I really really meant to write something about how sweet it is to be in Spain writing stories and reading all the things I’ve been meaning to, but I went for a coffee, opened the paper and BOOM!

Yesterday’s article in El Pais, Spain’s biggest national paper, had a rundown of the immigration debate in Arizona. Oddly, the article seemed most outraged about Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s strange demand that the prisoners in his system wear pink underwear. That quirky bit of homophobia has never really struck me as central to the debate, though it is troubling, and if not cruel, certainly unusual.

Of course, they also showed photos of the march and rally in support of the law. Signs reading ‘go home illegals’, and ‘for English press 1, for deportation press 2’ and somewhat out of place ‘an armed society is a civilized society’ and even more confusingly ‘Karl Marx was not a founding father.’

These are not things I overheard, but signs waved high for all to see.

The article made the clever choice to introduce Arpaio as ‘of Italian origin’.

The rally was in a football stadium where a majority of the workers were of Latino (which determination, ironically enough is also Italian in a sense) origin. They were the only visible attendants, according to the article, that were not white.

“Can you hear me Mexico? Can you hear me from here? You should be clear that this land is our land, not your land. We paid for it. We worked for it,” said Larry Wachs, a journalist from Atlanta.

Who are we? I don’t mean that in any national existential angst sort of way, but seriously, who is this mythic ‘we’ that ‘paid for’ and ‘worked for’ this land? The bold and industrious English, who sailed over here and set up shop in a way that is not unambiguously heroic? The Germans or Italians or Irish or Norwegians or Danes or Czechs or Poles who came for myriad reasons at different historical moments? The Africans who were dragged here, only to suffer three centuries of slavery before being released into a battle for equality that’s still underway? The Indigenous who wandered here God knows when and have suffered indignity after indignity since the establishment of the colonies? The Chinese who labored in the construction of our nation’s infrastructure and later sat in prisons for the crime of being Japanese? Who are we? And why did only the white ‘we’ show up to this battle (covered/sponsored by Fox News)?

Conservative, I mean here the word itself not the ideology or the people who ascribe to it, refers to the preservation of something, no? It means to limit change. It is tied to an ideal and static moment, an edenic past, an originary place that depends on mythology to make it more pure than the present. To conserve something is to save it as it is, which in a world subject to physical laws and the perpetual movement of time, is impossible. So, I guess my question is, what exactly is it that people are trying to conserve? Was it represented by the homogeneity of that rally’s attendants? At what moment exactly do you locate the United States that is escaping into some threatening new entity, the United States that is and can remain ‘our land’.

That type of thinking, the type that leads people to concrete imaginings of some certain, codified establishment of borders between nations and people, of the investing of nationality with a substantive reality beyond the coincidence of location and time, is to me, well, totally foreign…

And so, I want to establish a nation for people who fear those who believe fervently in nations, and to draw up a long, meandering and in places nonexistent border that can be respected or ignored by the UN and all its constituent nations at their whim. The border will probably loosely trail the equator. Which side of the equator is ‘ours’ will remain undetermined until some future congress, which shall meet at an undetermined time and which shall consist of undetermined members, convenes…

We will have passports drawn in crayon and stamped with lipstick-y kisses. Our origin myth will be that one day from the chaotic ashes of beaurocracy and hate rose a Phoenix who flew drunkenly around the planet with a crayon in its beak dividing the world roughly in two, but not indicating which side was inside of the border and which side was out. We will wander back and forth until we are certain, which may be forever. Also, in honor of the bird (Is a Phoenix a bird? or does it enter into dragon territory?), their shall be regular festivities which will include hefty amounts of drink and failed efforts to draw straight lines. We will seek that bird until we die. One day, we hope, we can all be just as free as that bird. Oh, I’ll leave you to guess as to our national anthem, ahem…

Oh, yeah, and at the suggestion of that duder from the rally’s sign, Karl Marx will be our founding father, or at least one of them, possibly the other Marx Brothers will be asked to sign our Declaration of Complete and Utter Dependence… on What We Are Not Sure.


