Writing and Politics

.

Kate 2Kate Wyland
.

Close to six years ago I started on a romantic suspense novel set on the Arizona, near the Mexican border. Among the topics it featured was illegal immigration, its reasons and consequences. At the time I figured it would be mildly controversial but not a big deal. I ended up setting it aside to focus on two other books and only worked on it off and on over the years. This spring I decided to finish it and finally get it out.

Now, given the political climate, I’m wondering if I should try to publish it. The racism, intolerance, and hatred being promulgated nationally is appalling and makes me want to hide in a cave until this election is over. The hysteria over illegal immigration would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Having lived in California most of my life, I’m sure I’ve encountered many “illegals” over the years. They are the ones doing the scut work no one else wants to do. I can’t remember ever seeing a “white” man cleaning stables or shoveling manure for a living. And almost all the workers I see doing the back-breaking work of caring for and harvesting our crops have brown skins.

crops

Most of the laborers I’ve encountered have been hard working, live in awful conditions so they can send most of their meager wages back to their families in Mexico, and can’t wait to see them again. Many are horribly taken advantage of because of their status and have no recourse. Many others make a success of their lives, pay taxes, and raise families we all can be proud of. Of course there are bad apples, just as in any other group, but on the whole they are hard-working, family people.

The interesting thing is that during our recession, starting in 2008, the number of people entering illegally was greatly outnumbered by those leaving because they couldn’t get work. Those coming in switched largely to people fleeing dangerous conditions in Central America, genuine refugees. But, because they crossed the border without permission, they can’t get help or asylum.

There’s no easy answer to this dilemma. Yes, we need to control who comes into our country, weed out undesirables. At the same time, those who’ve made a life here, raised families, and contributed to our economy should have a way of legalizing their status. I wish people would reject all the hype and take a moment to really think about things. Maybe then we could come to a reasonable solution.

And maybe I’d feel more comfortable publishing Forearmed.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/10816734@N03/4724249925">Members of a passion fruit producers' alliance near Buga</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

********************

.

Forewarning Cover

FOREWARNING
Healing is her life. Will it be her death?

.

Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2.

Wyoming Escape
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?

.

Cover - Images - 2.

 Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?

.

Connect with Kate Wyland:
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorKateWyland
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/katewyland
Website : http://katewyland.com

.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in unique, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Writing and Politics

  1. Nancy Jardine says:

    That’s definitely a dilemma, Kate. I wish I knew what kind of advice to give. It seems that immigration issues are world-wide.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris says:

    Kate,

    We seem to have become enamored with ‘sound bites’ instead of really digging into an issue and thinking it through. That we will disagree is natural and healthy. What is not healthy is accepting at face value what someone says is truth without checking in with our hearts, minds and guts. You have the right of it. I’ve worked with and admired many who came here to better themselves. Let’s face it, if we were to make ‘sound bites’ of some of the people in our country’s history, I’m not sure we’d react the same way.

    The axiom, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, may be appropriate here. Great post, and I hope you will get to publish your story. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    • katewyland says:

      Thanks for commenting Doris. Unfortunately, bias against immigrants has been a common theme in our history, with some really unfortunate results. I hope we don’t repeat those mistakes.

      Like

  3. Very timely and thoughtful post, Kate. I totally agree that the environment right now is so toxic when it comes to immigration (and many things for that matter) that I understand your hesitation to send out your book. I think if you believe wholeheartedly in it, the current political climate may actually help it? I honestly don’t know. Living in Southern California most of my life, I’ve worked alongside many illegal immigrants I’m sure (working in the restaurant industry). I also come from a family of immigrants (my dad came from Taiwan and my mom is Canadian) and I didn’t become a naturalized citizen until I was 14. I strongly believe that this country was founded on the ideals of people trying to better themselves and seeking opportunities they couldn’t elsewhere. It’s a scary situation we’re in now that is rampant worldwide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • katewyland says:

      It is scary right now. I just hope things will calm down and more rational ideas will prevail. Unless you’re Native American, we’re all descendants of immigrants. I’m not going to give up on my book, but I might delay it. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  4. Mike Staton says:

