Thursday, April 27, 2006

"This Is Not America's Next Top Best Friend."

"I haven't gotten to have an issue-based conversation with you in a while (unless, of course, you count ANTM or stupid idiots everywhere). What do you think about the immigration stuff going through right now? (This includes the rallies, legislation, everything.)"

Commentary on why I spend more time discussing America's Next Top Model with Anna Karenina than we do discussing things of a graver heft will not be entertained at this time.

(However...the house they live in? SO GORGEOUS. And also! Former home of suspected Black Dahlia killer Dr. George Hodel. And this season rules.)

So anyway.

The rallies came, and I suspect that they have not really gotten to the "went" part, nor will they until this dippy business has been dealt with, which unfortunately, with this Congress, will happen exactly never. I love and I hate the rallies. The latter part is based on the fact that I do not like the reasoning of them, and I'll get to that in a sec. But I love the rallies because they show hints of the civil disobedience that is required for actual ground-up change. People take out permits for rallies now. They are sophisticated planned events. But here's the thing about rallies and demonstrations for social change...they are about sticking it to The Man. When you have a portion of the population that disagrees with something established and/or codified by the lawmaking body, be it a formal body or not, that dissenting portion is sparring with The Man in one form or the other. If you want to stick it to him, then you cannot play by the rules he sets out. You have to make a statement, and that does not happen anymore, because everyone is afraid of what might go on their Permanent Record. Remember how scary that was in like...elementary school? "Young lady, you'd better think twice about throwing that meatloaf. If I have to pick meat fragments out of Little Jimmy's hair, your parents are getting called and it is going on your permanent record."

People. You are all grownups now. This is a government driven by the people. If you have a problem with the way things are going, you have a right to CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. Sack up, and do it. What these folks are doing is actually the way to do it...cut the hell out of work, don't buy shit, don't go to school - make. your voice. heard. Make your presence felt. So on that count, rock your little illegal immigrant hearts out, guys.

On the other hand, shut up, illegal immigrants.

I will freely admit that the undercurrent of this debate is one of xenophobia. A lot of times when people say "illegal immigrants have to stay out" they mean "immigrants have to stay out" which is a whole other -ism that leads to an entire other anger and grossed outtedness, but in this case we'll pretend we don't know that, because it unsettles the racist, xenophobic assholes when they start thinking you know what they're trying to hide. However, the point is that in this debate we're talking about ILLEGAL immigrants - people who chucked the finger towards the INS and came running over the borders making a conscious effort to not get caught.

Here's what it comes down to for me. This is not a new issue. This is something we have a system for, and while that system may have been adequate at one point, it now sucks. Thanks not only to an incredible increase in volume since the creation of the INS, but also a scary, creeping xenophobia that is getting worked into the system itself (...gross.), the process is incredibly obnoxious and difficult to get through, and from what I can tell, full of catch-22s as well.

The jobs filled by illegal immigrants are jobs that no American wants. They do it cheap, they do it long hours, they do it long past when others would quit. These are NOT, I would like to point out, the jobs that the xenophobes bitch about foreigners stealing from Americans. (...Gross.) It would be devastating to the American economy to suddenly lose so much of its labor and buying power, etc., and as much as I would like to say "yes, illegal immigrants out, period the end," it makes no sense. What NEEDS to happen is for the INS immigration system to be revamped and streamlined, and then the people who are here illegally need to get in the pipeline or get out. It's not like they aren't nice people or that they don't deserve a chance to live wherever the hell they want, but citizenship is a club, okay? And sometimes that sucks.

As you may know, I once worked as a lifeguard at the Worcester Country Club. This is a good example. When you belong to the club, you can play the beautiful course, lounge around at the pool, attend functions at the club itself, and generally rent your own little country estate. However, you also have to pay dues, put up with the kids splashing each other at the pool, and take a triple-digit number to hold your own personal events at the club. There's good and bad, just like American citizenship. You can't just take the good - free speech, available jobs, land of opportunity, etc., etc., etc. - without the bad - taxes, medical insurance, rule of law. These people are skipping the shitty stuff, and let me tell you that I would LOVE to skip the shitty stuff, but I choose to live as an American citizen, so I just remember that the Constitution is neat and run through the Gettysburg Address in my head and stuff, and I figure I'm getting a good deal.

It'll be interesting to see how all this shit goes down and all, but then again, it's one of those things like the war on drugs that will never be resolved because it's worth too much to politics financially to have a war to fight. God politics are gross sometimes.

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