Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mucho Gusto, Amigo!

Sometimes Karma takes a while to come around but sure as tent poles to tepees, it does. Whether it's a part of the grand design or just the way things happen, as they say, what goes around comes around. And so now all us Anglos are beginning to understand how the former inhabitants of this continent felt as the watched the guys from across the seas invading their borders. And we didn't speak their language and we dressed funny and we did the work, plowing and such that most of the men didn't want to do. And on top of all that we ate funny food, escargot and quiche and asparagus. Well, maybe not, but it wasn't maize, squirrel and wild turkey. And criminals, what a fantastic place, these colonies, to dump the sixteenth and seventeenth century miscredants. So now it seems Montizuma is having his revenge in a very disturbing way and we, in the good old U. S of A. , are getting smacked up side the head with our own device.

For whatever reason my ancestors arrived on these shores before the Rebellion or Revolution (depending on how revolutionary ones thought process may be). So I don't have tales of Ellis Island or striving to attain citizenship in this great nation. Our family does have stories of indenture, hardship to survive the harsh pioneer life, work from sunrise to sunset and then into the night, and developing this country into what it is. My wife's family, of the middle passage, slavery, finally freedom and then the reality of Jim Crow. But the point is, for the most part, we all came from somewhere else and it was tough getting here and surviving here. And the vast majority of us were in one form or another illegals.

We now raise a stink about the security of our borders. But really, how secure have those frontiers ever been? There's a history of undocumented immigration from the Chinese in California to the Cubans in Florida. What amazes me about this present invasion is the lengths gone to to arrive at the American dream. Stuffed in trucks and vans the come. Running and swimming and risking life in a harsh desert environment they come. And somehow they and this vast melting pot has survived and thanks to many of these same immigrants, prospered.

I must admit I feel somewhat intimidated at seeing signs in Spanish I don't understand. But that's my problem for not paying more attention in high school Spanish class. No thanks to all the cute girls who had a yen to learn the language and were probably dreaming of acquiring a Latin lover at some point in their adolescent lives. What's more, I see an increasing number of Latin faces replacing black faces on the crime reports. And some of the banks up here in the mountains now have large banners (in Spanish, of course) advertising their willingness to transfer funds to Mexico. But lets face it folks, a whole lot of capitalist business people have been enjoying the fruits of migrant crop workers for years. And about that lettuce, grape, orange, strawberry or some other yummy we savored picked by some guy who shouldn't be in this country?

I really don't need to catalog the argument for or against our present predicament. Are many of these people here illegally and should they be held responsible for their illegal act? Yes, but how? How do we even identify the millions of individuals? How do we prevent more of the same? It would seem much easier to sneak across the border and fade into the scenery than to go through the bureaucrat mumbo jumbo. What started as a trickle has become a deluge and it's to late to put the finger in the dam.

And the crazy thing is as more and more U.S. citizens and jobs move to Latin America, more and more citizens of Latin America move here. One of the reasons; many nations no longer have a national identity but have become political systems. But that's another post.


Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

I don't begin to know the right of this issue, but you have made some terrific points that should keep us all thinking.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

I agree that it's difficult to know what to do about this situation. Like you, when my ancestors showed up here it was either before the Revolution-- or as a result of the potato famine. A long time ago.

I'm so far removed from the realities of life in different countries that I don't feel like I could ever pronounce judgement on those who feel compelled to get to the USA.

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Lifecruiser said...

I guess a lot of people is moving around every where in the world nowadays when it's a little bit easier to travel more far away.
We have a lot of immigrants and refugees in Sweden too - despite the fact that we're such a tiny country - and they've come a very long way (not even from Europe) from their homes and culture to get here.
It bounds to be some culture collisions since we've got so spread cultures. The difference creates collisions.
Which actually is really sad since we're all humans, but there seems to be no solutions of preventing such situations.
Our gov. is somehow swinging the magic stick to afford this immigration, I don't know how. As I said, we're a very tiny country. I think we have to adjust to the thought of not being so Swedish in the future, because there not going to be so many Swedes left here.
That makes me sad too, because I've been very proud of being Swedish, but I'm not so sure any longer. There have been a lot of other deteriorations here that makes me say that.
Besides that, I actually like the fact that different countries keep their cultures - I want to explore the differencies while I'm out travelling and don't like the idea of it all becoming the same mixture of all cultures.
I love different cultures, but I want to explore it in the right country.
Maybe I'm just selfish and have to become accustomed with the thoughts...

