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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/30/10

A few things have just got to be said.

Message Ed Tubbs
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A few things have just got to be said.
As a US Army veteran (June 1964 to June 21, 1967), I know what the intentions of Memorial Day are. I'm equally aware of the financial collapse that has left tens of millions unemployed, of the West Virginia mine collapse, of the horrid goo that continues unabated in the Gulf. But . . . a few things, on another matter of equal import, have just got to be said.
Last July I posted an opinion piece, "What was not Noted" to the progressive opinion site, Op-Ed News. ( My post was a virulent reaction to a national media video that asserted much of the difficulties our hospitals were experiencing could be traced to the scourge of illegal aliens -- to be read as Mexicans, forgetting that few if any "Americans"can distinguish Latinos who do not happen to be from Mexico from those who are.
Nearly eleven months after posting the article, I received a reader's response from a Ms. Lynn Engle: "Sir,
You dismiss the gravity of the high costs involved in treating illegal aliens across the country. Hospitals in the SW are closing left and right because they cannot afford to stay open while treating everyone for free." (
To full disclosure, I receive good medical care that is free to me through the Veterans Administration. Furthermore, I am unable to fathom why the level of care that I receive should not be available to everyone. Or, who among us, regardless of station, race, ethnicity, or the manner in which he or she got "here" is somehow unworthy -- or, "less" worthy --of medical care? I ask all who argue from another perspective to identify by name and address those specific individuals who are not as entitled, who are somehow less human than I, or the one doing the identifying. To this possibly scurrilous exercise I'm prepared to postulate that it's only those with health insurance, most particularly employer provided or subsidized, or who foolishly think they don't and won't need it who will protest my first postulate about health care. And for all who want to contend "we" (To be interpreted as US taxpayers) cannot afford it (providing the care), please explain how it is that "we" were able to afford the unpaid-for Bush/GOP tax cuts that benefited disproportionately the top-5 percent of Americans, and/or either of the two wars, one of which was naught but a complete pack of lies, or the military hardware that not even the specific branches of the military want.
I have furthermore posited there exists no record that so much as one illegal alien ever took a job that belonged to an American. You can be the registered owner of your car. You can hold title to your house. No one owns a job. (Speaking of Jobs, ask Steve, who with partner Wozniak founded Apple Computers, but was fired from the company he had built!) NO! Whenever an employed American citizen was supplanted in that employment by someone who had entered the country illegally, it was exclusively at the hands of an employer who sought illegals because he or she could exploit them; pay lower wages, offer no medical or other benefits, etc. And the primary reason employers are able to do this is because of an adamant posture by perhaps a majority of Americans who oppose real national IDs, a step that would remove from employers the ready-made excuse that by checking Social Security cards and drivers licenses, both of which are available on the black market, they are innocent of any prosecutable felony or misdemeanor. Additionally, this says nothing of employers that have taken their manufacturing operations beyond US borders, to avoid all manner of wage difficulties and other regulations, employment and environmental.
Quit blaming others for behaving precisely as every one of us would, if we felt we had to. Quit focusing on those with darker skin tones and accents. Stop the ethnocentric bigotry, please. And this from one who is at least as Caucasian as anyone who has ever been in the US, or who ever will be.
To the ends posited in the immediately preceding paragraph I'd like to summon the words of a sort of California celebrity: Huell Howser, a Tennessee transplant. Likely known to few outside the state, for going on 30 years, Howser has traipsed every nook and cranny for the common folk and the uncommon geographic specks that compose the genuine California Gold, the title of his PBS series. In an October 31, 1999 Press-Enterprise interview Howser, an extraordinarily congenial fellow with a childlike fascination for virtually every nuance of every new "adventure" dropped his preferred visage when two matters arose.
"There is a whole class of people disenfranchised in this country. That's when I get cynical, embittered and angry. If anyone tells you that everyone in this country starts out on an even footing or are at the same starting line, that's a lie." The talk turns to illegal immigration. Now Howser is fired up. He is no longer the genial television host. He is a rabble-rouser with a cause. His face is red, his hair is white and he takes off his sunglasses to stare you straight in the eye so you don't miss his point. "What does illegal mean anyway?" he asks. "Many of the people working here illegally believe more in the American Dream than some Americans."
(For a delightful peek at a Huell Howser California's Gold production visit just type Huell Howser in You Tube's search box for a sampling of several of his episodes.)
In May of '72, I fled the clinging cultural and social confines of Southeastern Michigan for the freedom of the San Francisco Bay area. All of my formative years in Michigan led me to a distorted image of what a farm looked like, and how the stuff that landed on my dinner plate happened to get there. The premise of California's wealth was neither Hollywood nor the tourism I had been disposed to believe they were. It was AGRICULTURE, big and vast beyond any Michigander's imagination. In 1972's mid-summer, my wife at the time and I took a drive south along US-101 into the over-the-horizon farmlands south of Gilroy. There, in the 90-degree plus of the afternoon, we saw armies of brown-skinned folks bent low, some with hoes weeding the rows upon endless rows of produce, and others devoted to harvesting the crops that were destined to be shipped across the country and the globe.
Admittedly naive, the Archimedian "Eureka" blast of "So that's how it gets to my table!" hit me hard. I immediately felt a silent shame for taking so much for granted, and for taking those who toiled so thanklessly on my behalf for granted as well. Regardless the subject of "illegal immigration" wasn't the least topical at the time, I knew that even if it had been, no American would have given the first damn . . . so long as the products of that hard labor reached the grocer's shelves abundantly and cheap.