    I’ve read and studied my share of American history over the years, including many courses in college. I learned that anti-immigrant sentiment has been a part of the American fabric for a long, long time. The laborers who built the transcontinental railroad, the Chinese and Irish, face hostility in the 19th century. And these kinds of problems seem to intensify during troubling economic times, like now. Over the last couple of years, I’ve watched some documentaries following illegals from Central American countries running away from drug lords. In a way, America’s hunger for the drug lords’ product has helped create our illegal immigrant problem. I’ve been booed down on Facebook for saying that, but perhaps the ones who didn’t like my post were not familiar with the seedier aspects of American life. A bit earlier tonight I was watching a documentary about the linkage of drugs and prostitution in this country.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      You’re so right, bad economic times always increase sentiment against “others.” I’m having a hard time stomaching the vitriol and prejudice. And the fact that it’s sanctioned by national leaders.

      Like

  5. Wranglers says:

    I think people overlook the key word (Legal or Illegal). I will say that my husband stood in day labor in Texas and day after day he was passed over for Mexican men. I don’t know if they were legal or illegal, but he had a wife and two kids that needed to be fed. My husband is US born and raised. He’s paid taxes since he was a teen. I think another issue is there are many, many naturalized citizens who are without work. BTW, I and my parents worked in big Tomato Fields, it is back breaking, my husband dug footers in the hot Florida Sun (he got giant blisters, through his T-shirt. There are Mexicans in each state and the legal ones I talked to say the same as other people say, Come in legally. Four times Immigration has been stopped to make America stronger or safer, and then the doors were opened again. If we could just get the industry back in the US, then we could be in better conditions to help others, but right now we are in deep ourselves. We need to get out of foreign countries and get things back in the US. California and southern AZ, NM, and TX have always had a large Mexican population. I have friends who are Mexican and live in TX, but they are legal. I’ve taken all kinds of toys and other items to a Mexican Orphanage, I send money every year, along with our church, The Salvation Army, to the Mexican Orphanages. We raise and send 100 % of what we raise to Mexico, and it’s a lot. We also raise money for World Services. I say this to show, I have compassion, but again, let’s get us cleaned up and then help countries. Sorry, I high-jacked your comments. As far as your books goes, I believe it depends on exactly what is promoted in the book, and how much is promoted, and if your facts are true (if you have any facts in it). Cher’ley

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      The problems caused by off-shoring and the decline of manufacturing have nothing to do with immigration. It’s just scapegoating again. And Nothing justifies the hatred, bigotry and racism being spouted. It just adds to our problems.

      Like

      • Wranglers says:

        There’s only one sentence about outsourcing, the rest deals directly about Illegals. There is a difference between immigration and entering the country illegally. I also talk about The women in The Salvation Army having raffles, and collections to raise money for the poor in Mexico, thousands of dollars, we are helping them in their own country. I don’t think people hate the other people, but they hate that they come in illegally and pay no taxes, and the taxpayers end up supporting them. We have enough legal citizens to help with welfare, food stamps, and medical needs. That’s what I hear from people I know.

        Like

    • katewyland says:

      Here’s an interesting article about illegal immigration that supplies lots of facts. http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/debunking-immigration-myths-in-the-united-states.html

      Like

  6. wyoauthor1 says:

    Kate, I agree whole-heartedly with you. Hatred has spiraled and as a woman with Native American ancestry whose father has ruddy-colored skin and was born and raised in the south, I am quite familiar with the slurs and contempt Caucasions have shown and do harbor. If only my Native ancestors had banded together better, perhaps more Europeans would have returned to Europe and there would have been no reservations, cotton field slave shacks, or interment camps.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      Unfortunately, discrimination, i.e. fear of the other, is part of every society. Given America is a nation of immigrants, it would be nice if that were not true here.
      If the Indian tribes hadn’t been decimated by European diseases they might have able able to control the immigrants swamping their shores. We’d certainly have a very different country. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Kate. Of course, I am very biased when it comes to illegal immigrants (esp from Mexico). Having lived in their country for 8 years and being treated with dignity and respect from everyone I met, I have a real problem with those in our country who treat those very people despicably. They are willing do to any menial job to make money. That money is sent home to make a better life for those they left behind. I hate the political platform on this situation and fully believe that those illegals who have been in our country for many years should be grandfathered in. Then our country can make decsions about what happens next. We have a long way to g.

