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Author of this essay:

Ven. Ming Zhen Shakya
(May 27, 2009)

By Ming Zhen Shakya

Sherlock Holmes, in modern Zen lingo, was a "solar thinker." He didn't pre-judge; he didn't allow "lunar" emotion to influence his reasoning; and he gave equal evidentiary consideration to what was amiss in its presence and to what was amiss in its absence. This is Right Thinking.

The ability to evaluate both kinds of evidence is best illustrated in his solution to the mystery of the theft of Silver Blaze, a race horse that was the heavy favorite to win an important race.

The owner's stable, being small, was amply guarded by three resident stable boys and a vicious dog who were always on duty; the young men even taking turns staying awake each night. On the night the horse was stolen, the guarding stable boy's dinner had been laced with opium, and the young man slept while someone entered the stable, bridled the valuable horse, and silently led it away.

A variety of clues exonerated the stable boys; and the authorities quickly suspected a local bookmaker who would have benefited from the horse's disappearance. But Holmes dismissed this suspicion as unfounded. It was the trainer who had taken the horse, he explained to the owner, since only he could have entered the stable surreptitiously. The owner was confused:

"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" he asked.

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." Holmes answered.

"But the dog did nothing in the night time."

"That was the curious incident." remarked Sherlock Holmes.

One of the first rules in public relations is to direct the target audience away from the negative aspects of the client by focussing on a few positive aspects of his career around which a properly euphemistic slogan can be created. The aim is not only to capture and reinforce sentiment sufficient to establish the client's aims as being "politically correct," but to get the target audience emotionally involved as heroic supporters. Negative information which may later surface will first be dismissed as opposition propaganda; and only later, when enough of it is revealed, will anyone come to regret his initial naivete.

Emotion has a way of blinding us to reason. If only we restrained our emotions and took the time to examine the whole picture at the outset, those negative spaces might be filled in and regardless of whether our judgment proved to be right or wrong, we could at least say that we "thought it through." "Thinking" means that we've considered both the pros and cons and that we've looked ahead to what we expected was a logical conclusion. This also means that as in the case of the missing race horse, we are careful to remember that what is not revealed is often far more important than what is proffered for our inspection.

For example, it is a euphemism to call illegal aliens "undocumented workers." The issue is simply that these people are aliens and that they are in the United States illegally. Their personal motives or their qualities as individuals is not at issue. They may be saints or they may be escapees from insane asylums. We do not know. Most have not obtained passports and therefore do not have permission to exit and re-enter their own countries; and they obviously have not received permission to enter ours by presenting themselves to a consulate for a visa. The public relations' appeal to sentiment is found in the insistence that these people are honest souls who simply want to work, to earn and realize the American Dream, a dream that we ought to appreciate since we are all - except for Native Americans, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Further, these undocumented workers are said to be willing to do those jobs that other Americans are unwilling to do. What is stressed, then, is the labor they supply.

Nobody stops to think that we have Child Labor laws in this country; and if these undocumented workers are doing any jobs Americans do not care to do, they are shamelessly breaking those laws. In fact, these undocumented workers are mostly kids who are in school, the families of those illegal aliens. News is always "hot topic" - drugs and terrorism. Nobody worries about the high cost of teaching "English as a second language" (ESL), a cost that must be born by home owners, since, usually, it is their taxes that support the local education departments. But it is more than just school. In sanctuary cities, for example, these undocumented worker families are supplied with Welfare benefits, ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) services, medicaid and other assorted free services and they are considered legitimate "minority members." California is a case in point.

I remember a time, not too long ago, when no matter what language a child spoke - if he came from the innermost village in Borneo and spoke a language unknown to the world until Margaret Mead recorded it, it was imperative that California's educational system provide that child with a person who spoke that language and could ease him into American life.

That fantastic provision was dispelled eventually; but the political, professional, and commercial interests that profited from those mostly federally-funded welfare benefits lobbied the legislature and hired PR people so that nothing substantive was changed. Illegal aliens were still treated as legal immigrants and minority members. Nobody noticed that the victims of this violation of law were citizens of African American descent.

First, every tax payer ought to be cognizant of his state's contribution to the cost of educating illegal aliens. The list below is four years old and if there is any exaggeration in the numbers (and we do not know that there is) by our current 2009 renderings, those exaggerations are doubtlessly now conservative.

Remember: each decimal point has to be moved six places to the right. This is a lot of money.


Years ago I had written an expose for a newspaper in which I listed some of the unanticipated results of certain social legislation. The piece was to have been a three or four part series; one section of which was intended to be devoted to the inequities of Affirmative Action. The first that was published, however, showed how the intention to give food, clothing, and shelter to poor kids was the noble selling point for the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program. What no one had anticipated was the number of teen aged girls who would get pregnant so that they could collect these benefits. Since the allocation was "per child" many mothers who were already collecting benefits deliberately sought to get pregnant again to increase their monthly checks. Worse, their children were virtually mandated to grow up fatherless since fathers could not legally live in the same house with their families if the children were receiving ADC benefits. It was expected that these fathers would pay child support; but African American men rarely had jobs that paid enough to support a family. Teenage mothers and absentee fathers did not bode well for upwardly mobile black families. It was a perplexing situation. The honorable solution was Affirmative Action which would begin to redress years of discrimination by forcing university admission' boards, trade unions and other employers to enroll or hire African Americans even though their level of education was less than other applicants. "Separate but Equal" educational opportunity had been proven to be another one of those slick euphemisms. Ghetto schools serviced Ghetto neighborhoods and the rates of graduation were abysmal. The circle of poverty produced a lack of education which produced poverty, ad infinitum. The circle had to be broken at some point. Employers and universities were assisted in helping these people to make the transition. Busing, however unpopular, also helped.