The Okies that play such a dominant role in the San Joaquin Valley today were three and one-half generations ago the plundering hordes that had fled the Dust Bowl.
Arriving as hoboes in railroad boxcars and in beat up, barely running jalopies, packed high with family members and belongings no self-respecting person today would claim, they were the despised who ransacked orchards, who thoughtlessly trampled crops and stole from farm houses and general stores when they could, when they felt there was no other way to feed and clothe their families. They felt no compunction against either their committed depredations nor to dislodging the Chinese-Americans from agricultural jobs they had held ever since they were let go after the continental railroad was completed; Chinese that the Big Four of Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins had lured by every means fair and foul from their homes in China, to labor and die dynamiting the route through the Sierra. Once they were no longer needed, they became the "Yellow Menace" and the subject of the Exclusionary Act.
But beating up on Chinese or Latinos is a great deal easier even than had been the terrorizing of the hated Irish and others who earlier surged our Eastern shores. With Asians and Latinos, you can just look at 'em and know "They ain't Americans." That their roots might trek back forever in US soil and be a whole lot deeper than someone like me, someone who might as easily be mistakenly thought to be of Norwegian, or Swedish, or French descent seems prima facie of little importance, and indeed facilitates the sin. It doesn't wash it clean, however.
A visit to Ms. Engle's Op Ed News home page ( disclose a photograph of a highly attractive Caucasian woman who, for visually obvious reason, enjoys a presumption there very likely is an inordinately high probability that she, like me, will never be asked by a traffic cop for our "papers," to ascertain not whether we've the privilege to drive the vehicle we're in, but to be in this country. That -- the presumptive demanding of proof that one has a right to be here, based on a person's appearance -- composes the core and the sum of the sin that the State of Arizona has committed, and that every American who supports the legislation is also party to. It is xenophobia committed to legislative writ, and it is blasphemous of the American ideals of justice all of us eagerly contend we subscribe to. It makes of every notion of justice a blatant lie.
I neither dismiss nor diminish the outrage felt by the ranchers along our southern border, nor that felt by citizens who have been victimized by many of those who have crossed into the US with ill intent. I submit that I would be just as angry, just as much in arms over the dessecrations to my property and sense of security. But one can count on the fingers of the hand of someone without a hand the number of times I have reached in anger a thoughtful solution. Thoughtful and anger are at opposite poles of each other. By psychological definition one cannot occur in the presence of the other. And reactive legislation obtains an appositive purpose only through either accident or coincidence; never, ever is it thoughtful contemplation in pursuit of a solution.
Indeed, the multiples of millennia long quest to construct justice systems that will more often than not actually dispense justice is a quest to overcome the inclination to emotionally fomented behavior. It will always be an affront to the very philosophy of "justice" to condemn -- in our hearts or in our courts -- anyone because he looks like he might be guilty, or because we think he is guilty.
But, when it comes to requiring police to demand someone produce "papers" to prove he or she has a right to be here . . . That is not "justice." That's vigilantism run hog wild. If we want to be better than we are or have been, we need to act better than we have been. All of us.
* * *
All those who even imply that this problem or that is attributable to "illegal aliens" are like wolves howling at the moon. They seek no solution, only to loudly vent their anger. They're like all on the right who claim to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which they, in reality do not. Or, where are the armies marching on Washington to demand a surtax on everyone, themselves 100% included, to pay for those wars, lest the price tags (The unfunded liabilities for veterans' care and military procurements now having passed the $2 TRILLION mark.) be passed to our progeny? Or the armies demanding reinstitution of a military draft, one without the exemptions obtained by so many on the right, when it was their turn in Vietnam or Desert Storm? They're like all the pro-lifers who manifest no interest whatsoever in every child, once that child has exited the birth canal. Or, where are the hordes descending on Washington demanding a sufficient tax increase to pay for the health care and education of the precious children of God that they demand(ed) be brought kicking and screaming into the world?
It's hypocracy, the bastard inbred fault conceived in the fervid womb of thinly disguised bigotry, and nothing but. They really do not want a solution. Because, what a solution would require is an exponentially enlarged federal bureacracy to, first of all establish that mandatory real ID I noted earlier, then an adequately enlarged policing army to check for everyone's papers, with none excluded from the intrusive search, and finally a bureacracy that has been financed by stratospherically soaring taxes, and that is larger and more ruthless than anything anyone can conjure, to round up everyone who couldn't produce that adequate identification into busload after unending busload to transport those they had rounded up . . . where? There maybe anywhere from ten million to almost twenty million who are not here "legally." And who can guess the number of those who are here legally, but who cannot lay their hands on birth certificates that may have been archived into warehouses by the counties that issued them? (Could even John McCain, born in the Canal Zone; less a hold on US citizenship rights than was one born in Hawaii, when it was a US territory, not a state?)
All that's gonna cost money folks. An awful lot of money. An awful lot more than those hollering to the moon right now would ever be willing to cough up! And now let's insert the brutal fact that the violence along the border has been, in large measure, fed by an NRA that insists everyone has an unfettered right to brandish an automatic military assault rifle capable of discharging rounds that penetrate police protective armor half-a-mile distant at rates of 500 rounds per minute, and that the least, most modest inquiry into a gun-buyer's background is equivalent to a terrorist's plot at the heart of America.
And no one contests that most of the weaponry used by the Mexican drug gangs are US manufactured and sold.
Absolutely not, they don't care about illegal immigration. They just want to scream. And it's thoroughly disgusting.
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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
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