Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Them pesky furriners

This is a comment that I posted over here: ____________________________________________________ Adrienne: You live in a housing development with lots of foreclosures, rundown properties and roach infestations. This is the fault of immigrants, legal or otherwise, who got mortgages from banks that they should not have been eligible for? Uh, you think maybe the bankers might be culpable-as well as the assholes in congress who gutted banking oversight legisation like Glass-Steagall? Why do you suppose "illegal day laborers" piss outside? Is it because they are not allowed in the library or are they animals? If it's because they have no manners than the most expedient course would be to arrest a few of them for public urination or provide some outdoor toilet facilities. You say you can't translate your housing boards documents into spanish? And you don't speak spanish, apparently. I don't know how large a community you live in, but if you've got enough "illegals immigrants", as you like to call them, in your area, there must be at least a few of them who speak passable english and can read same. Have you tried working with them instead of your stupid, lazy, filthy, unamerican neighbors? Actually, I think you do "viscerally" hate those immigrants that you think are somehow "less" than your grandparents were when they came to this country. It's not a reasonable reaction, it's a "gut" reaction and one that you buttress with your facts, figures and complaints against certain members of the group. You ask: "Pssst- here's a question for you. How do large numbers of people coming into the US from *one* area of the world and speaking a single language (not the English language)--and one country in particular--make the US more "diverse"?" Think Germans, Jews, Poles, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Armenicans, Serbs, Scandinavians, Vietnamese, Lao and Khmer (not an exhaustive list). Of course many of their children learned to speak english. In fact, quite a few of them have gone on to have children and grandchildren who are white enough, bright enough and speak the language well enough that they can get theirs and say, "I really, really don't HATE those ignorant, filthy, funny talking people; but none of THEM should be allowed in my country." You can cherry pick and quotemine all of the sources you like. I'm quite sure that if one digs deep enough they can find quotes by someone else with a pedigree of liberalism, like Barbara Boxer whose stance on immigration (as characterized by your quote) is in diametrical opposition to Ms. Boxer's. Cesar Chavez was a great man but hardly a saint. You say: "And yes, I will admit I first became interested in this issue when I started being negatively affected by it directly. But the more I've researched it, the more I've come to realize how deleterious large scale illegal immigration the environment, to the native-born poor, to the economy...the list goes on and on." How, exactly, have undocumented immigrants affected your life? Please be specific. Speaking of environmental impacts; it appears that Mr. Bush's backyard fence is creating some horrific problems for various desert flora and fauna that had no idea that they were either mexican or U.S. residents. IF we could get rid of all the "illegals" then who would do the scut work that is so frequently their lot in this life? Who will clean the toilets at the ballparks, pick up garbage, work at the McDonalds in the "bad neighborhoods, fight our wars--today's native born, white americans? How much do you think trash collection, Big Mac's and tickets for sporting events and concerts will cost if we simply get rid of all of the "illegals". Working for lower wages, paying lots of taxes (sales, mostly) and spending most of their income--because they really have no choice, undocumented workers represent a huge cash bump in the U.S. economy. IF they could be magically swept off the board, do you really think that nothing else would change, and change in ways that you might term as "adverse"? When I worked in Boston, a local chain of coffee shop/cafes was staffed, almost exclusively by foreign born workers. Many of them were Guatemalan and Colombian. Most of them also worked as cleaners in the same high rises from which their clientele descended to get their bagels and coffee. They were unfailingly polite, generally quite cheerful and extremely industrious. I spoke to them (their english language skills were not always great but we managed) about their families and their living situations. They were so happy to be here, for the most part--and they seemed always happy to work on their language skills with me or others who took a moment to chat when their work permitted. One young man became a manager of another store in the chain and when he finished his shift, he would come to the store in my building, pick up his wife and then, together they would go and pick up their children who attended a private, catholic school. After that, they would go their second job, cleaning offices. Lazy, indifferent, uneducated or unkempt--they were none of those things. You seem to view the people you think of as "illegal immigrants" as a horde of invaders. I prefer to focus on the individuals that I meet and interact with. You say that these people have an adverse impact on your life. That has not been my experience in about 95% of the encounters that I have had. I wish I could say the same for native born U.S. citizens. I know you don't care what I think. Likewise, I don't really care what you think. Neither of us is ever going to convince the other that their position is reflective of anything except their own prejudicial thinking. My prejudice on the subject of immigrateion tends in the direction of inclusion, yours tends in the direction of exclusion. Posted by: democommie | July 7, 2009 8:36 AM ___________________________________________________________ I don't think that people really understand how much of a difference it would make if we had the lower end of our service economy jobs either paying much more per hour or simply not being filled. I don't think that most young native born americans are lazy--although they do seem to have a WEE sense of entitlement. I'm quite sure that most of the "illegals" are not lazy, stupid or criminal (aside from any immigration laws they might be breaking). Tell me I'm wrong, but please don't tell me I'm wrong because some of the "illegals" are not good people. We just went through eight years of having a complete moron run this country, a native born complete moron, along with his cabal of native born fellow assholes.


