Observations About the 2022 Mid-Term Elections
As a person who majored in political science and has been engaged actively in public
On December 31, 2011, I watched a Connecticut Public TV special called From Hitler to Hollywood. It caught my attention because it profiled the process by which the German and Central European film industry was built between the end of World War I and 1933, dismantled by Hitler because a significant part of the film industry participants were Jewish, and then recreated in Hollywood between 1933 and 1945.
There were several noteworthy insights from the program:
As an aside, we underestimate the importance of support from abroad in almost every attempt to rebel against totalitarian governments. I saw this in the early 1980’s when I walked by the Holy Name Church in the South End of Stamford, Connecticut, a Polish church that was clearly soliciting money from both parishioners and members of the public to support the Solidarity movement in Poland.
The Casablanca stories were inspiring and tragic. Madeleine LeBeau, who played Yvonne, the lover spurned by Rick, fled France, along with her Jewish actor husband Marcel Dalio, who played the croupier. They had a very circuitous route to America, having to get to Portugal, to Mexico, and to Canada, before having the opportunity to enter the United States. S.K. Sakall, who played Carl, the waiter, fled Hungary and lost three of his sisters in concentration camps.
However difficult our lives are in America or in other parts of the world, we should remember that there are individuals today who are living far away from where they started or would like to be living. Moreover, most of us are not living in a war zone, and we have far more creature comforts than people living middle or even upper middle class lives had 1-2 generations ago. As I write this, I am sitting in a very comfortable Starbucks restaurant in Darien, Connecticut, and enjoying a great morning cup of coffee (I usually go to another coffee shop, but it is New Year’s Day and nothing much is open here.)
The other lesson I took from this documentary is that we should reconsider our ridiculously restrictive immigration policies. We should be able to distinguish between criminals and terrorists, whom we do not want to admit to America, and those with great skills and capabilities, who will enrich our country and create opportunities for many Americans lacking those opportunities today. That is the argument persuasively made in the book Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism by Robert Guest.
Finally, we should recognize that an untapped source of support for people in developing economies is the direct transfer of money from individual to individual. The major, centralized government programs, or even the programs developed by not-for-profit organizations often have too much waste, too many centrally-imposed conditions, and too many intermediaries to be as effective as direct money transfers. Let’s encourage more efficient money transfer from rich to poor than we do today.
Most of all, as we look ahead to what is often an uncertain and somewhat frightening future, we should take stock of how blessed we are, and how grateful we should be, for those who fought for our freedom generation after generation.