6:52 AM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Thanks for these wonderful comments.
LIfecruiser with the usual Swedish sensibility seems to have touched on the crux of the matter. We are all proud of our cultures no matter what country and we would like to maintain those identities.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Binty McShae said...

I'm a Scotsman, and I always identify myself as that. But we must remember that cultural identities always change... none of us have the same identity as our ancestors did. And part of that change is in the embracing of other cultures and the amelioration that results.

In the UK a proud part of our cultural heritage was always the fish n chips... of course, the way the fish was cooked in batter was apparently introduced by Jewish immigrants, and the chips were brought over by the Irish, so I'm told. Before that culinary aspects of the cultural identity of Britain would have been quite different. Nowadays the national dish of the UK is... curry.

MacB, your own marriage is a result of centuries of cultural identity evolving. How possible would it have been even a hundred years ago?

9:58 PM  
Blogger Kasia said...

It is a crazy state of being, isn't it? What can we do to keep our identity? In Europe it is even funny - as a EU we are supposed to exist in harmony. But the more the politicians talk about the unity, the more differences apear. How can anyone expect the Poles would want exactly the same thing as the Germans?
In the US it is so much more diffucult. Most of the citizens are descendants of the people who came here long time ago. People came to America to gain freedom, a new motherland, a better life. The poor gyus from Latin America just dream about a better future - something their own countries cannot give. But how many people can come before this country turns into an overcrowded something and before all the possibilities are used out?

9:45 AM  
Blogger Binty McShae said...

What amazes me the most is those that are most fervent about protecting their own cultural identity are often (although not always) those who are most pro-change in other nations which would do the same there... The current Iranian regime has proposed to enforce laws for a minimum length of skirt an veil for women, an act that is being roundly denounced in the west. I'm not saying that the Iranians are right or wrong - all I'm saying is they are acting to protect their cultural identity........

5:24 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Binty, as usual you bring a different perspective to things.
In this country especially the influx of immmigrants has been going on for generations and has made the US a better place. And nations, like the people who inhabit them, are sometimes quick to criticize their neighbors.
Speaking of that, the Brits cusine needs all the help it can get. :)

Kasia, from what I've seen the EU is more of an economic thing and I think that's what fuels much of the debate on the issue in this country, although it isn't said. There is a national character which each country develops over its history and, like life, change is inevitable.

The simple fact is that as each new wave of immigration hit this countries shores, legal or not, the newcommers have had to face the prospect of some sort of discrimination. Eventually they assimilated and the "melting pot" did it's work.
Nazi Germany is probably the best example of national identity run ammok.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Everyone wants to close the doors to paradise behind them :) In a microcosm, it's those rich bastards buying up subdivided farmland in your backyard and building 4,000 square foot colonials, altering one's perception of their backyard. In a macrocosm, it's Mexicans heading north for seasonal work and odd jobs, and altering one's perception of America. As for my own opinion, if American businesses and families need those workers, then let them flow in from Mexico, but I'd like to see them flow in through proper legal channels. Yes those proper legal channels are teensy weensy but that's part of the problem, and part of the solution in my opinion is to increase legal immigration resources and visas substantially. Current illegal immigrants bring their families, and guess what, they don't pay taxes, and yet they are given resources that are funded by our taxes. Many illegal immigrant couples have lots of babies and those babies are supported by our taxes. One may argue that their cheap labor reduces the cost of goods sold and so zero income tax is offset by this cost reduction, but I say hogwash, you can't track it currently so you have no idea. And having no idea is a very bad thing.

I think there are plenty of businesses employing illegal immigrants who want to maintain status quo because they're profiting substantially from this under the table expense. These businesses aren't paying into social security, they're not paying their share of workers' income tax and so on. This has to change. Economically it's crazy. If you're running a service business in Texas you couldn't hire Americans if they were available without taking a financial hit if your competition are all hiring illegals because you couldn't compete on price.

I don't here much of an argument in favor of isolationism from even conservative pundits, so I'm not sure a discussion on why Americans aren't tolerant of the notion of immigrants is 100% relevant. The arguments I hear in favor of change have more to do with controlling immigration and tracking it so that government services can be funded properly and predictably. Just some thoughts.


4:46 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Nice to see you again Sean, with some very good points. Of course in our capitolist system the money is always the bottom line. And there's nothing wrong with that. Most people feel strongly about the legality issue. That and then there's always the appendent prejudice.

5:33 AM  

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