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The Bizarre Case Of Elian Gonzalez


The situation surrounding the six year old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, would be a farce if it were not so pathetic. In any case it is instructive as to the perceptions and values of the players involved, the players of which little Elian is apparently the least prominent and the least deserving of consideration, lip service to the contrary aside.

If you don't know the basics of the story; Elian was picked out of the water off the Florida coast on Thanksgiving day, survivor of a sea disaster in which his mother drowned. He is, as of this writing, with relatives in Florida. His father, still in Cuba, wants the kid back. Legally, he is likely entitled to custody of his son, or so the regime in Washington has ruled. Relatives in Florida insist the Elian's mother died trying to bring her child out of dictator ruled Cuba and that the child should remain with them in the states. Of incident, Elian's parents were divorced sometime before his mother's death.

All things being equal, the kid should likely be returned to the custody of his father who is his closest living relative. Were the kid from, say, California and his mother had died transporting him to New York, there would be no issue. But Cuba is not California. Cuba is a totalitarian dictatorship and the fight over returning Elian to his father's care has become an international incident.

Through all this, no one seems to have seriously inquired of the child what his wishes are. Attorney General Janet Reno insists a six year old is too young to know what's best for him. The Attorney General, however, in her infinite wisdom is fully capable of deciding for the child much in the same vein the Washington regime knows what is best for all of us "ordinary Americans".

What strikes me as most interesting about little Elian and his eventual fate are those who surround him and where they come down on this case and, more importantly, their reasons for their choice.

I have watched the 1940's movie "Casablanca" quite a few times over the past several years and consider it one of the better of Hollywood's efforts. Aside from the sheer enjoyment of watching the actors go through their paces and watching the plot to the movie unfold, it is interesting to see the almost mythological reverence with which the "refugees" regard America. Their lives center around reaching America, a place that they appear to equate with paradise. No doubt, fleeing from Nazi Germany, America might be thought of as not too far removed from paradise. While "Casablanca" is standard fare Hollywood pot boiler, or was produced as such, the view of America from Nazi threatened Europe is not that far from the truth. Refugees who escaped Hitler's Germany were fleeing hell. By comparison, America looked pretty good.

On a more contemporary note, while the fight for custody of little Elian Gonzalez was in the news, it shared front page space with the uncovering of a smuggling ring that shipped oriental refugees to the United States in large packing crates. In the most publicized case, several of the persons inside the crate of a recent shipment died en route. Those who survived were in fairly poor condition. Those who chose this method of entry into the United States were apparently promised they could look forward to working ten years or more at dead end low paying jobs that most Americans would consider beneath their dignity. American citizens would not soil their hands with such demeaning work. Illegal immigrants would willingly so soil their hands with such jobs and would consider it a worthwhile price to pay for escape from their homeland. That attitude on the part of people who must literally place their lives and future at peril to enter the United States tells us something of conditions in the country from which they fled.

While the men who died attempting to enter the United States in shipping crates made the evening news and while little six year old Elian is on the front pages of the nation's newspapers, the thousands of illegal aliens who daily infiltrate this country's Mexican and Canadian borders are so routine no one except the border patrol notices.

These people are not coming into this country lured by our bimbo chasing president's health care initiative, nor are they coming to join the first lady's campaign to satisfy her own political ambitions. These people are coming because they believe America offers them a chance to better their own lives. They believe they will have fewer bureaucratic restrictions upon the kind of life they can achieve than is possible in China, in Mexico, in Haiti or in, say, Cuba.

The people who insist little Elian Gonzalez should be returned to Cuba are saying that all those hundreds of thousands of people who dream of coming to America are chasing a will 'o the wisp pipe dream. They are saying life is just as rewarding in China, Mexico, or Cuba as in America. They are saying they see no difference in Castro and the bimbo chasing executive in the White House.

Perchance they are correct in their perceptions. Clinton seems on pretty good terms with most of the scum and two bit dictators that pock mark the world's surface.

It would indeed be sad if the country that once shown as a beacon on a hill to the world's oppressed had come to the end of the twentieth century as just another bureaucrat infested people's state.