• Polito's take: Don't cut the line


    We're heading back to Thorndyke Road School. My venerable grammar school provided a solid foundation of the three Rs and a healthy dose of valuable life lessons. Before Robert Fulgram wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, I had already been indoctrinated in the philosophy of Miss Ruane.  Her kindergarten class was a temple of love, learning and well behaved kids. Like a military drill instructor, she demanded order and discipline when it came time to line up for things like recess, dismissal and fire drills. There were occasions when we would ask a friend for "cuts." That meant you could enter the line in a more preferred spot. Heaven help you if Miss Ruane witnessed this blatant disregard for the rules of order and fairness. You were immediately forced to take the walk of shame to the back of the line.

    Sadly, Miss Ruane's lessons of fairness are not being considered in the current illegal immigration debate. I'm assuming that she would be horrified to learn that people who cut the line may be allowed to hold their ill-gotten advantage, while those who followed the rules will be forced to accept the injustice.

    A few years ago, I helped an legal immigrant study for her citizenship test. I'm happy to say that she passed with flying colors and is now a grateful and productive American citizen. I attended her swearing in ceremony at Faneuil Hall and felt a great sense of pride that I had helped someone to become an American. I was reminded of my grandfather. He landed at Ellis Island in 1909 seeking a better life for his family.

    This is why I am so befuddled by those who would call people like me anti-immigrant. I am no more anti-immigrant than Miss Ruane was anti-child. Like her, I believe in fairness and order. I want rewards for those who do the right thing and consequences for those who do not. The child who cut the recess line was not prohibited from going to recess; they just had to wait their turn.

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