Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We Rope 'Em and Brand 'Em

Is there a more powerless and disenfranchised group of people in this country than undocumented workers? And yet the right hates them, fears them, and demonizes them as a the threat to everything we hold dear. "Illegal" immigrants, it seems, are more dangerous than Islamicism. I read some random  comments on this story about evangelical pastors supporting immigration reform, and discovered a few things:
  • Our ancestors are morally better because they came to America legally. I suppose that the slaves came here legally, but I wouldn't call that anything to brag about. Anyway, I figure that if Ireland shared a border with the United States, my forebears would have come here legally or illegally because the conditions of 19th C. Ireland would have forced it. In fact, I'd have more blood brothers and sisters because a shared border would have eliminated any reason for their ancestors to go to Liverpool or Australia.
  • Undocumented workers are lazy parasites. You try working in a produce field for a few days before you sing that song.
  • Round them up and deport them. Supposedly, there are all kinds of easy, inexpensive ways to send 11,000,000 people back to Mexico, such as making them leave by cutting off their benefits. Since their opportunities would still be better here, this would have the effect of making 11,000,000 poor people desperately poor, a petri dish for violent crime.
Then there was this gem: "They bread [sic] like rabbits..."

The Daily Meaux laments the subordination of science to business.


Roy said...

I immediately thought of Woody Guthrie's "Deportees" when I read this:

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are piled in their creosote dumps
They're flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again

My father's own father, he waded that river
They took all the money he made in his life
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees
And they rode the truck till they took down and died

Good-bye to my Juan, good-bye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maris
You won't have a name when you ride the big air-plane
And all they will call you will be deportees.

Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts
We died in your valleys and died on your plains
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.


A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?

K. said...
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K. said...

It's a fabulous song, one of Woody's very best. I wrote about it as one of my first Just A Song entries. Anyone who can hear this and feel nothing has a heart of stone. These days, there are a lot of hearts of stone out there.

Foxessa said...

That laziness thing -- there is hardly anything that outrages me more.

So lazy indeed, that's why all these good legal citizens hire all this lazy undocumented labor force because they just lurve paying them to sit around doing nothing all day long. So benevolent, so charitable, so generous.

Love, C.

K. said...

I lived a good part of my life in an area where Anglos are a demographic minority. In my experience there is no reason to regard Hispanics as any less hard-working than any other ethnic group; as you indicate, there's reason to think that they work harder. The agricultural work is back breaking; it's criminal that working standards in the fields go unmonitored and unregulated.

tnlib said...

When I returned to the southeast after many wonderful years in the southwest, a south GA relative remarked: "We've started to feel the Mex-cans aren't as lazy as the N*****s."

Foxessa: The other reason these fat cats hire illegals is because whites won't work for their crappy wages.

Oh yes, I love "Deportees."

K. said...

My brother and his wife recently went to a wedding where they bumped into a couple they knew, a couple that that now lives in South Carolina. B & P decided not to bring up politics on the assumption that the couple was conservative, but they turned out not to be. "They all call Obama a socialist because they can't call him a n*****, the wife explained."

I think it's that and more: "socialist" has become a code word standing for the paranoia that Obama wants to forcibly transfer white assets to minorities. And yet elements of the left call this people "populist," as if they were Rousseau's noble savages.

Renegade Eye said...

I like that Guthrie song. I was told Arlo is on the libertarian right.

At this point, people are so desperate for immigration reform, combined with Obama's lowering of expectations, they'll accept what was unacceptable in 2006.

The Democrats are in power. Obama could stop the wall building tomorrow.

Steven said...

I heard 'Deportees' just the other day; not for the first time as it has always been a favorite of mine. But then again, I'm just one of those fuzzy headed latte sipping liberals...

K, you have to stop reading those 'Comments' on MSNBC stories...they'll make you crazy!

K. said...

Ren: I figure that no one was ever elected president by saying that things are really a mess and the process makes it worse, but I'll squeeze out what I can. I maintain that Obama has gotten a lot done.

K. said...

Steven:> I promise that I've cut back!

injaynesworld said...

That Woody Guthrie song is a heart breaker in that so little has changed in the years since it was written. I watch Hispanic farm workers toil in the fields right outside my office window every day. Grueling work done by both men and women in every kind of weather and they have my gratitude and respect.

K. said...

Jayne: I saw them work the alfalfa and cotton fields of South Texas while growing. Their kids went to school with me until they dropped out to help out at home with a low-paying job. No one can tell me that they're parasites.