Saturday, December 22, 2007

Politicians' Games

Today's About Face continued last week's discussion of immigration and why we, as veterans think it important to make a statement about the violence and hostility that characterizes much of our national discussion about immigration. You may recall that last week Dennis spoke out against politicians who use racial hatred to divide Americans. We had some interesting and sometimes disturbing responses that tell me not all our listeners heard what we said about hate.

John Henry said this in response.
First, let Dennis, Mark and John wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. A wonderful Happy Holiday for those not into the Christian aspect of the holiday. We love you all and wish you the best. Salude, Amor Y Paz.

Last week Dennis, Mark and I jumped into the immigration theme that is the top topic across this country. We received mixed emotions and comments from the listening audience. We plan to continue this debate this week, 22 December.
We are not discussing who is undocumented or who is documented. Who is coming across the border is not a major concern of ours. It is the hatred that is being generated and the profiling that is being used against a race of people in the United States. The police are beginning to use profiling in stopping people of Hispanic origin just as they did with the Middle Eastern after 9/11 and they did with the blacks. This practice is generating hate and violence against the Hispanic people. I could hear that sentiment in some of the listeners voices. So I am going to rant a little about this subject today!

Recently a young undocumented Mexican crossing the border gave up his chances for freedom when he came across a mother and son who had encountered an accident. The mother eventually died from the accident, in the arms of an immigrant, but the son survived thanks to the Mexican who came into our country illegally. Yet, in the paper, people here wanted him arrested, incarcerated , and handed the worst of punishments because he was Mexican. This is an excellent example of inhumanity. There seems to be no compassion in our hearts for our neighbors who are trying to find a better opportunity for their families. An opportunity that they seek in our rich country. Just as we did to the blacks, we are trying to generate hate and bigotry against our Hispanic neighbors. This is inhumane!

One of our listeners stated we should not be going after the undocumented but rather going after the government of Mexico, demanding they raise the standard of living and create better paying jobs for their citizens. She suggested that the United States and other wealthy countries should work together with Mexico and other improvised countries to help curtail the government corruption and bring about better paying jobs and fair labor practices. I tend to agree but I do not see that happening in the near future. I think it would be best addressed by the United Nations because I cannot see our government cooperating with others on this problem. Canada is accepting many of the fleeing immigrants from our country and giving them a living allowance plus housing for up to one year or until they get a job. Our country is targeting the immigrant and spewing hate and bigotry. That is inhumane!

One caller asked us to give one example of how the vigilantes are spreading hate and violence while protecting the border. I googled that subject and came up with examples of pistol whipping, stripping and beating, unlawful detention, name calling and many more. I did not find any examples of compassion. That is inhumane!
I also found evidence of the vigilantes being linked to the White Supremacist movement in the United States. That is not hard to find. It is hard to understand how people can be duped by fear and bigotry, by a few, into taking violent action against another race of people after we have spent decades of trying to improve our bigoted feelings of oppression and hate against the black race. What is wrong with us? Do we ever learn from our past mistakes? That is inhumane!

I know there are many who will not agree with me on this issue. We, the United States, are asking these undocumented to join the military and place their lives on line for a country who wishes to continue to spew hate and oppression against them. The first Hispanic who lost his life in Iraq was recruited off the streets of Mexico. Yet, recently, we sent an undocumented high school student, member of JROTC and an ambition to join the service, to his death in a hospital in Mexico because it might cost the wonderful citizens of this country a few dollars to help him. That my friends, is a case of heartlessness. They can die in a war for us but cannot get a break to improve their education, or get a chance to better their lives, or complete an honest day of work in our wealthy country without being subjected to hate and bigotry. That is inhumane! Has our country grown beyond compassion, caring, hope, and helping others in need? I hope not!

My response:
Listen up, people. This discussion is about fearmongering and deception. It’s not about stolen jobs, falling wages, changing culture or sacred property rights. Those issues only come up if you take your eye off the ball: the politicians’ Terror War against the American people. Last week Dennis expressed his dismay about politicians using hatred to turn people against one another. Period. He did not advocate or endorse any immigration policy. He only asked that violence and hatred against other human beings cease. As a combat veteran, he knows where that leads.

