European Union officials were quick to chastise Switzerland for its decision over the weekend to limit the flow of workers across its borders.
Switzerland quickly responded that the decision applied only to humans not to money. Their motto is not dissimilar to the Emma Lazarus poem on the statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired from partying, your rich dictators, your coddled messes, yearning to spend freely."
Euroskeptic far right parties were emboldened by the Swiss vote. Emboldened, heck, they were giddy! Incidentally, Euroskeptic is a psychological condition afflicting those who see the reality of the EU, but wish they could click their heels together and make it disappear.
What they really want is for the people who are not "European" to go away. The problem is, they keep making Europe larger. And, because it's not really that hard to get into Europe, everyone is coming this way. But why now?
For decades, the poor folks in the rough parts of the world didn't know how good we had it. The quality of life in Europe was the stuff of legend. Old men who had seen it first hand told the tales late at night by the glow of the fire.
"They have clean water. And not only that, it is both hot and cold, and it is inside your house."
"Nonsense!" they said, "Old wives tales."
"They control the heat in their homes, and light appears at the touch of a button."
"That's crazy talk! You've been hitting the guava juice again, old man!!"
"Women are treated as equals!!"
A silence fell on the group. No one said a word, And then they all burst into laughter.
"Boy you really had us going there for a second there old man. Women as equals. That's high-sterical!"
But soon enough, technology spread and flashed pictures of our comfort and well-being all over the world, and millions decided to head north. Their battle cry, "LAMPEDUSA!!" which is international slang for, "Hey ma, I made it!!"
And we have only ourselves to blame.
So, how are we reacting to this? Europeans are starting to pay more attention to those who shout that Europe should be just for "Europeans," which is code for "you know what."
No one seems to be asking, "WHY are they coming? And what can we DO about it?"
If a boat is sinking, you don't climb to the highest part above water and wait. You pitch in and help bail.
But guess what, this little Euroskeptic thing is just a metaphor for the planet. Because today, we have economic refugees. Tomorrow, it will be environmental refugees.
And while everyone wants a little more money and better quality of life, those things don't hold a candle to life itself and a piece of dry land. So, while you can intercept 300 people on a boat, it's a bit more difficult to keep 300,000 people at bay.
And forgive me for being skeptical, but I'm not really sure that "Europeans" or Europeans, really understand what is at stake.
Today Switzerland, tomorrow the European Union.
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