Thursday, May 13, 2010
the immigration game
I am always torn between being one of those homeschoolers whose children win geography bees and can recite passages from Greek tragedies, or the one with an 11 year old who can reassemble a cappuccino machine in under 3 minutes and play Come On Eileen on the acoustic guitar. Although I tend toward the latter, I feel like if I were really dilligent I could manage both.
But I can't - and the guilt is overwhelming.
What I can do - what we do do, is talk about current events - a lot. It's all part of my master plan. I figure even if we don't memorize the Tudor lineage, or the Chinese dynasties, by the time Punk and Kooka are my age, everything happening now, will seem like ancient history, so by default, they will seem much smarter than average, thereby giving me less of a complex.
One of the current events that keeps coming up in our house is illegal immigration. Punk asked "Illegal means - against the law right?" Yes, that's exactly what illegal means.
So the next question follows rationally, "Well, then why is everybody so mad at Arizona for enforcing a law that already exists?" Another valid point. Nobody really should be mad about enforcing a law our country created- but things aren't always so easy.
So the game began. Twenty lego guys, a fistful of Monopoly money, two countries divided by hair ribbons, and the adventure began. "Sven" was a farmer in a poor undernourished country "Konichiwa" - and because he was not an educated scientist, doctor, or IT expert, he did not make the cutoff list to be let into the USA. Both kids decided that not only was it acceptable to let "Sven" sneak into the United States - but that it was actually, the correct, humanitarian thing to do. Sven was a good guy - a good neighbor and they didn't even mind paying a few bucks in extra taxes to help pay for roads, police, extra food and firefighters that Sven might need. As a matter of fact it felt so good to help him - that they helped Sven's 8 brothers sneak in as well.
Now some of those brothers needed to finish high school, one was a doctor, one was an arsonist, one another a farmer - but all of them there illegally. Kooka in particular was a little perturbed about having to hire extra police, teachers, and transportation workers. Punk happily moved into a lower-rent house so he could let more guys in.
But after Sven and his brothers each brought their wives and had children, Kooka could not take it anymore. "That is ENOUGH!" she said "Sven needs to start paying taxes. He needs to go to the police and show him the money he made farming and offer to help us out!"
Punk agreed that it would be neighborly of Sven to pitch in. So they walked him over to the police, showed the police his money, and instantly shut their mouths.
Without further question, Sven was deported and all his money taken from him.
"What the?!. . . " That was Punk. "Why not take his looser arsonist brother? And what about his kids? They just sent him back?! That is so not cool."
What followed was an extremely heated debate between the two. Kooka - working hard as an investment banker, was tired of towing the line for Sven and his crew, while they never pitched in financially. Punk, living paycheck to paycheck as a professional villain (hey - it was their game), decided he needed a better job so he could help more people.
They tried several options -
• moving everybody including themselves and the President to Konichiwa (Sven's homeland) - but that didn't work, because the soil was still poor and there were not enough facilities for everybody.
• selling things to Sven's country at very deep discounts and allowing Sven to pay them back when he got on his feet.
• letting 100 Konichiwanians go to college in the US, so they could go help more people in their homeland.
• trading houses for a while (which, as the professional villain pointed out, might mean you were never gonna get your house back)
• altering the list of who should be allowed into the US - we didn't need so many doctors or computer guys. Farmer Sven needed to be able to get in and contribute.
• find another way to pay for stuff. Sven had just as much right to be in the US as anybody else - but he didn't have the right to free stuff. Maybe if nothing was free, it wouldn't matter. (Financial planner Kooka pointed out the extreme logistical difficulties of financing a school district with no public funding, while her brother stared at her blankly, and said "that's why people like YOU live here - I am a villain for pete's sake - you figure out the rest.")
The conversation went on for quite some time . . . but the conclusion they came to is this . . . illegal means illegal for a reason. There needed to be new laws - different laws. If you change the law, you don't have these problems, but trying to sneak around the law is never going to work for poor Sven, the professional villain or the investment banker.
The whole thing ended with Punk scooping up his Lego men, giving me an almost accusatory look and saying, "That was a nightmare - and that is exactly why I never want to be a grown-up."