The state of discussion in the American political arena – an apt term now more than ever – leads us to wonder aloud from time to time: “Are we still capable of having an honest conversation about anything without partisan bickering?” The antipathy feels unprecedented, the divide never wider. You know things are bad when even both major political parties are divided amongst themselves. We’re not going to get into that, because we know whose fault it is – the other side’s. It’s been their fault since at least the turn of the century, maybe even since the start of politics. But what’s changed seems to be in the approach. Time was, if we had a massive problem with, for example, illegal labor, we’d create laws that addressed it – whether employers were hurt by it, or employees were hurt by it. Both sides would sit down and hammer out a fair set of laws. Compromises would be made and, for better or worse, always, the market would adjust. We can’t do that if we can’t have an honest conversation. First, both sides need to get their respective acts together. Then, let’s talk about what would happen if we deported everyone who was here illegally. There’s about 12.5 million people affected. They’re using all our resources. Sure, but they’re also performing menial, low-paying jobs no one else wants. We’d have a real labor shortage from here to the America’s bread basket, California’s Central Valley, unless we honestly address immigration reform. They statistically don’t make cities more or less safe. Tell that to the family of late Deputy David March, who was shot and killed by a criminal who should have never been here – a felon here illegally. We witnessed the gap in community opinion on Senate Bill 54, as protesters showed up last week, 14 days earlier, to let their views be known at City Hall. We’d expect a similarly orderly but much more robust showing Tuesday, when City Council plans to look at whether it wants to file an “amicus brief” regarding the lawsuit objecting to S.B. 54. Knowing this, we wade into this murky morass of morality vs. the Supremacy Clause vs. a law-and-order state vs. economics vs. states’ rights vs. “Where do you stand?” Let’s hope for everyone’s sake it doesn’t devolve into “Where are you from?” Because here’s the funny thing: We all know the nation’s immigration system is broken. It’s no easy task, even when you’re fluent in the language, have a college education and adequate means. We also know these cracks and tears in the system have violated our community’s sense of safety. Yes, illegal immigration is straining our resources to breaking point. Having our City Council file an amicus brief is about as helpful to solving the immigration issue as when we yell out the car for traffic to go faster when we’re late for work. Yes, everyone else around us will know where we stand. That’s great. But what makes America great – more importantly, what makes Americans great, is our ability to roll up our sleeves and work together to solve problems – not yell or file amicus briefs about them. If the City Council wants to send a positive message to Sacramento, Washington, D.C. or both, here’s a suggestion, send a letter: Tell them to roll up their sleeves, work together and do their jobs.