Seniors on the Outside Looking In: A Moral Issue

Jul 2nd, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

As a part time Arizona resident, it is my questionable fortune to be able to be an outsider looking in.  Sharon and I are always stopped at the state lines between Texas and New Mexico, and New Mexico and Arizona.  We are never asked for our papers.  

I am a United States Anglo citizen by birth, a lifetime Texan, although I have lived elsewhere over the years.  Presently we live in both Texas and Arizona.  At one time, we lived in Nebraska.  For those who are keeping up with the goings on, all three of these states are in the headlines, demonstrating their opposition to “illegal immigrants” who may be in their states.  I have been on the outside of a lot of issues during the years that our residence has been in one or another of these sovereign states.  While Congressman Joe Barton expresses his embarrassment over the way BP oil has been treated, I register my disappointment at how American citizens are choosing to behave over the immigration issue. 

All three appear to be drawing no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.  The new legislation in each state puts those Hispanic residents living in the United States legally in the same kind of danger as those here illegally.  It’s a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ kind of mentality.   

Charity (Love) is one of the “greatest of these” qualities espoused by the Book that seems to have been increasingly ignored as a guide for persons who claim Christianity as their faith.  My experience has been to be acquainted with both laboring and professioanal persons who have found their way from “south of the border” to the United States.  Their presence has served to provide enormous and useful help in many arenas.  Their contributions continue to be vital and necessary, particularly in urban areas where laboring class workers are often hard to find.  Hispanic professionals continue to be on the increase, adding their expertise to business and industry everywhere.  Invectives and posters, shameful slurs and unconscionable obscenities do not do well to represent those who claim a charitable ethic. 

Our record these days is none too good.  Neither is that of much of the rest of the world.  But that does not justify our meeting insensitivitywith callousness.  You and I are being pressed to demonstrate what it means to participate in developing a world that shows compassion and kindness.  Not many nations seem prepared to do that.  Creating and delivering fear and animosity, we are a part of a climate that often preaches goodness, but seldom acts out of that goodness.  Were the situation reversed, as well it could be, and the United States was beset by such crippling poverty, would we expect not to be welcomed by other nations where we might seek out solace?  What would our response be to another country’s attitude that attempts to block any who would like to trespass on their land? 

We are in a critically savage time.  The world’s resources are being rapidly depleted.  There seems to be little likelihood that arriving at some sense of accord will happen.  We are, to a diminishing extent, able to be on the inside looking out.  Soon, we may be be on the outside looking in.  Birth rates, and other population factors, are making an increasing difference worldwide.  This is a time when our ability to embrace and to be inclusive can assist the shape of our future.  Decrying the need of others, reinforcing our isolationism, will not bode well for the time to come.

We have learned that every state or country whose borders meet the Ocean can be affected by what happens there.  We are learning that unlimited plundering of natural resources can create harm to everything in its wake.  We may soon be aware that all the bounty we have mutually enjoyed may be threatened and destroyed.  Some will decry the warnings and the “sky is falling” attitude.  Some will stampede in a search for better grounds.  Those grounds may not be there for us.  Neither may the waters.  Taking the world’s riches for granted, without exercising prudent care, may leave us starved of much of what has been taken for granted.  Sadness and pain strikes the heart of those who weep at the loss of nature’s great and wondrous gifts.  We are being pressed to take seriously how much is at stake.  We are being reminded that just as the world offers much, it takes much, including a generous and inclusive spirit of love, to keep it healthy and dynamic.



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