Saturday, May 06, 2006

What Were They Thinking?

What were they thinking? Please answer the questions to the best of your ability.

When my grandparents (first generation) arrived in this country they came ____ Pick one of the following:
a. In steerage from Europe
b. On a slave ship from Africa
c. As a refugee from a horrible dictatorship
d. Across the Mexican/Canadian border

The first thing they did was _____ Pick one of the following :
a. Learn to speak English
b. Find a job
c. Find a place to live
d. Call an immigration lawyer
e. Get thousands of people together and march, carrying flags from their home country.

In case you were drunk or dead, there were immigration rallies across the country on Monday. Immigrants didn’t go to work in order to demonstrate their value to the country. So what happened? Nothing, except they didn’t get paid the lower wages they usually earn if they are not legal. Oh wait, one thing did happen in Prince Georges or one of those regal colonies. The mayor who supported building an immigration rental center (that’s where you come and collect workers when your garden has too many weeds or your house needs a paint job) was defeated. Sure it was only one place and that is not indicative of the greater American population but it certainly sent a message to the former mayor and should have sent a message to the immigrants.

Who are “The Immigrants?” I didn’t, for example see many people who looked like they were from the Middle East, or Asians, or Eastern Europeans. Nope. They mostly looked Hispanic and they mostly carried flags from Hispanic countries. Clearly whoever helped them to organize the rallies had no idea about positioning or messaging. I can just see it. A bunch of political consultants hired a bunch of former White House Advance people and said “let’s build crowds across the country. No never mind thinking through a message or what the people who do not attend the rallies will see and hear. Let’s just get a million people to march. A million works, right? It worked for mothers, and black men, and anti-war protesters. We don’t care what they say, or how they look, or if they piss off all the people they want to understand their plight. Let’s just get them out on the street with banners and signs, and faces of injustice and maybe some heads of lettuce.”

I know I sound a bit harsh but let’s keep in mind that as a liberal democrat I have spent a lifetime trying to make things better for the same people who were on the street at those rallies. Here’s the difference, I know in my heart of hearts that people who live in this country and don’t speak English will remain “second class” citizens all their lives unless they live in totally Spanish speaking communities. But let’s get real, remaining in totally Spanish speaking communities in an English speaking nation does limit your options. Furthermore, if they had carried American flags and said the pledge of allegiance in English wouldn’t people have thought, well by god, those folks want to be part of this nation, let’s help them out.

Maybe it’s me. But I have always believed that the truth is the best way to make change. And here’s what David and I see as the truth. People from Hispanic speaking countries (not immigrants in the greater sense), want to come to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. They are very valuable to our economy because of the work they do—whether they get paid reasonable wages or not (and that’s a whole other blob). So wouldn’t it make sense for them to rally in a way that demonstrates their interest in becoming part of what America represents to them, rather than demonstrating their indignities about how the United States, has managed to keep them separate and apart. Haven’t they done that themselves, through these ill planned rallies…. We’re just sayin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Super color scheme, I like it! Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site with us.