Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The times they aren't changin'

I'm getting a bit annoyed by Lou Dobbs' one man Crusade against illegal aliens. It's hardly on the top ten list of things that are making things worse in the US and it's not going to make rational or humane action any more likely.

Yes, it is possible that the allegedly massive influx from Central America and Mexico is holding down wages, and making it harder for citizens to find jobs, but that trope is one of the many assumptions he makes that seem as undocumented as the workers he rages against. I'd like to see some facts please.

I do know several local businessmen who have hired undocumented Guatemalan workers to mow lawns and paint houses. I do know they were praised as the hardest working, least problematic employees these business have had and it was hard, I'm told, to replace them at any price with anyone other than other immigrants when their papers turned out to be forged. If you think it's easy to find people to fix roofs in the Florida Summer, you're wrong. If you think you can find someone to do it faithfully and with a smile for twice the wages, you're very wrong.

I do not know that it has become harder for local citizens to find jobs doing such grueling things as cutting sugar cane, fixing roofs, cutting lawns, digging holes, washing dishes and the like. I do not know, nor has Dobbs really shown me that there is in fact any negative effect on the US economy and I have seen figures that suggest the opposite: that there is a net gain. We have nothing but his undocumented word that Mexicans are pushing "real" Americans out of fields like scraping plates and cleaning grease traps. We do have evidence that much of what lower income people can afford to buy or to eat wouldn't be so affordable if we were quite so scrupulous and legal minded as Mr. Dobbs would have it. We do have solid evidence that engineering, technical, manufacturing, customer service, secretarial, software development and executive jobs are being legally exported in increasing numbers and that this hurts us much more than does the lack of potato frying technicians born in the USA.

In his article for CNN.COM today, Dobbs stresses the fact that May first is Law Day and seems to be arguing that the sheer illegality of working in the US without a visa makes it something to go to war about, but to judge by what I see every day on the highway, legality and illegality are not questions that excite Americans unless there is some other agenda - like bigotry. I'm simply not offended that someone waves a Mexican flag, as so many Dobbsians seem to be. I'm far more offended at people who dress like leprechauns and drive drunk on March 17th and mostly puzzled by those who wear "Kiss me, I'm Polish" T-shirts and pretend to ethnicity when they are 5th generation Americans who don't know where Poland is. The screams of "Illegal - illegal" simply don't move me as much as does the lawless government we're subject to.

Dobbs also mentions that of course, May 1 is the international Labor Day as though an argument for opening or providing a path to citizenship for those who live, work and have families here had anything whatever to do with socialism or Communism. Are we just playing Pin the Sin on the Mexicans here?

Dobbs, of course didn't comment on the video I've seen of Darth Vader clones beating hell out of Mexicans that reminded me so much of what I saw all the time during the 1960's. Of course there is much else to remind us of that period, including the blind hatred stirred up by patriotic warmongers and haters of freedom. What differs the most is that once we thought we were fighting successfully against what we now have become. If the times have changed at all, they've changed for the worse.


d.K. said...

Lou Dobbs is not only one of those people who, wherever he is, believes he's the smartest guy in the room, he's also one of those who will unabashedly tell you so.

Crankyboy said...

I'm the smartest guy in the room right now but I'm alone.