The Liberty Belle

Monday, May 01, 2006

"The Great American Boycott 2006"

Today a national rally is occurring. It is May 1st, the day of the first "Great American Boycott 2006".

Millions of immigrants across the country are hoping that their "Un dia sin immigrante" - day without an immigrant - will prove to Americans that immigrants actually do make, and break, our country.

According to the press release on the Immigrant Solidarity Network's web site immigrants and immigrant's rights activists are "calling no work, no school, no sales, and no buying, and also to have rallies around symbols of economic trade in your areas (stock-exchanges, anti-immigrant corporations, etc.) at May 1st to protest the anti-immigrant bill."

The press release continues:

"On May 1st, we will wear "white" a T-shirt and/ or white arm bands, we can paint and write our political demands (and creative arts) at the T-shirt go to rally, protest, strike, vigil, work or school - we will have a ocean of white T-shirts with our political demands from east coast to west coast, at the street, work place, school, bus station & store. And our voice will be LOUD AND CLEAR AND CANNOT BE SILENT FOR EVER!

We will settle for nothing less than full amnesty and dignity for the millions of undocumented workers presently in the U.S. We believe that increased enforcement is a step in the wrong direction and will only serve to facilitate more tragedies along the Mexican-U.S. border in terms of deaths and family seperation."

For more from this article visit, http://www.nohr4437.org

After reading the press releases, articles and listening to the discussion of this issue, I can't help but wonder, has everyone gone mad? People are so willing to scream "racist" at those who do not agree with proposed guest worker programs, granting amnesty to illegals already here and those who are just plain angry with the direction of the illegal immigrant discussion.

The real discussion should be how to remedy the problem in both a reasonable and lawful way.

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckle debated the issue in USA Today's Common Ground two weeks ago. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-04-19-immigration-
common- ground_x.htm)


It offers sound, thoughtful commentary and, at the very least, provides a non-belittling approach to the issue. Thomas and Beckle prove that this is not a Republican/Democrat debate. Many liberals and conservatives alike are on the same page, one needs only to look at Congress to see this.

As for the "Great American Boycott"... ultimately the bottom line is; you either come here (legally) and learn English or go home- anyone who considers themself a Great American would surely agree with that.




Saturday, April 22, 2006

Google; Prudence Versus Narcissism

With the world we live in today, using Google as a tool to see what (if anything) exists on the wonderful world wide web about you, people you know or family is the farthest thing from narcissism. In fact, googling your own name or the names of loved ones can prove to be quite a beneficial safety precaution.

Programs such as "Dateline", "20/20", "60 Minutes" and others urge parents to 'Google' their childrens' names as often as once a month to make sure there aren't any hate web sites or similar devoted to them.

Not familiar with hate web sites? Well, a hate web site can be anything from a derogatorily, vulgarly or just plain meanly named group on a person's MySpace, Facebook, Live Journal or similar to an all out web site.

Skeptical these sites do not exist?

Well, a few weeks ago I was chatting with my little (12-year-old) cousin on AIM. I clicked on the link in her AIM profile and started scrolling through her MySpace profile. The first thing I noticed was for 'geographic location' she had put 'Hucksafunacana, Germany'. And immediately after was 'age' which she had as 16. Well, I thought, it's kind of immature yes, but it's also smart at the same time; you don't want weirdos on the internet knowing your age and location. So I read, or scanned rather, on.

Mostly it was typical pre-teenage girl stuff and other innocent things like a list of her favorite bands, movies and books. There were an assortment of memorable quotes from her and her girlfriends, presumably collected over long bus rides traveling between track and field events, swim meets and sleepovers. There was a little blurb about herself and a list of hobbies.

I was about to close the window and get back to my work when the section near the bottom of the screen entitled 'groups' caught my eye. Perhaps it was the one entitled "Jessica H8ters" or maybe it was the one called "Jamie Haters" that grabbed me, whichever one it was, I could feel a lump forming in my throat.

I clicked on the group link for 'Jessica H8ters' and to my disgust a forum-type window popped open with comments back and forth between several girls bashing some girl named Jessica. "She's a fat pig who makes me sick." "I want to rip out her rat-like hair and shove it down her throat." Not to mention the 'f' this, 'f' her, 'f' that and on and on with the vulgaraties. There was even a(n obviously) photo-shopped picture of the girl with frankenstein bolts through her neck, blacked out teeth and a huge belly.

The 'Jamie Haters' group was similar.

The only small bit of good news: my cousin hadn't participated in any of the forum discussions.

Still, I was disturbed and after a few days of thinking about what I had discovered I decided to call my little cousin and confront her.

I thought about talking to my aunt or uncle first about it, and then decided to keep it between her and me. She hadn't hurt anybody, her parents (I'm assuming) were unaware of the web site and she is a good kid. No need to embarrass her or involve more people than necessary. From what I could see, it was something that a little bit of older cousin intervention could remedy.

It turns out I was right on target. She had joined the groups because some of her friends had created them and had invited her to join. After having just completed a course on legal aspects of communication, I decided to approach the issue from a legal perspective rather than a moral one. I explained that when you discredit someone based on sexuality, race, religion or ethnicity, you are entering into a realm punishable by law. Anyway, to make a long story short, she disassociated from the groups. As for the friends of hers, I'm just hoping that over time (sooner rather then later peferably) she realizes on her own that girls who create hate groups about other girls are not worth the time, effort and care that make lasting friendships. Nor should you want to be associated with people like that. But she already has a mom, so I'll just keep talking to her and act as a role model.

Another example of this took place in Washington state. Good friends of my family live out there with two daughters. One goes to Harvard University and the other is graduating from high school. Both sisters were very active in student government at their high school and each have held (or currently hold in the younger one's case) the title of class president.

Near the beginning of the school year they held a class officer meeting about a fund raising event. By the end of the meeting one of the officers, who didn't agree with the way the meeting had panned out, stormed off.

Several days later our friends were doing research on the internet when they stumbled across a very, very disturbing web site.

What they found at the web site caused their daughter to not only want to resign as class president, but also to drop out of school in the beginning of her senior year of high school.

Apparently, this disgruntled fellow class officer and peer was so upset with her that he created a web site devoted to bashing, belittling, degrading and making fun of our friend's daugter. And got a large following of classmates to go along with and contribute to the site as well.

It got so bad that the school administration got involved.

Luckily for her, she stuck it out, got help from the administration, has a loving family who helped get her through it and is now graduating in June, still as class president.

The point is that checking Google every now and then to see what's out there about you or people you care about isn't a bad idea. Chances are nothing significant or even related to you will show up, though it may be neat to see your name appear in a list of race results, or in the by line of an article.

Who knows, there's always the possibility you do discover and stop something before it gets out of control, and that's not naricissism, it's called practicing prudence.