Affirmative Action was controversial at first, but as such historians as Roger Wilkins has pointed out, "blacks have a 375-year history on this continent: 245 involving slavery, 100 involving legalized discrimination, and only 30 involving anything else." In 1964, aside from federal offices, there were no or few black women clerks in the business world; and no or few black males in the professions - at least those who served outside strictly black communities. Affirmative action, estimated to last for one generation, seemed a reasonable, albeit inadequate, compensation to people who had been enslaved and discriminated against for generations.

But African American leaders wanted "equality" for all - and while this certainly sounded noble, nobody thought it through. Profiteers and their PR people saw a way of squeezing more money out of Washington.

I had originally been prompted to write the series because of a conversation I had had with a young African-American man who had failed to get into law school because of Affirmative Action. This seemed implausible. He said he spoke for many individuals such as he. This was the first time I had heard such a thing. Initially, I doubted his qualifications, but he showed me his LSAT score - it was a very respectable score as was his CV. That a group of scholars should deny him admission seemed irrational. Only politics and religion are capable of such irrationality.

I personally recalled the events that led to his predicament. In 1948 President Harry Truman, a man of integrity and boldness, integrated the U.S. military and decreed that federal agencies could not discriminate against African Americans. Southern states immediately withdrew from the Democrat Party and formed the Dixiecrat Party and ran their own candidates for president - among them, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Harry Byrd of Virginia, and George Wallace of Alabama. For years the Dixiecrat Party flourished while a bevy of racial atrocities provoked a determined national effort to redress the problem of racial discrimination. The 1964 Civil Rights Act set the country on a proper course.

But the young black man who couldn't get into law school had lost his seat to a Korean. "When," he asked me, "did we ever enslave Koreans or any other people except blacks?" Hmmm. Good question! He was grouped with hispanics and asians who were considered as worthy a minority as he. The Rainbow Coalition had a pot of gold at the end of it and it wasn't being given to the people for whom it had been intended. Minority admission had a quota and when the quota was filled, the law had been complied with. Anyone who wasn't a white Christian male was a minority member.

The publication of the first part of my series also included statistics regarding medical benefits for ADC. Aside from routine medical care, expensive orthodontics and obstetrical services were supplied. And if the ADC mother did not have transportation, the state would furnish her with a taxi to take her and the child to and from the orthodontist's office. Naturally, many tax paying citizens who could not afford expensive obstetrical care or orthodontics and had to resort to mid-wives and letting their kids struggle with bucked teeth, resented that non-working ADC recipients got the best in obstetric and dental services free. I listed many strange and mysterious instances where good will had gone wrong. I wrote the article for a morning newspaper and my phone literally rang off the hook, starting at dawn. My address and phone number were published in the phone book and the paper correctly spelled my name in the byline. I listened to so many sympathetic but nevertheless irate and often heartbreaking stories that I abandoned the series.

Welfare benefits have become bizarre, particularly in California, as was recently seen when an unemployed and unmarried woman had 14 extremely expensive in-vitro fertilized ADC babies. Considering the per-child allotment, it is no wonder she has a new home, a fleet of nannies, and is writing a book. So far the state is continuing to pick up the tab for all her expenses.

This is not liberal madness. A liberal believes that there is a need for a change in the status quo and he works to create that change. No liberal intends to manufacture poor people and flood the United States with impoverished illegal aliens. He believes in a broad interpretation of the Constitution. He does not believe in destroying it.

On TV last week a young American couple was interviewed. They had just been presented with thousands of dollars worth of medical bills from a hospital for the delivery of their child who was now about four months old. It seems the company the husband worked for had not paid the insurance premiums and so the insurance he had relied upon was non-existent. These young parents are about to lose everything they ever worked for.

All over the world, the conditions under which poor people live make them vulnerable to communicable diseases and pestilence - malaria, parasitic worms, tuberculosis, lice, bed bugs, and so on, and, being usually uneducated, they have few marketable skills. When they enter a country illegally, they often take domestic jobs or other under-the-table "contract" labor and they therefore pay no taxes. But politics is such that, especially in the U.S.'s sanctuary cities, they are permitted to register to vote. The party that grants them such largesse benefits from this illegal voting. Many religious organizations, too, consider it their duty to flaunt Federal law and offer assistance to those persons who have illegally entered the country. Instead of being champions of law-breaking, they would be truer to their callings if they went into ghettos and built playgrounds, care centers for the elderly and for the children of working mothers. Perhaps if they set examples of lawful charity, they would inspire more kids to follow them into clerical careers.

The awful reality is that political action groups under the guise of helping poor African American citizen families - the very families that Affirmative Action was intended to help fifty years ago - are actually corrupting the election process by registering non-citizens to vote; and casual observers who are easily swayed by emotional slogans continue to support their efforts.

I remember how proud i felt when I read John F. Kennedy's Profiles In Courage. It was wonderful to see how a politician, at the command of his own conscience, could transform himself into a statesman. Now when I think of the book that still sits on my shelf, I could weep.

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