No easy tradeoffs

What does each side "get" in a breakup? What's the real price of immigration? Table Talkers sound off this week.

Published October 20, 2006 10:11AM (EDT)

Families Who Think

Divorce/Separation w/ and w/o Children, Part 5

Gibson Girl - 08:53 am Pacific Time - Oct 18, 2006 - #3051 of 3055

Let me tell you, no matter what he "gets," you get your life back.

My ex got his new bike, new house, new pool, all new furniture, redecorated in ways that I had been begging to do for years but was denied because he "hated" it. He kept all of our friends, and his new house has turned into the place to go for parties. It's as if he is some kind of golden boy who never has to take responsibilities for the mess he left behind him, and it used to chap my ass.

I got to keep my 2 best friends, the little old shitty house, old car, old furniture, all the animals (and expenses therein).

However. Big, giant however ... I have my house. It's in my name only, in a good little area with good neighbors, and I'm close to the lake and can walk to get everything I could possibly need (even a sushi restaurant!) I am slowly remodeling, fixing things he refused to deal with, making improvements, doing things the way I want to do them. I used to hate the house. I really like it now, and am planning to stay here for a very long time.

I have my dignity. I stood up to an a--hole and told him "no more, get out." And I got myself out of a bad situation. My self-respect is in full force, I'm free of his soul-crushing presence and I am as independent and confident as I've ever been. After a year to myself, I found a great guy who treats me with kindness, respect, love, humor and affection. We just moved in together.

He "gets" his new house and new car and new life, but the thing he can't "get" is away from himself. He is still the miserable bastard that treated me so badly. Only now he doesn't have someone to blame for his problems, so he'll be forced to deal with them himself.

He may put on a good show about being so wealthy and happy and buying all this new stuff, but I know that it's not true. He's a miserably lonely loser who spends all of his time at home with his cat, smoking weed and watching bad movies on his giant new HD plasma TV and home theater system.

Meanwhile, I have a guy who really cares about me. I've made a whole crowd of new friendly acquaintances, taken up sailing, gone back to my painting and creative pursuits, gone back to school (and I'm 9 hours away from my master's degree) and gotten a LIFE.

Social Issues

"We are America": Views on immigration

Vera Charles - 08:16 am Pacific Time - Oct 13, 2006 - #7 of 50

There are two issues here. One is xenophobia: not liking another culture coming into your own.

The other issue, which I think nearly all liberals ignore almost always, is that there are millions of people in this country who work hours and conditions OSHA would not allow for wages no one else will (or should) work for. There are millions of people whose children are not fluent in English who do not pay income tax to support the schools that now have to provide ESL programs. In my city, the people that hurt are not white people. They are not middle-class people -- middle-class people employ illegal immigrants. They are other dark-skinned and disenfranchised people who themselves need intensive early education and who cannot afford to be displaced by people with stronger families who work tougher jobs for lower wages.

As a private citizen, I teach illegal immigrants all the time, and I love those kids and their families and their music and their tasty food. Good for me. That's not the point. The point is, as a fiscal liberal, I think we need a welfare state, and I don't think we're going to get it if we start giving those benefits to people who are not Americans. My life would be better in Canada. I have an expensive health condition, I make very little money, my kids will be zoned to a terrible school. Am I allowed to go to Canada and live in the kind of socialist democracy I'd like to? Not likely. Is that a racist decision on the part of the Canadian government?

Look, these are good people coming here. Great people. People whose kids do deserve a better life. But our school went 90% Latino once it went 40% because the African-American parents feel run out. We were founded to help inner-city kids, and now we help intact families on their way up the class ladder. It's a great situation for the kids and a great situation for the teachers because, frankly, these kids are a hell of a lot easier to teach, but is it right? Is it right that affirmative action policies are now benefiting students who are not, in this part of the world, a minority, and who are displacing the descendants of slaves?

By Salon Staff

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