Friday, November 13, 2015

Cinderella Man, Donald Trump, Illegal Aliens, Malala

I’m watching “Cinderella Man” on my exercise bike in half-hour installments. The film is the true story of Jim Braddock, a Depression-era boxer played by Russell Crowe. Good movie so far, but this is why I bring it up: during the boxing scenes I actually pedal harder! Maybe I should put together a half-hour compilation of Mike Tyson fights.
I have a confession to make: I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” Although I couldn’t make it through the entire show, I thought his opening monologue with the two Trump imitators was pretty good, and felt the first sketch with him in the oval office one year into his presidency was okay, but then the show dragged and my eyelids refused to stay open.
The protesters outside the theater were offering $5,000 to any member of the audience willing to heckle Trump because of his stance on immigration and his apparent prejudice against Latinos. Now, I am not a Trump supporter, but in fairness I’d like to ask this question: does Trump have a problem with immigration or illegal immigration? I never hear that distinction being made, and you have to admit that there’s a difference between those who enter the country legally and those who don’t. Maybe I’m being simplistic, but if Trump’s beef is with undocumented aliens, shouldn’t it always be put that way?
Now, as far as how we should handle undocumented aliens, I have it all figured out. And everyone should note that I did zero research on this issue because I didn’t want my laser-like thinking process muddled with a bunch of damn facts and statistics. And, of course, each bullet point below will surely beget oodles of unanswered questions which my superior intellect, taxed with many other matters of pressing national importance, cannot deal with at this time.
According to me, undocumented aliens are subject to deportation unless they have…
…proven residence in this country for at least two years and have established meaningful and legitimate ties
…assimilated themselves by demonstrating a knowledge of basic English and an acquaintance with, and acceptance of, American culture
…no violent criminal record
…a marketable skill
…citizen sponsors willing to vouch for them and share responsibility for their actions
…a willingness to submit to some kind of penalty, such as community service or a fine
Yep, that about does it. Really, what questions could there be? It’s all self-explanatory. Let’s call this one solved. Discuss amongst yourselves.
And here’s what we do with the immigrants who enter this country legally: give ’em a high five, a Bundt cake, and a tiny American flag. Welcome aboard!
For the past five years my mother has been driving my father’s old car, a 2000 Gran Marquis, the very car every American male has a constitutional right to own once he reaches the age of 75. Last week, Mom’s mechanic discovered that the “Blue Bomber” has advanced Stage IV body rot and it’s time left on earth can now be measured in weeks, possibly even days. In other words, time for another car.
My mother asked for my help in finding her a new ride. I showed up Saturday morning with a list of local dealerships, but in the end we only needed to go to one. Mom settled on a 2012 Honda Accord with low mileage, which I thought made good sense, because why would an 80-year-old who mainly uses an automobile for grocery shopping and church on Sunday need a new car? The salesman was a young guy in his early twenties and this was probably his first first meaningful gig out of college. I could easily imagine him sharing a three-bedroom apartment with about twelve other guys. A nice kid, pleasant, respectful, not the oily used car salesman my mother feared.
The test drive went well and we sat down afterward to talk numbers. It was then that the subject of the Blue Bomber and it’s potential value as a trade-in came up. There was one snag: we didn't have the venerable rust bucket with us at the time and he couldn't reasonably quote us a price based solely on our description. So the lad suggested that he drive both of us to my mother’s house to drop me off so I could then gingerly navigate the Bomber back to the dealership.
As he drove us down the main street of my old hometown, I made comments about how much everything has changed since when I was in high school. Although the town that I grew up in is only fifteen miles from where I now live, and I drive out there maybe two or three times a month to visit my mother, I have really lost touch with all the developments; after all, I always take the same route and never see anything new. So I blabbed on about how this or that was different, what used to be where the CVS is now, and so on. On one stretch there is a lake on the left side and a line of commercial properties on the right. So I said, “For instance, that lake used to be on the right side of the road, and now you see it's on the left.” The kid’s head snapped around and he said incredulously, “What? Really?” My mother turned toward me with a mock warning look and said, “Johnny…”
I told that story to a guy at work and he says it’s an example of “dad humor.” Probably.
I am reading “I Am Malala,” the autobiography of the Pakistani girl who publicly stood up for the right of girls to an education in her country and was subsequently shot in the head by the Taliban. To me, it has a kind of “Diary of Anne Frank” feel to it, probably because Malala and Anne are roughly of the same age and they lived through increasingly repressed times with an ever-present threat of death. They both show resilience, depend heavily on family life (and are close to their fathers), they’re smart and aware and share insights that bespeak a maturity beyond their years. Having already seen “He Named Me Malala,” the book for me serves as the documentary’s companion piece. In the film, Malala comes across as an earnest, funny, dauntless, intelligent teenager who is completely unaffected by her fame. She can meet with Hillary Clinton one day and attend classes at a Birmingham high school the next. She gets into squabbles with her brothers and friends just like any other kid. Beside all that, though, the book helps me learn more about a culture that seems as alien to mine as what you read in science fiction or fantasy novels. To my western sensibility, everything is all upside-down and inside-out and the rules make no sense, especially those regarding the behavior and treatment of women, as promulgated by the Taliban, the unofficial regime in the Swat region of Pakistan. Bombings, killings, beheadings, bizarre restrictions, all somehow in the name of Islam — yet life still goes on. Fascinating and horrifying.
I watched most of the latest Republican debate (the varsity one). If I were ever to vote in a Republican primary, I’d probably go with Rubio. He’s pretty sharp. I liked his line about how we need more welders and less philosophers. Good one, Marco.
On Veterans Day, you say thank you for your service. On Mother’s Day, you say thank you for your cervix.
That is all.


Blogger LL said...

I'd say just open the border and then we can move into Mexico with little resistance...

Actually... wall the border and then give everyone illegally (without a criminal history of course) over here a new status known as "Resident". Meaning they can work and pay taxes, but can't collect any welfare benefits or vote in any elections. Then their families can assimilate into our culture as you suggest.

If they don't like that arrangement... go back home.

4:42 PM  

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