Monday, May 01, 2006
Guest Columnist--Alors! To the barricades! And then please send someone to clean the house
[Your esteemed servant is on deadline for a paying project and has again turned over the podium to a guest columnist, in this case, his son, who has appeared here before. He is, I can assure you, handsome, bright, articulate, funny--and incidentally, single. He also is absolutely right].
By Jon Shurkin
I think I have finally figured out the crux of the immigration debate. Apparently, the problem is that there are a thousands of people who come to this country who don't look like us and don't speak English. Living in the state of California, the city of San Francisco, and in a Spanish neighborhood named after a Mission established by Spanish priests, I was not aware that this is a problem.
I am wrong.
What this all means, though, is that what really is driving this debate isn't necessarily the immigration per se, but the fact that one day, all those people living in their white-bread suburbs and exurbs woke up and realized that some of the people who work in the restaurants, on their lawns, and in their factories have names like Jose and/or Luis and don't speak English. Because it's all different and new, it means that this is a problem and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.
Actually, what I find fascinating about the whole debate is how much the protests have become an issue. Especially the one on May 1st, in which a lot of immigrants were planning to--gasp--not go into work. You know, it's okay to protest, just don't do it when you might inconvenience the rest of us. Our food won't get served by itself, you know.
Well, that's not entirely true as the whole idea of protesting has becoming an issue. We like our minorities docile, not uppity, it turns out. But you know, mock the French all you want for all their protests and what their protesting, but at least if something happens that pisses them off, they'll go out in the streets and try and do something about it. Unlike us who, when we get pissed off, tell a bunch of pollsters that we're really pissed off and then vote in the same clowns we voted for in the first place. Unless, like in '92 or '94 we decide to vote in a whole new bunch of clowns, totally ignoring the big floppy shoes and the paint on their faces.
Not to sound like one of those crazy commies or anarchist types, but this whole thing shows just how much the Man has us down. We've made it so that people who protest for their rights and try to fight from getting screwed over, come off as the bad guys. Among other things, it's easy for us white folks to get all angry that Latinos are protesting, but we're not the ones being threatened with deportation. And it just shows up how much crap we're able to put up but aren't prepared do a damn thing about it. Just look over the past 20 years or so-- we've had downsizing and outsourcing and have a health care system that's falling apart and pensions being robbed. And that's just the economic stuff; we're not even getting into elections being stolen or fucked-up wars. Yet we, as a people, pretty much do nothing about it. Or when we do get pissy, it's over stuff like abortion or gay rights or stuff that matters, yet not really.
I guess what I'm saying is that if all the protestors really wanted to be American, they should do what we do when get pissed off at something- watch Bill O'Reilly.
[My son, the writer, lives in San Francisco, works for a huge software company that will not be named but it's leader has a very big yacht. He also is a columnist for SFist.com and, believe it or not, currently appears on an advertising billboard on Times Square.]