Why Bloomberg Should Run

by francine Hardaway on December 31, 2007

for Shel Israel.Michael Bloomberg is thinking of running for President as an Independent.  I hope he does it. This country is in a mess, and a candidate from one of the existing parties can’t fix it, because he/she will be bound by the principles of whatever party platform he/she runs on. An Independent, perhaps, will not be bound by the restrictions of party obligations. (Disclaimer: I am a registered Independent.)

Last night I was having an argument about immigration policies with someone I love who believes illegal immigrants should not be allowed to stay in America, shouldn’t be able to work here, have drivers’ licenses, receive services, etc. You have heard this position; it’s the Lou Dobbs rap. We are being overrun with illegal alien criminals who come here to steal our jobs, rip us off, have their babies — and they won’t even learn English. And they send money back to Mexico.

Talking to him was really good for me, because it crystallized my own positions and reminded me why I feel the way I do.

I grew up right after World War II. My relatives escaped from Europe to Brazil and the US. Otherwise they were exterminated. The refugee Jews, like the refugee Irish and Italians before them, and the refugee Pilgrims before them, were welcomed with open arms by an America that believed the motto on the Statue of Liberty: "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…"

At that time, America believed that immigrants, and the resulting diversity, were what made America great. If you were a refugee, you didn’t have to wait for a visa, although everyone who came in had to make a stop at Ellis Island and be "documented." Then you went and got the low-wage job no one else wanted to do, until you paid your dues. Or you became a peddler.

I, the grandchild of immigrants, went to college and studied history.  There I learned that the Founding Fathers were, by and large, a group of agnostics, secularists, and people fleeing from the stifling hand of the Church of England. The Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the settlers of Virginia and Rhode Island all came here, I was taught in school, so that they didn’t have to profess the state religion. Our country was founded, and has existed until this day, without a state religion.

So how did we get here, to a place where everyone has to be a Christian, in some cases only a certain kind of Christian, to pass the test of nomination for President? And how did we get to the point where, even though people cross our southern border illegally because we haven’t enforced border security for years, we now blame Mexico? And why aren’t Mexicans and Guatemalans, willing to do anything for a less-than-living wage, fleeing poverty the way our own ancestors fled their own scourges, welcomed the way we welcomed people in the past — with a chance to be documented and become citizens within a reasonable period of time.

Do you think people want to risk their lives walking across the desert, paying coyotes for false documents and unsuccessful rides, leaving their families behind, to come to America and mow lawns? They do it because they MUST. They can’t get a visa. And they can’t feed their families back home. Poverty is as bad as extermination. It IS a form of extermination.

But never mind the poor Mexicanos who can’t get visas. Neither can people Microsoft and Intel need to hire to stay competitive, which forces them to build campuses in the countries where they find the talent.

Someone has to set America back on the path that made us a world power. Someone has to restore the history of America to the public school curriculum. Someone has to tell us who we are, who we are supposed to be. Maybe a short Jew with a big ego, a bunch of money and no real party affiliation can do it.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

unsuccessful December 31, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Why Bloomberg Should Run

Bookmarked your post over at Blog Bookmarker.com!

Jenny December 31, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Oh god.. Bloomberg is extremely pro-illegal. He’ll do one thing and one thing alone, continue the worst of Bush’s policies. The corporate interests will be given unchecked freedom to continue to import illegals, demand a neverending stream of visas. He’ll gut our environmental protections and finish the job ransacking our nation.

Do you bother thinking beyond what lies beneath your nose? He doesn’t care about our constitution or bill of rights, only what serves his and his cronies corporate interests. It’s the reason Unity08 will promote him as their candidate. Did you ever look at who their board is composed of? All corporate behemoths.

Alex Landefeld January 1, 2008 at 4:03 am

Francine, extremely good description of the immigration issue, and why opening America’s doors is Good for both America and the World. Linked over here from shelisreal’s twitter to you. I don’t follow presidential politics closely but do watch streams of civilization over the centuries, and streams follow gravity to an area of least resistance. America is the ocean with least resistance to anybody, with greatest changes for people to follow evaporation lines to the clouds which help to spread our melting-pot culture to the four corners of the globe. But even an ocean can be assaulted by rivers of phosphates, of crystalizations of beliefs congealing into glacial divisions, of indigenous populations diminishing in the face of overfeeding by a dominant species. Periodically, the ocean waters need to be roiled to allow carbon to escape, to provide for oxygenation, to allow for new lines of evolution.
Keep up the good writing! ..alex.

John Minnihan January 1, 2008 at 8:47 am

What do we know about Bloomberg wrt his foreign policy, or more broadly what do we know about him – period? Most folks outside NYC know *nothing* about him.

