“Bug Out” was a derisive term that emerged out of the Korean War after the U.S. Army hastily retreated from it’s holding position during attack. We abandoned our positions and fled en mass as the Chinese overran our positions. They “bugged out” the same way a cockroach flees when the lights are turned on. Weapons, equipment and radios were all left behind in the hasty retreat. That retreat by the U.S. Army left our Marine Corps brethren totally exposed on their right flank, which enabled the Chinese to completely surround the Marines.
The Marine Corps were able to extract themselves from this precarious situation by doing a retrograde to the Chosin Reservoir and narrowly escaping the Chinese horde. Had it not been for the Marines bravery and resiliency, the outcome would most likely have been a total disaster for them.
The term “bug out” came to mind as I sat watching the Twin Towers come down 0n 9/11/01. Earlier that day, I had been in Tower 5 , one of the buildings connected to the World Financial Center, and was able to escape with my life. Later that same afternoon, my wife and I, joined by friends, gathered on the lawn opposite the Twin Towers to watch the inferno while trying to gain some understanding of what had just happened.
At the time, we lived in a community in Jersey City populated with many people from Latin America. These were our friends…Brazilians, Argentinians and Mexicans to name just a few. For the most part, we all worked in the banking sector and our lives were connected by families and jobs. Since I spoke Spanish fluently, most had no idea I was an American or that I had served in the military. They all thought I was an immigrant, like them, who was here under a work visa.
While they were all dismayed and distraught by the events on 9/11, to a person they all had the same plan in mind, to bug out, to leave the country as quickly as possible. The day before they were all happy living and working in the U.S., thrilled that they had high paying jobs and great careers as they had been unable to find these opportunities in their home countries. Yet, on the day of the attacks, they were already beginning to pack their bags and head home to, what they perceived to be, safer venues.
In a sense I could understand their concern. They were foreigners in a foreign land and, consequently, had no horse in the race. The U.S was being attacked and they were not willing to risk their lives as they were not Americans. They all wanted to leave. I get that…to a point. On the other hand, they were willing to reap all the benefits American society had to offer them as long as they didn’t have to assume any of the responsibilities that citizenship required.
In essence, this is the problem of immigration (illegal and legal). If the only reason people want to come here is to extract benefits, in the case of my neighbors and high paying jobs, how was is that group of people any different from the illegal aliens who come here for free government benefits? Neither group is here to benefit the country, only themselves.
When I was in the Marines, I had the honor of serving with a Marine from Ireland and one from the Dominican Republic, both of whom had joined the Marines as a path to citizenship. They served with honor and would have paid the ultimate price for this country. However, when I worked in the banking sector I was surrounded by foreigners whose main aim was to make as much money as possible and then “head home.” Hardly any of them had any real interest in understanding the country and the sacrifices people have made to make this country an economic juggernaut. Admittedly, not all of them were like this; but, the majority was.
There is clearly something awry with an immigration policy that allows in economic “hit-men” (and women) whose sole purpose is to get as much money as possible from the American companies they work for and take it elsewhere.
Part of the reason Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls is his “pro U.S. worker” message. The middle class has felt the economic squeeze via illegal immigration as these immigrants compete with the middle class for jobs. Yet these same immigrants don’t pay any of the taxes for publicly funded programs, such as education and health care. The middle class feels unduly burdened because they are taking the hit and paying for it, too.
The white collar worker has felt the brunt of legal immigration, especially in banking and technology sectors via the HB-1 visa program which now pits Americans against immigrants for these high paying jobs. Many corporations know these immigrants will work for less performing the same job. The recent Disney scandal where American workers were forced to train their foreign replacements as a precondition for receiving termination benefits shows the great lengths to which American employers will go to bring in cheap labor.
The United States was founded on principles of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Many Americans and countless families have paid the ultimate price for this great nation’s founding and its existence ever since. Today many people, especially the young, are attracted to the financial structure of socialism..being sold as an alternative to capitalism. But economic socialism is a derivative of a failed political system: Socialism. Capitalism is not. It is a purely economic model…one which has brought more wealth and innovation to the Western world, and more economic relief to the world in general, than any other in human history.
We were not meant to be a system of commerce where each and every transaction is to be judged by its optimal economic return. The immigration policies that the U.S has created, which incentivize illegal immigration by way of free benefits, undermines the ability of capitalism and free markets to self-correct.
Ultimately, the brilliance of the American citizen, and in particular the American worker, is that we are a nation that was built on showing up and staying the course…not bugging out. The path to citizenship should be one that honors that history.