The Simpsons: Keeping the Border to Springfield Open

There's no television show more quintessentially American than The Simpsons.  During it's twenty year long run, the show has become a mainstay of American life.  A prism on our society, The Simpsons has tackled one topical issue after another and despite its superficial appearance as having lax values, many would argue otherwise.  The show has even spawned several books about its religious themes.  Most recently, in their season finale, the show took a look at the immigration debate.  (You can watch it on Hulu.)

As an influx of immigrants (of Norwegian descent) make their way into Springfield, the locals respond favorably at first.  These Ogdenvillians have a strong work ethic, are good at what they do, and are embraced by Homer and his fellow townspeople.

Eventually, Springfielders simply grow weary (and wary) of the "others."

It's when working with the new immigrants—comically building a wall to keep these very people out—that the residents of Springfield realize just how similar they are to the new residents.  Both Ned Flanders and one the Ogdenvillians craves but has trouble finding four button cardigans. Bart and an immigrant child share a passion for graffiti.

The new immigrants have become part of the Springfield community. Newcomers are just as invested in Springfield and have become part of the town.  As The Simpsons shows us, immigrants' success is Springfield's success.

Clearly, this message has particular resonance in today's financial climate.  We need everyone's help and know-how to repair our economy, improve education, and generate jobs.  Immigrants have a stake in those systems and are part of the collective solution.

To read more, visit The Opportunity Agenda.

Tags: community, Opportunity, simpsons (all tags)

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