So, the election is coming to a head…a grisly head at that. I suppose this is fitting since we are in Halloween season. But I, along with just about everyone else, will be glad when this is over. I prefer pretend scary to real scary. I’m old enough to say I can’t ever remember an election that was as…”nasty” as this one. There has been such venom spewed that it is too ugly to behold. Yet, curiously, we are drawn to it…like rubbernecking. Hmm… Now, underneath it all, there are real issues that need to be addressed. For instance, health care, climate change, our deficit, job growth, foreign policy, and so on. One of the big issues at stake is U.S. immigration policy.
You might recall that Mr. Trump has been saying that he wants to build a wall along the border between Mexico and the United States. And have Mexico pay for it. I won’t get into that, but the larger issue behind this is our immigration policy. What is THE answer to U.S. immigration policy? And just how am I going to answer that AND weave it into a blog about well-being? I’m going to roll up my sleeves and give it a try!
Deep Thought and Our Immigration Policy
Ever had the pleasure of reading Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Spoiler alert – skip this if you don’t want me to reveal a really funny part of the book! Okay…ready? Let’s move on then!
In the book, an alien race built and programmed a computer named Deep Thought. Its sole task was to answer The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything! After 7.5 million years, it finally had The Answer. Deep Thought knew that its alien creators were not going to like its answer. It warned them ahead of time, but they still wanted The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Deep Thought begrudgingly gave them The Answer: 42. The problem, the creators of Deep Thought soon realized, is that they hadn’t specified The Question.
So, there are some parallels to many of our political disagreements and The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything that Deep Thought provides. One could say that THE Answer to U.S. Immigration policy is…wait for it…42! Now, just what is The Question?
The World is Complicated
The Answer of “42” that Deep Thought provides is Douglas Adams’ satirical way to address our need to find The Answer to questions that cannot be answered. Despite all of our disagreements, we are all in this crazy world together. I wrote a blog on my Tech Happy Life site (which is about living a balanced life in a tech world) about the importance of trying to find common ground with one another. When it comes to addressing HARD issues like our immigration policy, I think it is important to find common ground. Here are a few “facts” that I hope we can all agree upon:
- There are no easy answers. If there were, we would have found them by now!
- One person’s “good policy” is another person’s “bad policy.”
- You can’t please everyone. Thus, some groups will benefit from certain policies while others suffer because of those same policies.
- We can’t always agree on what “good” and “bad” outcomes even are.
- Even if one could agree on some outcomes to measure effectiveness, these are very hard to measure. Also, researching outcomes is subject to various biases as well (e.g., selection bias).
- There are COUNTLESS variables at play that can affect the outcome of ANY policy. For example, let’s say political parties generally agreed upon an immigration policy for Mexico. If, God forbid, Mexico somehow collapsed into a civil war or had a natural disaster, that could change everything.
- Since there are NO guarantees in life, one could have the “right” policy and STILL have it not work out well (see the bullet point above).
- One can always “cherry pick” data to support what we already believe to be true. Everyone does this…both right and left. It is known as a confirmation bias in the social sciences.
Life is indeed very complicated. People are complicated. Rather than vilifying one another, we need to figure out how we can get along better. Our own happiness is entwined with one another, so it behooves everyone if we improve the way that we relate to one another. No, I don’t have The Answer to U.S. immigration issues. Guess what? No one does! But, to tackle these Hard Problems, we need to find common ground. We need to understand how we are more alike than different. We need to roll up our sleeves and work together.