Richard said...

The question, it seems to me, is whether or not we want to be in the future what we have been in the past: the world leader in science and technology and manufacturing and all the other things, or whether we do not.

If we are satisfied with being a country in decline, so be it. We should then continue to use H-1 visas to fill some of our best jobs while forcing Americans to work for less (or not at all).

We should continue to outsource as many jobs as possible in order to bring down our standard of living down as quickly possible. If that's our choice, we should get on with the work of getting it done straightaway.

But how is it good for our country?

How is it good for our country to have someone who got a free college education somewhere else--because in so many countries higher education is seen, correctly, as a public good if not a right in and of itself--to come over here and take a high-paying American job and turn it into a low-paying job when we have people here who, in the greatest country in the history of the world (?), can't afford college themselves? No doubt this system benefits the capitalist, but how does it benefit Americans? At the same time, how does it benefit the country from which that worker has emigrated?

If we are the greatest country, then of course I think every American is too entitled to a job. And at a living wage, besides. And I think college should be free to everyone. If you are going to call yourself the land of opportunity you ought to act like it.

democommie said...


You're a sports guy, so I think what you describe as using the High Tech Visa (because that's what it is) can be likened to the free agent signing system. You get an individual who has a history of, or is assumed to be capable of, performing at the highest level. Teams without farm systems do not win WS--except in the case of a team that is extraordinarily lucky or one whose owner says, "the hell with what it costs, I'm gonna be king of the world!".

democommie said...

The woman I addressed the main part of my post to just put up another comment that said the mexicans should emulate the russians and overthrow their bad rulers. And people think I'm an idiot?

Joe Visionary said...


Dave von Ebers seems to have moved on. Too bad; I made time for Dave.

Richard's quote

No doubt this system benefits the capitalist, but how does it benefit Americans?

is a delicious one.

Perhaps some day Americans will transcend rapacious capitalism and begin to entrench policies that show they give a shit about each other.

As an outsider I can give you this hint: You'll need to revisit the whole 1787, 'Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness' and '..freedom to bear arms' thing.

As much as I know Americans are deeply proud of their country, no amount of proud talk can mask some fundamental errors that need to be reconsidered.

You don't need to believe me, but I do think you'll need to find out for yourselves. Seeing America from outside America might be a good place to start.

democommie said...

We have had this discussion before, yes?

I think where we disagree is that you think we should scrap our constitution and I (and some others that used to visit David von Ebers' blog) seem to think we need to set a far higher bar for our public officials and demand that they act to uphold their oaths of office and serve the people.

Guns are not the problem; assholes with military equivalent weapons--and no fucking brains--are the problem.

The U.S. Constitution, in your opinion, is irreparably flawed (please correct if I'm wrong about your view), I just don't feel that way.

While the United States has not been around as long as Old Europe, Asia or a number of countries in Africa and South and Central America, it's been pretty close to 300 years since the military of a foreign power has invaded us or bombed our cities with impunity. This is not because we are inherently better than other countries. But it has something to do with our system of government. That system is based, in a very large way, on our constitution. Do I think it's flawless? No. Do I want to scrap the document because it's been worried by the mutts of Bushco and sundry other mutts over the last three centuries. Hell, NO!

As I said, near the beginning of this comment; the constitution is not the problem.

Joe Visionary said...