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Ryan Day is a writer who lives in Madrid. He runs The Toast Cafe, and Roll, restaurants that double as cultural spaces. His articles on arts and culture in Madrid can be found at Vaya Madrid.

49 responses to “If Only Marx Had Been a Founding Father”

  1. When I saw this on the front page, before I clicked through, I thought the Marx we would be discussing as a possible forefather was Groucho.

    Which would have been sort of awesome. At the very least, the Declaration of Independence might have been more entertaining (“Dear Britain: We refuse to belong to any empire that would have us as a colony. Bye!”).

    So I’m glad you got to him there at the end.

    • Becky says:

      Dear Britain: We refuse to belong to any empire that would have us as a colony. Bye!

      Okay, that’s funny.

      • Ryan Day says:

        I wish I was that funny! At least there was an appearance… Much chuckles from my side.

        • Becky says:

          I know. WTF.

          I jump all over this in some dire state of mind (*harumphh* *grumble grumble* *replace monacle*) and Will’s just yucking it up.

        • Ryan Day says:

          I think there’s wisdom in Will’s yucking… More fun to yuck than grumble, though I find myself grumbling way more often. I’m gonna make an effort to have yucks today.

  2. Matt says:

    I’m glad this horse won’t die. This is a national disgrace, and deserves to be flogged in the public eye for a good long time.

    Keep it up.

    Oh, and my passport application is in the mail. I didn’t really bother to address it or affix a stamp. Figured that wouldn’t really be an issue.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Stamps and addresses are not to be bothered with. These things sort themselves out.

      • Me too, Matt. I’m not even an American, but I do love your country… and it’s awful to see this sort of thing happening. I’m glad so many people care to devote so much time to overcoming this pathetic little attempt at lawmaking.

        Thanks Ryan, for another great story – another necessary contribution to the good fight.

  3. Becky says:

    Conservative, I mean here the word itself not the ideology or the people who ascribe to it, refers to the preservation of something, no? It means to limit change.

    Strictly from a semantic standpoint? Yes.

    It is tied to an ideal and static moment, an edenic past, an originary place that depends on mythology to make it more pure than the present.

    Well, this is something else entirely.

    So, I guess my question is, what exactly is it that people are trying to conserve?

    I suspect this would depend on both the issue at hand and the conservative you’re asking.

    While the left is generally enamored of representing conservatism, exactly because of the definition you supply here, as being inherently premised on fear of or resistance to change, this is rhetoric. The equivalent would be like saying since “liberal” means generous or unrestricted or copious, all liberals are radicals and anarchists who want to change EVERYTHING and right now. All that “ending the American way of life” stuff.

    When it comes to conservatism as a political stance, there is also the notion of conservative governance–specifically as it relates to the size and reach of the federal government, and not whether or not change should be allowed to happen. As you point out, and I’m sure most conservatives would agree, change, to some degree, is inevitable. The speed and extremity and reactionary nature of the change, however, is negotiable.

    When it comes to immigration, I’d suspect, as is common with any large group of people, motivations differ. Some might be racist. Some might simply be supporting a state’s rights to govern themselves as they see fit. Some may see illegal immigration and care of illegal immigrants as an incitement to or excuse for expansion of federal government. Some might be concerned with all three or any combination of two. Or any number of other issues.

    That said, I do like the idea of “Free Bird” as a national anthem.

    • Matt says:

      One thing that has struck me odd about the SB1070 debate is that the law, if enacted, will be the exact form of Big Government intrusion into citizen’s lives that the very (arch-)conservatives championing it claim to be fundamentally oppossed to. The cognitave dissonance is almost enough to give me a nose bleed.

      But then, as you say, the tree of politics sure does bear some strange fruit.

      • Becky says:

        Not necessarily.

        What’s at the crux of most conservatives’ apprehension about big government has very little to do with state government.

