Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Reservation For Two


The other day I overheard some people talking about how recent immigrants are trying to take over the government by strategic voting. I thought that all voting was strategic in the sense that you vote for the people that you think will best serve your needs and desires.

This got me to thinking about how immigrants have been treated whenever they come to a new land. The first ones that I was aware of were the Italian immigrants when I was growing up in Toronto. I can remember people talking about how they live like animals with five families living in the same house, how the whole neighbourhood stinks when they are cooking their food. Five years later, when all five families owned their own homes (outright) and had started businesses which employed many others you didn’t hear as much complaining.

I worked a summer job at a door manufacturing plant and the bulk of the workforce there were Italian. They were incredibly hard workers and other than the fact that I couldn’t figure out how they could speak to each other and not use English, they were pretty cool people. It was there that I learned to swear in another language. There was a second generation Italian kid about my age working there and we naturally got together on breaks and lunchtime. We talked about many things and he told me that all but $5 of his pay went to the family bank account. I told him that was bullshit and he had the right to keep his pay for himself. He understood where I was coming from, but pointed out that when he gets married, his parents will buy them a house and her parents will furnish it. Hmmmmm…

There was a time when the Irish came to North America in droves. There was difficulty getting jobs and food in Ireland and the west promised a better life. They were thought to be no good for anything but drinking and fighting, and of course the Leprechauns. Eventually, the Irish got into law enforcement (according to the TV shows) and eventually politics. More of that strategic voting I suppose. Say, wasn’t John Kennedy Irish? Today, most of the Irish people that I know are good citizens and contribute to the betterment of the country, although they still like to drink and fight. Right Linda?

Today we have a large influx of people from the Indian sub-continent that are immigrating to our country. Their food smells different and if you are to believe the gossip they are taking over the country. Maybe so, but from where I sit, all that I see are people who are hard working and wish to make a better life for themselves and their families. Don’t we all wish for that?

The people that complain about losing jobs and our values being changed are just wrong. Some things will change, but change comes no matter what, it is the nature of life. In a generation or two no one will be able to tell who was who and when they came to this country because like it or not there is a good chance that your kids or grandkids will be marrying “one of those Irish”! Or Indian, or Italian. Oh, and that stinky food that we complained about thirty years ago is the same food served at restaurants we line up at now.


I wonder if it is just a coincidence that the countries I mentioned all start with the letter “I”? If not, there is a good possibility that in the future we will be able to complain about the Icelandic, Indonesian, Iranian, Iraqi and the Israelis. Maybe we will give the Israelis a pass in lieu of the past 5000 years or so. It seems that we are being alphabetical in our mistrust of immigrants. Just a warning to all of those countries “J” through “Z”, I have my eye on you and would it be possible to put in a reservation for two, Saturday February 13th 2044 for 7:00PM?

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