    Liked by 1 person

    • katewyland says:

      I agree. We need to forgo the rhetoric and really think about what works best. The interesting thing is that most of the first world countries are losing population, which is going to hurt their economies. The US is actually growing because of immigration, which is going to put us in a better position. There are so many sides to this story.

      Like

  8. Joe Stephens says:

    There are no perfect answers, but we simply can’t support what’s going on much longer. I don’t pretend to know what’s best, but I know that’s not what we have now.

    Like

  9. S J Brown says:

    I don’t have any answers to the immigration issues. But I do think if you are proud of the work you have done on this book and the message it relays, then you should publish it. The upcoming election should have no bearing on the work you have put into this book. I don’t think there will be one defining answer to the immigration issues any time soon. There is no easy answer immigration is a complex issues with many sides.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      Actually, this discussion made up my mind for me. I will publish it because I might be able to further the discussion. Not why I wrote the book. It’s really about using horses for psychotherapy with a mystery thrown in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love your reasoning behind publishing it, Kate. I think you should publish it anyway if you love the story and want to see it out in the world, but if it furthers discourse about immigration, then all the more power to you. Cheers!

        Like

  10. Travis says:

    I’m glad you brought this up Kate. I just found out Sarah has only been naturalized for a couple of years. 🙂 Immigration is a complex topic that can’t be condensed into a slogan and angry emotions. Unless your Native American, your decedents are immigrants if you live in the US. There are times in the political debate (or is it loud monologues without listening to the other side?) that I think we should tear down the Statue of Liberty. Because the words “Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to be free” are valid and apart of American values or they are not. As Mike pointed out above, some immigrants have had a hard go throughout our 240 years. I would like to figure out a way to have 3-6-9 month work visas of migrant laborers, asylum (temporary or permanent) for children caught in the drug wars, (Yes it is our American addiction to illegal drugs that causes this problem. If nobody bought the product there would be less violence.) and naturalization for those who have lived and worked in this country for decades. Many do pay taxes under false names and will never collect a dime of Social Security, unemployment, etc. But others are paid under the table which helps nobody. I’d love to see a post by Cherley (if you don’t mind) about hard labor. I feel the worst work often has the most exploitation (wages and uncertainty) and that it is something that needs to be talked about regardless of skin color or citizenship. If there is fair wages for work things might be different in regards to immigration and unemployment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I met a very smart and poised young lady who wrote a book called “My Underground American Dream.” It’s the story of her journey as an undocumented immigrant. Basically, she came here legally when she was very young, but then her parents didn’t tell her her work visa expired. She worked hard in this country, getting excellent grades, and excelling only to discover she was now an illegal immigrant. It’s a powerful book that I highly recommend. It sheds light on a different side of immigration: those who aren’t taking the more “menial” jobs but are working high-paying jobs as an illegal immigrant. Here’s the Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28450772-my-underground-american-dream

      Like

    • katewyland says:

      Many years ago I worked for a federal “Basic Skills” program, teaching farm workers reading (which necessitated teaching English) and math skills. As part of the program I had to do home visits. The conditions a good many of them lived in were appalling–one family lived in a barn where you could see daylight between the boards. Most of them were “braceros” imported from Mexico to do the field work Americans wouldn’t. But many of them lived here full time. I truly sympathized with Cesar Chavez’s move to unionize the workers. At least today, I see water stations, covered eating areas and porta-pottys along side the fields. Conditions have improved some, but the unscrupulous will always try to take advantage of the weak.

      Like

      • Travis says:

        Have you read Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle? It takes pace in Southern California with a distinct separation between gated community and illegal laborers living in creek dry beds. I hope you put some of your work in in the Basic Skills program into the book. Although it’s uncomfortable, I think it’s best to write books that represent the conflicts and stress of the time. Best of luck!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s