        “Big government” in the broader conservative parlance, is primarily concerned with the federal government, since a large federal government is, arguably, a trampling on states rights, states’ laws being more easily amended to fit the values of its constituency and being, the argument would be, a more accurate representation of what the constitution had in mind when it framed as a democratic republic.

        Usually when conservatives complain about big government at the state level, they’re talking about one thing: Taxes. That has been my general finding. Though I suppose there are deviants in every bunch, people feel more in control of their local and state governments, and arguably, are. Most states don’t have the resources to be a threat to the citizenry in the way the federal government does.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Yeah, I know its an oversimplification. But, the public presentation that seems to have been chosen by conservatives (whatever that means) has been a pretty simple one. Talk of forefathers everywhere. The returning to all these revolutionary war songs in public discourse, etc… Hypocritically embracing lyrics that touch on the whole manifest destiny theme to combat immigration… It just doesn’t make much sense to me.

      This started as a super long piece about Spanish reaction and how most of the people I was talking to couldn’t really believe that this Arpaio guy wasn’t in prison himself over the underwear issue. I think it’s funny that the focus is always on the underwear here. But, also, how Spain has had, at least since the Reconquista, a vision of itself as racially united (though there are some glaring regional identities and political differences), but is now facing huge immigration from Africa, former colonies, China, Romania… I had some funny bits about the basketball team in Beijing with the fingers making squinty eyes… and some other tidbits of hilarious cultural insensitivity… But mostly to point to the fact that, the US’s success with immigration has, A) sort of invented the European identity, as opposed to just a bunch of national identities near each other paving the way for more Euro cooperation, I think, and B) made immigration something not only tolerable, but desireable. We are watched, you know? We look really silly and mean in the global media. Small. Unaware of our own appeal. And, in the worst scenario we may be setting a different kind of precedent than the one we had historically set.

      It ended like this:

      In a world of economic treaties and business without borders, a world that more and more frequently sends the resources of the poor to the territory of the rich in return for temporary aid and construction projects that will likely be gone as soon as the resources run out, it strikes me as unthinkably ugly to also limit the mobility of human beings. The message is: business can travel, but the poor cannot. It’s feudalism plain and simple.
      We would do well to spend less time on the symptom of people crossing the border and treat the problem of strangled economies. My message would be the same to the Mexican government concerning its Southern border.
      To end illegal immigration, we have to end aggressive economic and agricultural policies, and curb the drug lust that fuels violence and corruption. People don’t leave happy homes. Decent neighbors don’t set houses on fire and lock the inhabitants inside.
      Sorry if that sounds smug. But not that sorry.

      I decided to cut it a lot. I’m not sure why now.

      • Becky says:

        The pink underwear thing…isn’t there a pretty powerful culture of machismo in Spain, or is that just in central/South America? I thought they inherited it from Spain…

        Anyway, I think there are some distinctions to be made to unpack your argument: 1) Legal/Illegal immigration and 2) the problem at hand vs. the greater philosophical/global issues underlying the problem at hand.

        Because of course, immigration is perfectly legal in this country, and the fact remains that we allow a LOT of it, more than any other country on earth, I think. So, tempting as it is to characterize the Arizona law as a retraction of America’s long-standing tradition of being a culture of immigrants, or as a reneging upon its commitment to take in the huddled masses, I think that argument is to be avoided. It doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny.

        At least part of what you’re saying here makes a good case for immigration reform. How do we update immigration procedures and policies to make them match more comfortably with an increasingly global community? I’m reasonably sure lots of people in Arizona have had the same questions for a long time, and it was nearly addressed in the Bush administration, just to fall apart despite bipartisan support. So I think there’s frustration. I think, if nothing else, this bill has done its job insofar as it has brought this problem off of the back burner. The Obama administration has been preoccupied and, in the process, ignored one of the chief concerns of the SW 25% of the country or so.

        So at least from the perspective of modernizing our immigration policies, in the big picture, I don’t know if this is entirely a bad thing. Squeaky wheel getting the grease, as they say.

