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Jobs Americans Won't Do - Blaming the Victim

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It makes my skin crawl every time I hear it, and I just heard the president say it once again on the TV. Bastards. The line, repeated by pundits and politicians ad nauseum, should be, “Jobs Americans won't do FOR THAT WAGE.”

It's insulting. We Americans work longer and potentially harder than workers in other industrialized nations and have suffered through the corporatization of our government to create the shambles we have now. And so OF COURSE it's we, the peoples' fault that all these folks from south of the border are here. Give me a break.

The use of foreign workers really started kicking in the 1980s in an effort by large corporations to break the backs of U.S. unions by using undocumented workers. With undocumented workers, there are no taxes, no labor laws and no complaints, though they may work 12 hour days and often ruin their bodies. (Think of meat processing.) Can't say the corporations weren't successful, though, looking at the state of unions today.

Yes, it is the unabated efforts of industry to undermine the very workers who provide their profits that defines the situation today. The immigration debate sweeping the county now is just the latest manifestation of the same old song and dance.

Again, think of meat processing. A century ago in Chicago you had similar conditions to those that exists in many plants today. Workers then were on their own to make the best of a bad situation. But the advancement of unions and more humane conditions alleviated the worst of the situation. And U.S. workers were doing those jobs. These days it seems corporate interests prefer conditions from a hundred years ago. Hence the popularity of “illegals” in many industries. Think on that when you're deciding between Tyson or Amish chicken at the grocer.

The particulars of the repair required in this situation is beyond my ken. But I do appreciate the decisions that got us here and the kinds of decisions that need to be made to alleviate it.

For starters, we stop believing bastards who would have us blame the victims, whether it's “Americans who won't do that job” or immigrants who have little to lose and can't afford years to gain legal entry into the U.S. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of our federal government whose willful neglect allowed this situation to arise and allows it to continue. It was, as usual, their interest in serving lobbyists instead of serving the interests of we, the people that created this predicament.

We've got to recognize that healing this situation is going to take some time, and that it will heal most easily if we attack the roots of the problem instead of dwelling on the symptoms.

Which gets us back to throwing the bums out. This summer of 2006 is going to be whacky, and in many ways likely deleterious for many of us (think Katrina). But it can also be the year that dictates substantive change from an old, tired, unfair political system.

Maybe we're finally growing up enough as a citizenry to start forcing our government to work on real priorities like ending war, acting fiscally responsible and balancing community and corporate interests. Maybe we're ready to begin implementing real progressive and sustainable practices in our cities and communities. Maybe we're finally ready to take a clear look at the mess that is our culture, and start thinking about the kind of world we'd really like to live in.

The time is Now, folks. The time is always Now, but there are few times in the lives of men (and women) when moments such as these, pregnant with such doom and hope, arise. And this time leading up to the mid-terms very much deserves our intention, our energy and our love. And maybe something wonderful will happen.

 

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Jim Prues is the Founder of World 5.0 and President of Panoptic Media. He understands that 'democracy is not a spectator sport.'

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