Actually Demo, I wont suggest scrapping the whole Constitution, because while there are some serious basic problems with it, I'm sure the intent of a lot of it should probably be kept(the newer stuff, I'd think).

My observation has to do with the implied message it sends Americans, specifically in two lines that aren't even in the same document:

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” from the Declaration of Independence

and the Second Amendment to the American Constitution, which is typically truncated to the latter half

".. the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

While these are actually from different documents, they are central within the American psyche. The problem? Combined, they imply that it is socially acceptable to be greedy at the expense of the social good, and to defend the fruits of that greed with deadly force.

As a poet, I suspect that you're well aware of the subtleties of a language, and how carefully it must be employed to get the message right.

This is a dreadful message to hand the people of a nation: Grab much too much, or you'll get nothing at all (K. Vonnegut), and then defend your acquisitions with deadly force, made available through your Constitution.

... and you wonder why Americans don't warm to the co-operative nature of civilization? Because there's little incentive to do so. When Thomas Jefferson stated

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

Don't you suppose that this is a complete and shameless abdication of solidarity of your federation? Even if he thought this, shouldn't he have shown a more positive attitude and perhaps apologized for the 'work in progress'?

Imagine for a moment, if any officer in any of your armed forces were to say something as deprecating of the forces they serve with. Feel free to talk to any serviceman and see what they say. I'm betting you're most likely to hear that for all its warts the service may have had (or has), they served proudly.

Thomas Jefferson was a senior architect of your nation!! If he was so disillusioned with that work, couldn't he at least have kept quiet about it to the public? How are Americans supposed to put their shoulders behind this union when it's already being laughed at by its founders?

Maybe, it's time to dump this attitude. Maybe instead of talking proud, its time to make a serious commitment to this union. Maybe, if health care, gun control, etc clearly better an American's life, then dammit, that's what you'll do, and all the self-serving horseshit about how Americans need guns to defend their country(?!), and how unbridled free enterprise mustn't be tampered with, etc will NEED to give way to the greater good.

No progressive western democracy hearkens back to legislation issued 250 years ago; the social and technological strides we've made since then need modern-day consideration. This has barely happened in America. And why? Now we move to the other 'error' the founding fathers of America made: a typically paralyzed government.

In the process of making for three elected bodies within the government (President, House of Representatives, and the Senate), in their panic to avoid a concentration of power, they created a system that is routinely deadlocked, and can barely function to pass even reasonable legislation.

Because all three are 'voices of the people', each can claim to speak for the people. In such a situation, there are tons of opportunities for special interests to waylay any proposed legislation (and I'm not talking progressive, just stuff that the majority of Americans could stomach).

"..set a far higher bar for our public officials and demand that they act to uphold their oaths of office and serve the people."


Joe Visionary said...

Yeah, right: if I'm a Rep for a depressed area that mines or manufactures cancer in whatever form, and the lobbyists just offered me a new house and car, or paid my kids tuition to Harvard or Yale, I'm going to vote against legislation to curtail such industries? Try again...

Eventually these deadlocked issues are dealt with by the courts, specifically the Supreme court. So for all the expense the U.S. government is to the American public, public policy is barely authored by them. They download it onto the judicial system. Did I mention that the judges on the Supreme Court are largely partisan appointments? Yeow! So much for the democratic process.

This is what your founding fathers handed you in 1787.

Now at this point I'm betting you're feed to the teeth with foreigners slagging your country. If this is the case, please say so. I think I can muster the civility and respect to never say another word on this matter if that's what you wish.

I think enough of you and the people who read your blog to stop when you ask me to.

democommie said...

Joe Visionary:

No, I don't wish for you to stop, but I also am not convinced.

With all of it's warts, as you say, this nation has weathered 350 years. Not as long as many european or asian nation, certainly; but then again, we haven't had as many civil wars as most of them.

The gun issue is one that gets beaten to death by those on both sides. I got no problem with guns--I got a huge problem with assholes having military style weapons and the notion that "Might makes right".

As far as "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"; it says what it says. It doesn't say unfettered capitalism is the only formula for happiness.

I don't think we'll ever bridge the gap between us, but I respect your position and you do make good arguments, they're just not persuasive for me.

Enjoy the last of summer, before the cruel cold of the Canadian winter reclaims it's rightful place in the Dominion;)!