And the point is…?

Years ago the singer Sting crooned, “I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an Englishman in New York.”  Then he went on to whine about feeling like an alien in New York City.  (Hell, Sting — New York even does that to native U.S. citizens, so chill, will yuh?)

Duh.  I mean, really.  If you’re not in your home country, you’re not home.  No use whining about it.

To take the same point to an extreme, over the weekend the Chicago Tribune told us the story of a gravely-ill illegal alien who “just wanted the pain to stop” and stole another woman’s identity in order to get extensive medical care.  The illegal eventually went back to her home country, Mexico, presumably to die; the woman whose identity she stole is in jail here in the U.S.; whether or not she will be held liable for the bills was a question not answered.  I’m sure the government, which paid for the illegal’s care believing she was someone else, will be stupid enough to do that.

To my eye, this is a case where everyone is wrong and no one is right.  That’s all I got out of reading the story; I don’t even know what the intention of the article was.  Were we supposed to feel sorry for the gravely-ill illegal for everything that’s happened to her (she left Mexico and her children and entered the U.S. illegally after being beaten almost to death by her boyfriend, who turned out to be involved with a drug cartel, then found out she had cancer).  Are we supposed to feel sorry for the woman whose identity she stole?  She was barely mentioned.  Are we supposed to bemoan the fact that our public healthcare system, or lack of it, failed to save the life of this woman at taxpayers’ expense, when legal residents of the U.S. are going without healthcare because of the cost of the private insurance most of us have to rely on?  Are we supposed to feel sorry for the children she left behind in Mexico?  Are we simply supposed to be amazed at how many catastrophically wrong things can happen in a single life story?  What the hell is the point?

To put it another way, yes, there is a problem here.  But whose problem is it, and why should we be hearing about it?  Those questions were not answered in any way; the article was just there.  Because it was just there, it was useless and probably had the opposite of what I’m imagining was the intended effect: we were probably supposed to feel sorry for this poor woman and her plight, and angry with the system for driving her to crime in order to get treatment.  Instead, I’m imagining a lot of people who pay huge premiums for their own health insurance are angry at finding out about abuses of the system of this magnitude.

A few pages later (or was it before..), some columnist was sniping something to the effect that if “we kill each other to live (meaning human embryos), what does that say about us?”

To that columnist I say, read your own bleeping newspaper and try to make sense of it all.  You’ll be wracking your brains for a long time because it doesn’t make sense. 

Giving free healthcare to the illegal alien who has the best Queen for a Day story doesn’t work if millions of legal residents are doing without because they can’t pay for the healthcare that most of us use, which definitely isn’t free.  Who tugs at your heartstrings more?  Who should? 

And this embryo commentary was not only deeply ironic, being as it was in the same edition as the illegal’s story, but it had no business being in any newspaper at all.  All this kind of “pro life” is about is seed-saving.  It has nothing to do with women and children or the actual business of everyday living.  If you doubt what I’m saying, note that most of the seed-saving commentaries are made by men, as was this one.  (Also consider that at the real extreme of seed-saving, we have the Octomom.  That’s what it can lead to.  So be careful, Mr. Columnist, what you wish for.)

But, back to my point:  what was extraordinary was seeing two ends of the same extremist coin in the same newspaper on the same day.  On one page they appeared to be bemoaning the impending death of a woman who broke the law and then broke the law again — which is not to say she deserves to die; it is only to say that she is not a very sympathetic figure.  Then the other page, the one with the embryo-hugger’s column, left you wondering just what the columnist would have thought of this woman if her life had been able to be saved by an embryonic stem-cell transplant.  Probably not much. 

It proves my idea that extremists are, once you strip them of labels, all the same — all they have is knee-jerk reactions (which are, ironically, often basically the same reactions), but no solutions.  Worse, they expect the rest of us to have the same knee-jerk reactions.  If we don’t, then the bullying starts. 

Even Sting seems to be guilty.  He probably thought he was making a statement and we’d just nod in agreement.  Instead, some of us have been sitting out here for years occasionally wondering what the hell he was whining about whenever we hear that song on the radio.  He’d likely be astounded if he ever found out.


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