        As far as what you see as the underlying issues…those aren’t as easy to address. That’s a generalized complaint about capitalism and the question of the validity of national borders is at least as old as “Imagine,” right?

        Which ties back to your confusion about some of those signs. I think they’re meant to be symbolic of a greater ideology, not just the immigration issue specifically. In that context, a hearkening back to manifest destiny could well be seen as a commentary in support of legal immigration. I don’t know that’s what was meant by it, but I don’t think it’s uncommon for people to carry general ideologically-themed signs to a rally about a specific issue.

        • Ryan Day says:

          Yeah, but it’s pretty hard to deny the general tone of these events tends towards the xenophobic. I’m not saying everyone there is a bigot, or that one’s opinion on the subject of immigration is even necessarily tied to their views on race/ethnicity… But there is without question a pretty large overlap between those who support this type of legislation and flat out bigots. I guess I’m saying, while there is no essential connection, a bigot would sure feel right at home next to a sign that reads ‘english press 1 deportation press 2’, or some such…

          And, to my mind, we cannot separate issues of immigration from larger issues of capitalism. They are completely and totally intertwined. People move to make money that they cannot make where they are for myriad reasons at least some of which we are directly responsible for. Not all of it. But a lot of it.

        • Becky says:

          Well, okay.

          So let’s say it’s xenophobic. Let’s say supporters of the law are bigots and racists to the man.

          So what then?

          I mean, I’m not trying to be obtuse, but is it just a general complaint about the character of the people with the signs, or does the xenophobia change something about the illegality of the immigrants?

          And I think you might be surprised if you asked around in Arizona. I think you’d find a lot of card-carrying Democrats favor this law. From the little I’ve heard, for many of them, it’s a community issue, not so much about globalism or racism or national/international politics.

          But that doesn’t mean they’d show up at a conservative rally. So you know, looks can be deceiving.

          It’s all fine to say “We can’t separate capitalism and immigration.” And that’s certainly true at the theoretical level.

          But as far as resolving the current tumult in Arizona and a general climate of unrest/tension in the SW between immigrants and citizens alike, unless everyone wants to wait a potentially indefinite period of time while America sorts out a debate about capitalism that has already going on at least 100 years, we’re going to have to do something within the constraints of our economy as it is.

        • Ryan Day says:

          Not to go back to the debate from last time, but the objections to this law are not based on its effects on illegals, but to the effects on legal citizens of Mexican origin, or 30% of the population.

          In which case I think the ‘who’ behind the law is pretty significant.

        • Becky says:

          Well, so, what’s the alternative?

          Carrying on with the status quo?

          Arguably, what is in the Arizona law is already the status quo. My understanding is that it is already against federal law to walk the streets anywhere in the country without your immigration papers. But a lack of federal enforcement prompted Arizona to make it a state crime, enforceable by any police officer in the course of his normal duty in interacting with the public, e.g. traffic stops.

          So, let’s say it’s a worst-case scenario. Catastrophic thinking in full force. Let’s say the law passes and huge posses of law enforcement just comb the streets, block-by-block, stopping everyone with black hair that they encounter, asking for ID and birth certificates and papers and passports in defiance of the very law that you claim will allow them to do it. You don’t think anyone would put a stop to that pretty quickly? The lawsuits, for one thing, would be incredible. The ACLU would prosecute them all for free at crippling cost to the State. And unless Arizona could provide proof of suspicion beyond race/ethnicity, they’d lose, based on their own law, likely even in their own courts.

          I’m asking you to entertain, momentarily, the notion that your worst case scenario might not happen, and that even with their allegedly despicable characters, out of fear of legal and federal action combined with a desire to get rid of at least the Latinos they legally can, even with bigots among them, Arizona law enforcement (which I must assume are themselves, considerably Latino) will treat this law carefully and actually use indicators of suspicion that are independent of people’s race, if for no other reason than to prove their detractors wrong.

          I mean, just asking you to consider it.

        • Becky says:

          This is interesting. It appears to show that voters support most of what the bill does–including requiring people to produce papers and the police’s right to detain people who are unable to produce papers–more than they support the bill itself, though a majority still support it.

