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Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Si Se Puede

For those unfamiliar with the Spanish phrase "Si Se Puede," it translates roughly to "Yes We Can" in English. I've been going through a lot of turmoil in my life lately, as those who know me can attest, but this simple phrase inspires me. My Mom, who knows more about life than most women in their early 50s (her own Mom, my Grandma Buttrick, even stated that she couldn't believe how much insight my Mom has into life), recently reminded me of how much I've overcome in my life. It was a timely reminder and serves as inspiration.

On another note, those who regularly read my blog may get the impression that I agree with every tenant of the conservative cause. In many cases, that couldn't be further from the truth. You may be asking yourself "What does this have to with the phrase 'Si Se Puede'"? It has everything to do with that phrase. Personally, there are few more divisive political topics than illegal immigration. On one hand, I am the great-granddaughter of legal immigrants from the Ukraine. My Grandma Reid (Russell) is the daughter of immigrants who farmed in Standish, Michigan for most of their adult lives. They became naturalized citizens in 1945 (incidentally, they were naturalized in my current hometown, Bay City).

We have a long, proud tradition of immigration in the United States. We are all products of immigration in one form or another. That said, I don't see a workable solution to the issue of illegal Mexican immigration. I studied Latin American culture, the Spanish language, and business extensively throughout my college education; as a result, I traveled extensively in Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, and the Caribbean. Mexico is my first love as it was a trip to Cancun, Mexico as a child (just before it exploded into a veritable extension of the United States) that inspired me to study Spanish all throughout the rest of my formal education (junior high, high school, and then college).

I sympathize with the Mexican culture, I understand the culture better than most people who have no Hispanic heritage, and I understand the economic circumstances that led to the illegal immigration issue (Mexican and otherwise). It pains me to hear arguments on the side of greater enforcement of Federal laws that are already on the books that smack of isolationism and racism. There are some very valid reasons to address the illegal immigration issue immediately; however, they have nothing at all to do with racism and isolationism. In my opinion, enforcing the laws already there is the first logical step to resolving the illegal immigration issue fairly and equitably.

It hurts me to hear Mexico portrayed as a cesspool when there are beautiful aspects to Mexican culture and land. The Yucatan peninsula alone is worthy of praise. Mexico may have its share of issues, but they can and should be addressed without throwing out all that is good about Mexican culture.

Once again you may be asking "Why include this political statement in a post about the phrase 'Si Se Puede?'' It is time to address it directly. That particular phrase has been adopted by those who are supporting illegal immigration. Those seeking a solution to the illegal immigration problem deride it as an example of how Mexican immigrants won't assimilate into the culture of the United States as immigrants have in the past. Both are incorrect. It should be reserved for use as a phrase of hope - nothing more, nothing less.

During my semester in Quito, Ecuador in 2001, the Ecuadorean soccer team (futbol for those who know Spanish) went to the World Cup playoff series for the first time. It was the first time I had ever heard the phrase "Si Se Puede." In that phrase, you could almost feel the pride Ecuadoreans had in their soccer team. For the first time, they were in the international soccer spotlight. They may have lost in the first round, but that wasn't the point. It brought hope to a nation struggling to come together. Both sides of the illegal immigration debate need to come together to come up with a realistic, fair plan that protects the sovereignty of both the United States and Mexico.


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At 1:49 PM, Blogger Tina said...

lol, when I first saw the title Si Se Puede, I thought it would be an article about Obama! Great article!


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