Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Solidarity, Hermanos
Knowing that my editorial and support staff consists of a dozen or so Guatamalans I keep in my attic, I bet you're wondering how I managed to get my blogpost out yesterday on el día sin immigrantes. Surely their affronted human dignity would have propelled them to walk off the job and join their compañeros in the streets with an eye toward legalizing their status and combating injustice or whatever.

The truth is, they never really knew it was happening. I only let them watch a half hour of TV a day and they always, without fail, pick Dora the Explorer. What that show lacks in current-events infotainment it more than makes up for in its helpfulness toward full Spanglish fluency.

Plus, for that group, Dora is very age-appropriate. Judge me if you want to, but I have a very small attic.

And don't get all creeped out; it's not like I ask them to do anything weird. Unless you consider producing, editing and publishing a blog in a language they don't speak when they're illiterate in their native language. That's a little weird, I admit it.

We got through yesterday with no incidents of note. There was some violence, but that was only because Pilar started fighting with Blanca because she thought Blanca was getting a little too friendly with Pablo during the daily 15 minute "sunshine break." Either that or it was something to do with the workers' separation from the means of production and their subsequent alienation from the product of their labor. My Guatamalan really isn't as strong as it could be.

When it comes to events outside my attic, I'm surprised there hasn't been a whole lot of political push-back. Maybe it's because seeing that many people do anything gives politicians pause, requiring them to wait to see how television news tells them they should feel about this thing. It's a pain because they have to direct the Guatamalans living in their attics to write two speeches, one "the law is the law and illegal immigration is bad, especially when they're not white people" speech and one "all people are entitled to human rights and a chance to live the American dream, huzzah for the conquering heroes" speech. People assume it's easy to be unburdened by convictions, but trust me, in the end it's just twice as much work.

I was really, really ready for someone on the right to make a big deal out of the fact that these protests and this work-action was happening on May 1. May Day. This is the day of the year that they used to roll the nuclear missiles through Red Square, man. Can't we get a little "immigrants-equal-communists" action on right wing radio? I know Rush's Oxy-Contin related difficulties have been time-consuming, but come on, we can't get one line drawn from Cesar Chavez to Castro to Stalin? Not one? I know it's dark days for the conservative movement in this country right now, but too lazy for sloppy, obvious leaps of fallacious logic? I never thought I'd see the day. Maybe Michelle Malkin can do it for me. Nobody hates the brown man more than the Malkin. That is one angry Filipina.

As a non-right-winger, I will offer this one criticism of yesterday's action: if you're going to try to make a political point, make sure you do it in a way that people might accidentally misconstrue for personal reasons. For instance, if you're going to tell a bunch of Latino immigrants to stay home, you should consider that a) many of said immigrants live in California and b) many of those drive. So, when a lot of them--any segment of the population--takes it upon themselves to stay home, the rest of us see a significant reduction in traffic.

I don't think I can overstate the social importance to Californians of any reduction in traffic. The good news is that many gringos were converted to the cause so long as they were in their cars, zipping along and not staring at brake-lights yesterday. The bad news is they're only behind the movement so long as it involves daily massive boycotts with similar gridlock-relieving results. And maybe a free lawn trim thrown in.

The danger is that, long term, it's a short jump from "I'm down with this protest business; Viva la raza!" to "you know what, if they were all deported, traffic would be like this every day!" And then instead of going to Acapulco with Captain Stubing and the gang for vacation, they're huddled around a cow-pattie fire in southern Arizona with their Minuteman friends, keeping America safe from the scourge of potential commuters.

Add to that the economic and political pressure of rising gas prices and you've got yourself a commuter-based suburban wedge issue. Why I'm not a high-ranking GOP strategist I'll never know. All I can do is put the ideas out there. Your move, Karl Rove.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0



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