What Dennis spoke about is how the politicians terrorizing Americans to prevent US from discovering and acting in our common interest. It’s the politicians’ age-old game of divide and rule. Much of our so-called immigration debate is nothing more than this year’s version of the distortions that led this country to invade Iraq and pursue a disastrous military occupation. After five years of failed war, countless deaths and vast expenditures, the politicians needed a new distraction, something to divert Americans’ attention from their leaders’ complete failure as stewards of the public interest.

Immigrants are this season’s Beast, joining gays, militants, abortionists and that all-time favorite, the terrorist with his ticking time bomb. Immigrants are even better than terrorists for inciting fear. Immigrants, with and without legal documents, are everywhere in this country, visible to all the Americans who’ve seen good jobs move overseas and worry about their future, who see America at risk from the world. The Terrorists have only attacked a few times, overseas and not Americans, unless you count Iraqis in their homeland fighting foreign occupiers. But desperate Mexicans and other inhabitants of the Americas, seeking to escape dire circumstances in their homelands and earn a living where opportunity exists, are a constant reminder of the a dangerous world and the need for the Strong Daddy Protector. The swaggering figure in a flight suit who will somehow keep us all safe.

The politicians are only too happy to oblige our fears. They get votes and support for bigger budgets from Americans who are perpetually scared and uncertain. Our political leaders avoid the hard work of crafting real policy solutions to address difficult economic and social challenges. Divide and bamboozle works at any level, from George W. Bush and his sock puppets all the way down to the Joe Arpaio’s of this nation. Everybody and his dog has an opinion about immigrants and immigration, and far too much of that opinion is overtly and directly hostile to other human beings. Hatred is the evil spawn of our fear.

I grew up in the south during Jim Crow. I saw the hatred and violence. Later in life I saw learned how the capitalists, the banks and the white elites used racial division to keep blacks and poor whites from recognizing their common economic interests. Now we have a new underclass who are denied human rights and physically attacked so that the natural born native so-called Americans (who by the way, are not really native to this land) can somehow think they will be on the winning side of the increasing polarization of wealth created by economic and social policies that favor the few.

Politicians barking at immigrants will keep Americans from seeing their own economic peril until it’s too late. By then we’ll all have few good options, regardless of our legal status.

A permanent underclass is good only for the few who aren’t in danger of falling into it; nor is a permanent underclass good for the long term health of any society. Nor is increasing concentration of wealth. An economic system that creates a few winners and many more losers is inherently unstable, whether it be in a nation or the world. Karl Marx was right about that.

Immigration and economic relations among nations are national and international problems that requires effort, thought and goodwill from many national and international stakeholders. Exclusion, discrimination, hatred and violence are not even in the realm of solutions to economic displacement and its consequences. If you think undocumented immigration is a problem–and it is a significant economic and social challenge to America’s open society–then insist that Congress and the president do their job and create the required national and international solutions. Local laws, ordinances and restrictions aimed at any group are tragically beside the point and only serve to divide communities that should be seeking common interest.

But it all works for the politicians. They get elected. Their corporate buddies get rich and suppport the politicians , the rest of us get screwed. And some people become so scared that they must attack their fellow humans. That’s as foolish, pointless and just plain wrong as invading Iraq.

Callers today were very supportive. Maybe everybody else was already tuned out and we were preaching to the choir. Even so, I'm proud we took a stand in support of human dignity and brother and siserhood.

More and more I think of myself as a citizen of the world entitled to all of the human rights so eloquently declared by Thomas Paine in 1774 and adopted by the United Nations two centuries later. Nothing more. I also know that the exercise of those rights is only proper if I recognize the same rights in all others. The America that I love is that kind of nation.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

another, mostly unreported activity of the border vigilantes is the vandalization of water stations. it's a real problem in arizona. the stations that are kept by church and other groups have plastic jugs of water. the sole purpose of them is to save lives in the desert. the vigilantes enjoy using them for target practice and machete drill. they also have been seen staking out the water stations for their illegal detentions.

one of the things that i have been seeing is that the mexican/american community of arizona and california which used to be as solidly republican as the cubano population in florida has recognised that the party of lincoln has sold its soul to the grandsons of jeff davis for a pittance. they have begun to see the naked and rampant racism that fuels the right's agenda.

my cynicism (which is my body's natural defense against stupid) tells me that the folks who are trumpeting loudest about immigration are the very same folks that stand to make the most money from exploiting those who are made and kept illegal.

following the money works even better than following your nose.

9:59 AM  

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