Tag Archives: immigrants

Taxing Our Patience

Taxing our Patience   —by Jinny Batterson

(A piece of doggerel for this year’s “tax day.” With slight adjustments in meter, it can be sung to the tune of the final verse of  “When You’re Lying Awake (with a Dreadful Headache)” from the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera “Iolanthe.”)

When in the course, the R’s chose a dark horse
And the airwaves with hate speech kept humming,
It seemed plausible to me that from sea to sea,
Pretty soon there’d be bad vibes a’coming.

His campaign harkened back to America’s past,
With a hint of nostalgic bravado–
His portly physique and his combover sleek
Could put one in mind of the Mikado.

In debates loud he slashed, his opponents he bashed,
With occasional other-aimed insults.
He could stalk and could preen, dominate every scene
Upstage everyone else to get results.

As November drew near, he switched into high gear,
Jetting to campaign in the heartland:
He would bring back lost jobs, toss out swampland nabobs,
Salve the pride of those unfairly canned.

On Election night pundits discussed the close run: “It
May take ’til morning on this one,”
Then rust belt results tilted red by some thousands–
Electors would make sure the mogul had won. 

Well who needs briefing books, we’ll throw out the old crooks,
We’ll install our first staff, most of them will not last,
If “you’re fired” does not work, I can make you resign,
It’s reality TV almost all of the time, and if you get indicted
Defense is your dime, I’ve got meetings with Kim,
You can sink or can swim, it’s the same to me
Long as I’m center of global attention.
Immigrants cause all mess, we must care for them less.

Four-year terms can be long, ditto, ditto this song—
Please God, let them soon both be over! 

The Spiteful Colossus–Thoughts on Immigration

The Spiteful Colossus–Thoughts on Immigration    —by Jinny Batterson

(with apologies to Emma Lazarus, Irving Berlin, and my immigrant ancestors)

When I was in high school during the tumultuous 1960’s,  our social problems were far from solved,  but many of us believed that everyone deserved a chance at a better life in this, our nation of immigrants. Our high school chorus performed Irving Berlin’s setting of part of an earlier poem by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(for a more recent performance, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc4NFmutvu8)

The entire poem, “The New Colossus,” was written in 1883 to help raise funds for the installation of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. The author worked with immigrants in the slums of New York City.  She wanted to contrast the self-serving colossal monuments of the past with the more inclusive symbol of “Lady Liberty.” The poem is now inscribed on a plaque in the statue’s pedestal. Based on the behavior of our current president, perhaps the original lyric and the welcome it represented are outdated. Here’s an up-to-date version:

Give me your proud, your brash,
Your bullier of all who disagree,
A power hungry guy, his language, “cash”–
View, now, in our advanced democracy
A leader short on substance, long on flash.

Give me your pundits, do,
Your instant analysts of what’s been said
Your slick purveyors of a point of view
Say, do these telegenic talking heads
Rehash old prejudice disguised as news?

Take back your tired, your poor,
Tell huddled masses breathing is not free
No wretched refuse blots our pristine shores–
Go back, the homeless, war-torn, lost. You see,
I’ve doused my lamp and firmly shut the door.