An Immodest Proposal
by Corinne Copnick
In the 19th century, satirist Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver’s Travels fame) suggested to the outraged English in his essay, A Modest Proposal, that Ireland’s famine could be alleviated if only the procreative Irish would eat their children. Given the abysmal breakdown in our present day U.S. health services (have you seen Sicko?), I am hereby making a similarly “politically incorrect” Immodest Proposal: to resolve the embarrassing and seemingly unstoppable problem America is facing with millions of undocumented, mainly Hispanic, workers on its hands. Undeniably, they are a drain on our health services. Congress can’t agree on what to do.
The Immodest Proposal: A Population Exchange
A give-and-take population exchange would both help our health system and ease our immigration headache: Let us give de facto recognition to the illegal workers. Eventually they will become citizens who pay taxes and thus reduce the burden on our health system. In return, a population transfer – history has witnessed lots of them — will be put into effect: Millions of our most elderly and infirm citizens (whom our health system is also loathe to carry) will be transported free of charge to the sunny climes of Mexico — where they can be treated by the excellent resources and inexpensive drugs of the Mexican health system.
Preposterous, you say? Where will a poor country like Mexico find the financial resources to build hospitals, nursing homes, and other needed facilities for millions of relocated elderly who may not have received their passports yet? Unnecessary, I say! This population will be transported to open air locales renowned as pleasant spots to visit, such as Rosarito Beach, just 20 miles south of California’s borders with Mexico. There, tended by caring Mexican doctors and nurses, our elderly will expose their arthritic limbs and aching joints to the healing air and nutrients brought by the caressing waves of the sea. They will consume health-giving veggies (like chopped cactus with onions and peppers and seaweed) along with a steady diet of fish and shellfish (healthier than red meat and easier on the cholesterol). This gustatory largesse will be totally at the cost of the Mexican government, gratuitously aided by the Latino drug cartels to improve their public image and show they are good corporate citizens. They will even throw in a little pain-relieving marijuana and cocaine – for medicinal purposes, of course.
U.S. relatives will be glad to visit their elderly kin in outdoor health spots like Rosarito Beach (or Acapulco or Cancun or Puerto Vallarta) rather than in the depressing environments of nursing homes. And since the elderly population is known to have a high rate of attrition, hopefully from natural causes in this health-giving atmosphere, the worrisome high cost of funerals can be alleviated. No cemetery plots or tack-on charges are involved. Residents of these beach communities will simply be placed reverently at the edge of the sea to be swept away by the tide, thereby enriching the ocean with the useful nutrients of the human body.
Also, since recent polls show that people respond to change best in slow increments, perhaps the elderly could be introduced to the concept of population transfer with assistance from our marketing community. Flashy brochures will feature free three-day inspection trips with all-you-can-eat buffets. Casinos (again courtesy of organized crime) that accept U.S. credit cards and reverse mortgages will line the seaside locales at one mile intervals so that the old folks don’t have to travel too far in the free beach carts. Plenty of nickel slot machines will be available. It will be fun, fun, fun — just like Las Vegas — to be transported to a health beach community in Mexico.
I am the first to admit that this proposal is in its initial stages and may have to be tweaked a little by Congress in a bi-partisan effort. However, at least, unlike Jonathan Swift, it does not propose that our legislators eat our mothers and fathers.
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Corinne Copnick, M.A., is a noted writer and performer who immigrated
legally to the U.S. She also admits – gasp! – to being elderly.