Here is a description about his art:
Medieval depictions of historical events in Shi’a art and illuminations often depict the prophet Muhammad with a golden flame enveloping his head or show his face entirely shrouded by a veil; an attempt at reverence in both his depiction and non-depiction. This primary tension regarding how images operate and their power to narrate versus their potential to transform into something more seductive and dangerous is instrumental in my own approach to image making. The conceptual translations of these concerns to modern depictions of geopolitical and religious violence are not hard to make within the context of contemporary media as well as art and indeed manifest within my photographs.
As an artist simultaneously attempting to navigate photography’s contemporary role in art and populist models of thought as well as its relationship to art history, I find inescapable parallels between the photograph’s exacting abstraction of the world and our inclination to adore them as empirical objects. I am inclined to employ this representational tension as a means to explore both the volatile and mercurial problems of my ancestral background in the Middle East.
If you would like to view Amjad’s work here is the link:
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I was recently reading an incredibly interesting book, called False Mystics, about the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico that discusses what is known as “Double Mistaken Identity.” Double Mistaken Identity is most commonly used by Mexican ethno-historians in describing how, according to historian Nora Jaffary, “Catholic proselytizers and indigenous peoples misinterpret[ed] each others religious systems.” James Lockhart, in Nahuas after the Conquest, offers a definition of double mistaken identity in his discussion of how both Spaniards and Nahuas presumed a sense of shared commonalities between each other based on their religious beliefs. Lockhart explains that in these situations, “each side takes it that a given form or concept is essentially one already known to it, operating in much the same manner as in its own tradition, and hardly take cognizance of the other side’s interpretation.”
This made me think how we can apply double mistaken identity to our own lives today, and in the process of realizing its occurrence in our lives, make the world a little bit better. Misunderstandings, lack of tolerance, and a supposed supreme ethnocentric mentality creates the foundation for much of the hatred and feelings of ill will that both immigrants and citizens sometimes feel towards each other. Perhaps if we can overcome the inclination to presume somebody knows or understands something simply because it is so ingrained in us we take it for granted, perhaps a more complete and true understanding can occur between peoples with differing world views and systems of belief. I realize I am generally preaching to the choir here, but if perhaps we can educate at least one person regarding the nature of immigration in the United States we can hopefully lay a foundation for immigrants (undocumented and documented) and citizens to find a true commonality in our humanity in a fashion that allows for all peoples to partake of the wonderful benefits our great nation has to offer.
…Land that I love. / Stand beside her, and guide her / Thru the night with a light from above.
Even after almost a century “God Bless America” continues to stir strong patriotic emotions among scores of Americans. Unfortunately, many who sing this song have no idea concerning its history. Instead their understanding of the song is derived from joining current events with the song’s lyrics to inform their understanding of the song and its application into their lives. Their understanding of the song’s lyrics are molded by their understanding of their world around them. So, for example, perhaps many people listen to or sing this song and believe that the divine providential guidance, or the “light from above,” and the protection The United States needs is, among other things, protection from and inspiration about how to best protect “America” from undocumented aliens.
Does it not seem somewhat ironic that those who use a song such as “God Bless America” as a vehicle to outwardly manifest their beliefs in how God will bless America from “illegals” and the need to build a fence, or send them back, blah blah blah, insert same tired rhetoric? Why is it ironic? It is ironic because a Russian Jewish immigrant wrote “God Bless America.” Yes, that same song that is so reverently held in sacred esteem by so many as a mighty declaration that God favors America above others, that He will intervene in America’s behalf despite the consequences to His other children, that America is special, that America is better, the best! A quick history of “God Bless America” and its creator.
In 1893 Moses and Lena Lipkin Baline believed America offered the best opportunity to raise their five-year-old son, Israel Isidore Baline, and moved from Russia to New York. Skip a few years and eventually Isreal Isidore Baline (Irving Berlin) at the age of 20 took a job at a saloon where he worked with other songwriters. A year later he became a staff lyricist for the Ted Snyder Company. Irving came to prominence as a songwriter due to the popularity of his ragtime songs. In 1917 at the age of 30 Berlin was drafted into the Army. While in the Army he wrote a musical revue, “Yip Yip Yaphank,” a tribute to the United States Army. The musical eventually made its way to broad way but the most notably song written for the musical did not, “God Bless America.”
In 1938 Berlin was asked to write a song to commemorate Armistice Day. Berlin pulled out his “God Bless America” from 20 years earlier and made some changes. During Kate Smith’s radio show on Armistice Day, 1938, “God Bless America” made its debut. Irving is another example of how an immigrant has richly and positively influenced The United States for the better. As demonstrated by Berlin, and as a professor once told me, immigrants don’t dilute America they help define it. How true that is, just think how influential “God Bless America” has been in defining America? Berlin also demonstrates how immigration doesn’t make America less American, it just makes it more interesting, and (as my professor Dr. Williams reminded me) the food gets better!
Apparently the Zetas Cartel has drawn the ire of the hacker group Anonymous, and if the Zetas do not meet the demands of Anonymous there will be far reaching repercussions. Check out the full story here and here. They have give the Zetas until November 5th to do as instructed, I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. Here are the Spanish and English versions.
I came across an Associated Press news article today that incorporated two issues I try to keep close tabs on, immigration and the environment. The story, entitled, “GOP Seeking Waiver of Environmental Laws at Border,” explains how there is proposed legislation to circumvent certain environmental laws in an attempt to secure the border. This story made me think about the many difficult situations and decisions needed to be made with regards to both these subjects. With so many special interest groups attempting to exert their influence over these topics and so many specialists with different arguments, it can all be a bit overwhelming and confusing. Thus, all the more reason we as individuals need to study the issues so that we can make informed decisions and take the best course of action our situations allow. Hopefully our political system, from the grassroots to the president, will function in a manner most conducive to the health of our nation. What do you think about what actions need to be taken with regards to border security? How much and what, i.e. the environment, needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve the varying agendas regarding national security and immigration reform (if you can call it reform)? At some point there will need to be compromise among the arguing factions within our populous, who will concede what and how will that affect us all? What can we do about it?