Thursday, November 4, 2010

Being the big bad Brownie

I have such a hard time relating to the staunch anti-immigration section of politics, I can understand the need to secure borders against mounting terrorist threats but what I cannot fathom from a capitalist country and people who claim they are for a "free market", is the demonization of people who wash our cars, pick our produce, clean houses and do any and every other menial job they can so their children can have a better education, a better life, the American dream not for them but for the next generation. This kind of hatred is nothing new to our country, the Irish, Chinese, Italian and Russian communities have all experienced their time in the spot light as the "other", that which is "bad", you know those other people who are taking the jobs we are supposedly entitled to because we happened to be born into a country of infinite opportunity and possibility?

Really when was the last time you applied to be a lettuce picker? Do people really believe that we buy grapes for $1 a pound because the "illegals" get a free ride? Have you ever been out in a field? It's dirty, hot, exhausting and absolutely back breaking work. I know not because I have ever done it, but because I grew up with the stories of my family, my grandparents although legal citizens of this country were not educated and did not speak very much English. But my grandfather enlisted in the Army and eventually moved the family from Texas to California. All of their 11 children have a one time or another toiled in a field. They didn't do this in order to deprive someone else of a job, they didn't take a lower wage than their white counterparts because they wanted to undermine people, they did it out of mere survival.

The problem is not those who cross the border and seek a better life, the people who endure horrible conditions, eat from garbage cans, spend days or weeks captives of coyotes who rape, torture and sell them into prostitution until their family can pay enough of a ransom for them. The problem is with such a restrictive system which exists only to pander to the few ignorant people who fear anyone different from themselves and exploits a people who are literally powerless in their own country and powerless in this one. No legal protection from abuse in this country because their mere presence renders them second class citizens who have no legal recourse against those who would take advantage of them.

Is it truly American to allow such a system to exist? Of course not but of course big business and its friends in the political universe don't want to do away with illegal immigration, because how else would we keep prices down, and labor cheap? Big business biggest fear is that the Brownie (me and people who look like me) will join forces and we will fight to finally give rights to people who have been contributing to the economy for decades to finally get the representation they deserve. My biggest surprise is the animosity from American born latinos towards undocumented workers,it's a phenomena I don't really understand; and I cannot say that I haven't been guilty of it myself at times.

We are willing to overlook the atrocities committed in the name of "free market" values as long as we can still buy an hecho in mexico shirt for $5. Let's get real about immigration, it's all about the money, so Big Business, stop talking out of both sides of your mouth, and admit it's all about the bottom line, your bottom line and not the country's.