What Gets Rewarded Gets Done

Spending Money

Almost all prior and current politicians running for president this year have voiced their positions on the dramatic influx of illegal aliens here and abroad. A number of solutions has been presented, from Trump’s wall to Bernie Sanders’ various positions on immigration.

Most Americans, native-born and legally naturalized citizens, also have opinions on the matter, from sympathetic to hostile, according to their interpretation of the impending doom the situation portends, since “immigration” is becoming a cover for terrorists to enter non-suspecting countries.

Leaving the terrorism component aside for the moment, however, the fact of the matter is, we have a problem morphing into a catastrophe with illegal aliens flooding across the border into the United States. Obviously, there’s something in this country that attracts people of other nations. Those of us who have had the privilege of visiting other countries – and comparing them with America – are well aware of the reasons.

My Mama, who was also a schoolteacher, had a phrase she used on me regularly: “Before you open your mouth, know what you’re talking about.” Using Mama’s standard, I’d like to briefly address the issue of illegal immigrants coming across from Mexico.

I grew up in Texas, near the Mexican border – 40 miles from Mexico in one place on the border and 73 miles from another border town. (The border of Mexico curves around Texas in several places, so the city I grew up in was within “walking distance” of Mexico.) I lived in a town where farming and ranching were the primary means of economic input and development. Despite our proximity to Mexico, one of the things that we did not have was a flood of illegals pouring across our borders. The ones who did get here were few and far between.

As previously stated, farmers and ranchers were the principal employers in those days. While there were tractors and vehicles available, there were nowhere near the number of mechanical harvesters and four-wheel-drive vehicles for herding flocks as there are today. This included machines for picking cotton and harvesting vegetables like corn and watermelons.

Something else was unavailable “back in the day.” We had no government programs to reward people for not producing. There was one very specific principle that governed the society of that time, and it was equally applicable to whites, coloreds (as we were called then) and Mexicans.

While there was rigid social segregation, there was also equal integration in certain areas, like working in the fields. The biblical principle in play which impacted everyone, regardless of race, creed or gender, was in effect whether you were born in the U.S. or came here by sneaking in.

As I look back on those days, I am fully convinced that the universal application of this principle prevented then, and would eliminate now, many of the major problems we are facing today.

To review, though 40 to 70 miles from the Mexican border, we were not flooded with illegal immigrants. Secondly, it applied equally to every race and gender: white, black, brown, male and female, from working age (12 years old) to retirement age (too old to work). Thirdly, this principle prevented a social problem that has now become an epidemic in the modern black community – single mothers, mostly women who get pregnant and deliberately have anywhere from one to six children, often by different men.

It could work just as effectively today as it did then. Once implemented and judiciously enforced, it would cut trillions of dollars from our national debt, halt the incomprehensible drain on our economy and stop the flow of illegal aliens into this country. I am referring here to a “transcendent principle” that works regardless of race or gender.

While this is a biblical principle, I’m not talking religion here. In bygone days, I did not even know it was taken from 2 Thessalonians 3:10. All I knew was that this is the way it was: “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.”

This brings us to the 21st century question: Why should someone work, or look for work, when they can get paid for staying home, watching TV and having yet another illegitimate child?

According to the CDC, “preliminary data indicate that 40.7% of all 2012 births were out-of-wedlock; and, there are vast differences among racial and ethnic groups. Among non-Hispanic blacks, the figure is highest at 72.2%; 66.9% for American Indians/Alaska Natives; 53.5% for Hispanics; 29.4% for non-Hispanic whites; a mere 17.1% for Asians/Pacific Islanders.”

I titled this column, “What gets rewarded gets done.” It looks to me like it’s working.

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