Nothing to Fear

Bill Neinast

President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Some think these words were spoken on our entry into WWII in December, 1941.  Actually, they were part of FDR’s first inaugural address nine years earlier.

This was in the early days of the Great Depression and some of the President’s words way back then seem eerily descriptive of today’s climate.  Here, for example, are his first two paragraphs:  

“I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address
them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

“In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.”

The “difficulties” of concern to FDR seem eerily similar to our current situation.  If he were making those remarks today, however,  he might include two other concerns.  That would be the unreasoned fear and condemnation of two huge communities because of the actions of a tiny percentage of bad actors in each of the groups.

There are some Muslims who interpret the Koran differently than others. This group of radicals believes that all “infidels” shall be killed.  Because that small group is so dangerous, let’s ban from our shores the millions of other peaceful Muslims like that young scholar discussed here last week.

That would allow Donald Trump and others of his ilk to sleep with one less fear--or so they believe.

Then there are those Hispanics.   About 12 million Hispanics are illegal or undocumented aliens in this country.  Each one of them is committing a heinous federal misdemeanor, roughly equivalent, in terms of punishment, to a traffic code violation.  The criminal penalty for a first time illegal entry is possible confinement not to exceed six months and a fine of $50.00 to $250.00.  

A tiny fraction of that 12 million of immigrants is composed of murderers, rapists, arsonists, etc., so Trump and others believe that those caught must just be the tip of the iceberg.  All, even that outstanding student mentioned here last week, must be here with felony  crime in their heart.  

Moreover, as noted by Trump last week, a legally  born in America Hispanic is incapable of being a fair judge in a Caucasian’s trial.  For proof, just look at U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel who ruled in favor of Trump by delaying the civil fraud trial involving Trump University until after the election but was then not ‘fair” to The Donald by releasing some trial transcripts.

That “unfairness” is due, in Trump’s opinion, simply because the judge is Hispanic and Trump is “going to build a wall.”

So here’s the perspective.

Immigrants of all stripes entering this country without proper authority is a problem, but not one of the magnitude discussed by FDR in 1932.

The wall to be built by Trump, however, will not solve the problem.  There would be more routes over, under, and around it than those skirting the Berlin Wall.

There is a much simpler and cheaper solution than a wall.  Simply begin vigorously enforcing a law already on the books.  This is the law that imposes fines of $3,200 to $16,000 per employee who is here illegally.

After national publicity on each of the first dozen fines imposed under that law, the flood of individuals seeking a better life in the land of opportunity would slow to a drip, drip, drip. 

Are you willing to pay the price for the solution? The costs of groceries would sky rocket because the stoop labor to harvest crops would be hard to find and we would have to sleep in dirty beds in the hotels because cleaning crews would be in short supply.

So there is really nothing to fear.  The law to potect us is there.  Let’s enforce it and forget about the Trump wall. 

P.S. The comments here about this being a country of immigrants drew some fire.  A bit of water was thrown on that fire with the photos of the nine soldiers drowned in the tragedy at Fort Hood.  Caucasians, Blacks, Hispanics, and an Asian were victims.  That was a portrait of America. 


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