Saturday, July 07, 2007

Postcard from Oregon

For readers who've been looking for new posts, my apologies. I'm on vacation in Oregon and took a real vacation from everything, including this blog. But now it's time for a couple of comments:

First, to respond to the neighbor who commented back in June about car break-ins, thanks for your comment and for alerting others to the severity of the problem. The next CAPS meeting is Monday July 16, 6:30 p.m. at Chavez Elementary. I hope you can make it and talk with the officers about your experience. Right now there is a new sergeant, Sgt. Whitney (I think), and he took careful note of problems raised at the last meeting and promised he would report on what the police did in response at the next meeting. I believe that is standards CAPS practice and I've seen meetings in another beat (in Woodlawn) where they really did it that way, but this is the first time I've seen it in our beat.

Second, in honor of Independence Day, I just wanted to reflect briefly on a conversation I overheard in the Holy Cross parking lot before I left town. After Mass, two young men were talking about the USA/Mexico Gold Cup championship game and who to root for. One was for the US, the other for Mexico. Just a couple of quotes:

Mr. USA: "Don't we owe everything to this country? If our parents had stayed in Mexico, we would never have had all these opportunties."

Sr. Mexico: "Yeah, but don't we owe something to where we came from? Especially when this country has done so much to weaken Mexico?"

Here in Oregon, we toasted over dinner on July 4 to "the United States, still the best country in the world to live in despite everything." I've been reading a book out here about immigrants to the US, in which someone said, "America is everyone's second country." With the recent immigration debate, it seems like many people want to blow out the lamp lifted by the door at the same time we've made it even harder for people to live peacefully in their own home countries. It just seems to me we can't have it both ways--strong-arming countries to do our economic and political bidding, then complaining when their people leave for economic and even political reasons of our making and come here looking for a better life. Ironically, if the US were a more responsible world citizen, we'd have many fewer people sneaking over fences and overstaying visas to live here. Happy belated Fourth of July!

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