#457, May 21 , 2007
COLUMBUS: President Bush and Congress finally agreed on something, Immigration Reform. Only problem is, while they agree with each other, nobody agrees with them.
Americans have been trained by the government to suspect anything called Reform.
For example, they give us tax reform, and the next year our taxes increase. Welfare reform, and the money spent on welfare increases. So why would anyone think immigration reform will cause immigration to decrease.
Let me tell you a true story. It is the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth. If you’ve read it before, it’s worth reading again.
Once upon a time, a nation prospered in peace and affluence for many years. But trouble lay just across the border. The neighboring land was over populated and the people eyed the vast inviting lands with envy. For a few years small numbers of “intruders” would sneak across the boundary, and the government would catch them and kick them out. But many avoided detection, sort of blending in, and many more intruders followed.
Before long the intruders were pouring into the nation. Some were there legitimately as employees, but others sneaked in and each claimed a piece of the foreign land as their own. They didn’t pay for it, just squatted on it. Quite a few of the intruders were armed criminals who crossed the border to keep from going to prison.
Finally, a prominent local citizen got so annoyed he wrote a letter to his national leader. “Are we powerless to enforce our own laws? Are we to submit to such great wrongs by these men who are not citizens? Our laws are not enforced. Men are hauling away our cattle in open violation of the law and the sheriff knows it. Timber is being cut and taken away while the sheriff watches. How in the world can we hold up as a nation when our officers don’t respect the law and the oath they have taken to uphold the law.”
About two years later a small portion of the nation relented and sold, for a pittance, a substantial section of land that got turned over to the intruders. Do you think that satisfied the intruder population? Not on your life. It just created more pressure on the nation to open its borders.
The biggest business in the nation lobbied relentlessly to allow even more intruders. They claimed an expanding intruder population was essential to economic growth in the nation.
Sound familiar? Any idea yet where this “nation” is?
Let’s go on. Seeing the looming conflict in this particular nation, the U. S. Congress jumped into the fray, led by a Senator from Massachusetts. After much rhetoric and debate Congress made a decision: they came down firmly on the side of the Intruders.
How could this be? Even the Senator from Massachusetts admitted the nation was prosperous, “Although a tiny number of individuals control about one-seventh of the nation’s wealth (land) there is not a family in the entire nation without a home. There is not a pauper in the nation, and the nation does not owe a single dollar.”
Now who could ask for more than that? But this prosperity was not good enough to satisfy the U.S. Congress and keep this nation intact and protected from Intruders.
Congress created a Commission to negotiate with a delegation of representatives from the nation. One of those representatives was the “prominent local citizen” quoted above. He soon became peeved at the delegation’s inability to agree on what their position should be.
Five years after the U.S. government got involved, and all the negotiating was over with, Congress passed a bill abolishing the laws of this “nation”. Congress also mandated that all land be divided up equally among its citizens.
The end of a nation as we knew it occurred in 1898.
The Senator from Massachusetts was Henry Dawes, head of the Dawes Commission. The bill passed by Congress was the Curtis Act. The Intruders were mainly from Kansas and Arkansas. The big business encouraging the Intruders was the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which built a line through the nation in 1889.
Have you guessed it yet?
The “nation” was the Cherokee Nation. It was part of Indian Territory which in 1907 became the state of Oklahoma.
The “prominent local citizen” (who also helped write the state constitution for Oklahoma), was Clem Rogers, father of Will Rogers.
To quote another prominent Oklahoma native, Paul Harvey: “And now you know the rest of the story.”
Well, a hundred years later in 2007, another Massachusetts Senator is a leader for Immigration Reform. Big business is applauding from the sideline. And the nation’s accumulated wealth is to be shared with the Intruders.
Of course, not everyone agrees. They say, “You can’t compare the Cherokee Nation to our nation today.”
Perhaps in another hundred years, 2107, another comedian will write a syndicated newspaper column titled, “End of a Nation.” The question to ponder today is, do you think those newspapers will be published in English?
(A primary source for the facts in the story is Ben Yagoda’s 1993 biography of Will Rogers.)