I like to think I’m well-rounded, but I find I haven’t any tangible insight into Bloomberg’s positions on anything important to me. This makes him a pretty unrealistic candidate this late in the game.

francine hardaway January 1, 2008 at 9:23 am

In my experience, what a candidate knows when he gets into office has little to do with what he can do when confronted by checks and balances and bureaucracy. I know enough about Bloomberg from watching what he did in New York to know he is 1)intelligent, 2)humane, 3)motivated, 4)capable of teambuilding. That’s something we need. We need someone who can think on his feet, can deal with diversity, and hasn’t got entangling party alliances.

David LaPlante January 1, 2008 at 10:20 am

Great post Francine. IMHO, I don’t believe the country is in a mess — perhaps too polarized for comfort — it surely could use some compassion at the top teaching a younger generation that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” isn’t just for jr. high civics.

Despite being a little misguided on gun control for rural America and needing a few more green-centric friends, I’d be down for Boomberg. He’s accomplishments certainly rival many of the folks hacking out the primaries today.

Anyway, minimally this constitutes my one and only political-centric comment for the new year. Done! Going back to being a perpetually happy person now. HNY!!!

John Minnihan January 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Thanks Francine; I mostly agree.

The problem w/ this approach is that (sadly) most Americans haven’t the capacity to make this mental leap: an individual capable of making sound, results-driven decisions in one context may actually be able to do so in other contexts.

I’ll bet fully 1/2 of Americans – today – have no clue who Bloomberg is. That’s horrible, but I’m betting it is closer to truth than even I want to believe.

Many people will take the lazy way out, and put less (or perhaps as much) effort into ‘reviewing’ the candidates as they do deciding which new book to purchase. For evidence, look no further than ‘Oprah’s Boo^H^H Presidential Candidate Club’.

Michael Ward January 3, 2008 at 11:11 am

Francine, this was my first foray into your blog and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely. I am a memeber of a (hopefully) growing group called Christian Liberals. Like you, I detest that some Christian litmas test must be passed in order to run for President. This country was founded based on “freedom of religion”, be that Christian, Jew, Muslim, athiest or whatever. It would be a nightmare if we were to ever develop into a Christian Theocracy, which is what the current crop in control would wish! If these so called Evangelicals actually read the New Testament, they would learn that it is not posssible to call yourself a Christian (follower of Christ)and maintain any form of prejudice (against race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) or support for any form of war or violence. With regard to immigrants, we are a country of immigrants and we have been bullied with fear tactics into believing that Hispanic immigrants are the boogieman. Utter nonsense. If you happen to know any “illegals” I would expect that your experience, like mine, is that these folks are genuine, hard working people who just want a chance to give their children a better life. Michael

francine hardaway January 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Exactly what I do think, and it is America’s fault that we broke our immigration process so it’s not possible for ANYONE to get in in a timely fashion. I met this morning with a woman eho emigrated 18 years ago from Soviet Russia, and she said Jews left Russia for Austria and Italy and spend years there waiting to get into the US and Israel. She said some even committed suicide.

Justin Crossman January 13, 2008 at 10:03 am

I just caught up to this post via FeedBurner. I feel compelled to say that I’ve never heard the issue articulated in such a meaningful and relevant way. To me this post is inaccurately titled and so may pull away from a critically important piece – but I’ll not tell you how to do your work! I’ll simply speak here ignoring the title and first and last paragraphs.

Being from and growing up near the very liberal city of Seattle, I took my “hippie” position and held it without thinking critically about it. After all, how much does one really have to worry themselves about all of those pesky Canadians taking our jobs? Or perhaps it’s not relevant simply because we can’t tell that they are. After moving to Arizona I’m faced with the issue every single day; because of the demonstrations just down the street from my home or the nervous but determined group in the Home Depot parking lot. Now that I assess the issue regularly and find myself like a moth to a flame at the face of the talking heads on my television screen, I’m compelled into a familiar perched location on the fence. However, posts like yours here help me remember why I decide to remain a 30 year old “hippie.” We need Ellis Island documenting and registration and we cannot solve the issue by pressing against it. I recite my own Chinese finger trap analogy in this case, and every other case I can. If you love it, set it free… Life is about struggle, evolution exists because of it (or visa versa) and we can choose to make our lessons easier or more difficult on ourselves. In this case, and because of my perspective after having lived up against two borders, I can’t help feel racism is a significant part of this problem and why it is even an issue in the first place. Furthermore, I would love to see the point of security be rationalized away from an irrational group-thinking society. And I would prefer not to have to outsource all of the work I do because the labor, at it’s competitively low rate, is available here from Americans or tax paying immigrants. After all, the inevitable competition that forces prices of labor down are going to occur regardless of immigration policy – why not take the ‘high road’ and help someone make the choice to be an American where at least their competitively inexpensive wage could be earned here instead of in India. In the end, we might learn something – and I highly doubt the dog will bite the hand that’s feeding it.

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