I’m from Norway! Well, not really. I was born in Seattle, but my father and three of four of my grandparents were native Norwegians. The fourth was born in Denmark; he met my grandmother on a train headed to North Dakota. Both were immigrants brought over to join a relative who came earlier.
Just recently, I learned that was “chain migration.”
Our President believes that we need to be more selective about the people allowed to enter our country as prospective citizens and suggests that some who are already here should return to their native country.
I don’t think he meant me or the descendant links to my chain; we are, after all, Norwegian.
Regardless, I am thrilled!
It’s the nicest thing President Trump ever said about me. In fact, it’s the only nice thing he’s said about me, or referring to people like me.
I’m afraid he might change his mind when he learns that I’m a woman, and, unless you’re a stickler for detail, only slightly older than he is. I’m also not and have never been a tall blond Nordic beauty.
I lean more to the other common Norwegian type — a square body with a square face that results in being called a “square head,” something we even call each other in a sort of sentimental bonding.
My hair only goes blond if I stay in the sun all day, which I would never do even if it was possible in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve given up artificial sun streaking and given into real gray streaking.
It’s unlikely the President would take too kindly to a trait shared by many Norwegians — stubbornness. We don’t get it if someone doesn’t take responsibility for themselves or their own actions and are especially aggrieved by broken promises.
Truth or dare
Truth is many of these traits are shared by peoples who came or are coming from countries besides Norway. Just to be perfectly honest, we all know there are some descendants of Norwegians or chains of other countries who deliberately make big promises, the kind we can’t forget and that we believe until the big lie turns out to be fake truth.
Then, as if building the perfect construction of plausible deniability, the big liar who breaks promises points to others as responsible. Confronted with an unreliable sort, most of us eventually walk away over shards of broken words and wonder if the big liar is somewhere drinking with like-minded folks and chuckling knowingly.
So is the theme of politics, especially of late. Big and little lies, broken promises and failed deals. The government shuts down, only to open to more of the same.
Today’s shards of the word of the President and Congress are around immigration. I mentioned one political party wanting to end chain migration (not to worry, I’m already here), build a wall to keep people from crossing our southern border and deport all who are here illegally, including those brought to the US as small children accompanying their parents who crossed illegally (to worry, even though, they know no other country).
Most people from many lands have come here, or at least they used to, like my father, did for a better life. Norway, at the time, had little to offer its young men, unless you were the oldest son of the oldest son who had the family farm. The country was poor.
He brought with him strong hands and a strong back. He worked in two of the riskiest occupations – commercial fishing and mining. He was needed and there was work.
I don’t know that there were other Americans who didn’t want to do that type of work at the time, but I do know there were not enough Americans to do all the work the country needed.
Welcome or not, here I come
Now, today, in our country, people are still coming for a better life and performing what is available work. Some of it is considered skilled like carpentry and some of it is considered unskilled like picking fruit and vegetables.
Some people are coming to work in jobs that require a high level of education and/or advanced technical skill.
Then, there are some coming as refugees from war-torn or dried-up countries in which food and safety are in short supply. Many come legally in the last category, although, our country is becoming highly selective about who can come and stay.
Highly educated people have a better chance, especially if sponsored by a business. There is criticism that companies want them instead of like Americans because they will work for less money. I don’t know how true that is.
I level my criticism on the failure of companies to invest in our youth and mine their aspirations and talents for those jobs. They prefer instead a sharp tax cut that will cause programs that do the same to disappear.
That leaves the group that crosses the border illegally and comes here for work in nursing homes, construction, fields, restaurants and others.
They get work because someone hires them.
Much of illegal crossing the border, with some exception, would dry up if jobs weren’t available. Our system to require employers to do their part is weak and not enforced. Those employers benefit from paying low wages and making demands on workers who live in fear of discovery.
Yet, the business isn’t afraid; there are no consequences, punishment or fines when they break the law. Free get out of jail cards all around.
Simple, stop hiring people who illegally enter our country and the supply will dry up.
But of course, many people have known that strategy, but it is to their advantage to blame the family who crossed the border and showcase their detention and deportation.
Better them than us chuckle the big liars and promise breakers.
I suppose the good news is that people don’t want to come here as much, including Norwegians, who are reported to wonder why they would when they have a country that shares its wealth with its citizens by providing education and health care.
I heard recently that tourism was down significantly in 2017. I thought it was due to storms, floods and fires, at least in part. Rather, the speaker theorized that America in its isolation and uncaring is beginning to seem like an unwelcoming country.
Could that be?
Bertha D. Cooper is retired from a 40-plus year career as a health care administrator focusing on the delivery system as a whole. She still does occasional consulting. She is a featured columnist at the Sequim Gazette. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.