          This makes me suspicious that most people don’t know what’s in the bill.

          http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2010/05/13/20100513pewpoll0513.html

        • Ryan Day says:

          I don’t think that the law will be allowed to stand, and I don’t think the worst case scenario is really a possibility. I think you’re right that it will spark debate (it already has… right here between us 🙂 ). Still, I think it is a terrible precedent to allow police to use appearance as a grounds for demanding papers. Legals probably won’t have them. They could be unnecessarily detained. There are better ways to deal with the problem.

        • Becky says:

          You do realize the law has been amended, don’t you? “Suspicion” is no longer sufficient. And the law never allowed for racial profiling. No law does. Some argue that this particular piece of legislation has MORE assurances against profiling written into it than virtually any legislation in the state. And that’s the most you can do with any law.

          Additionally, as I understand it, a driver’s license or ID card would be sufficient proof of legal status. Most people do carry those. Or they’re supposed to.

          And of course, cops can ask for your ID already, even throw you in jail for not producing one, depending on circumstances.

          After further investigation, it looks like this could turn into a major mess, and it has nothing to do with race or civil rights.

          The Arizona law mirrors federal immigration law so completely, it’s questionable whether or not any federal intervention to rule it a civil rights violation wouldn’t automatically rule federal law a civil rights violation, too. I am now convinced, more than ever, that this is a demand for action and attention to the issue rather than a real, honest-to-goodness law intended to fix the situation. In that sense, it’s rather ingenious.

          Looks like the fed’s best bet is to try to elicit a supreme court ruling that immigration enforcement is “officially,” not just “traditionally,” a federal charge, which is likely to incite further outrage and acting out on the right and cause questions about the supreme court’s legitimacy as an interpreter–as opposed to creator–of law.

          Mess, mess, mess. This is going to end up as a battle of legal technicalities and dusty old statute books that have nothing to do with addressing the problems at hand and on the ground.

          Good news is that Obama is now saying the immigration reform is the only real solution and the issue will be tackled this year. Bad news–for him, anyway–is that if he goes for the government intervention blitzkrieg again, he stands a good chance of fucking up the 2010 elections for his party–potentially even his own reelection.

          Just my flash assessment.

      • Jordan Ancel says:

        The last bit, the part you cut, is extraordinarily powerful because it’s so true.

        • Ryan Day says:

          Thanks, Jordan. I got itchy feet at the last minute and chopped it down to nothing. I’m always afraid of sounding preachy. Fine line between criticizing demagogues and being one and all. On the other hand, sometimes it’s important to speak up. I have always felt that people my age (myself included) have been pretty piss poor at political involvement, like it was uncool to care. I remember sitting at a punk rock bar in chicago, with all these kids who would probably have considered themselves fairly politically aware, one night, watching people gather downtown to protest the Iraq invasion on tv. I was trying to get people to go, and everyone preferred to stay and drink pabst. I preferred it too, and stayed and watched on TV, but later I felt like I’d missed an opportunity to be near an important moment.

          Not that I think I’m saying anything people don’t already know, but even the stuff we know needs repeating, right? All that is somehow to say, I probably shouldn’t have cut so much.

  4. Tom Hansen says:

    “We paid for it. We worked for it”

    “We” stole it from the Native Americans

  5. Carl D'Agostino says:

    I think Americans with a minimum of understanding in fields such as history, sociology, and economics have an an appreciation for the fact that static societies are stale and doomed to eventual evaporation in light of the advances of dynamic societies. So conservatives in that sense try to keep the evaporation in abeyance maintaining status quo and “traditional” values. Fortunately or unfortunately the status quo is disrupted in violent revolution (1917 Russia, 1949 China) in an effort to become ( of actual outcome). Dialectical materialism. And we know the world is changing so rapidly that there is no status quo. The status quo IS change. I think there is a backlash here exampled by the Arizona thing and many more things embodied in tea party syndrome that says “in spite of change, isn’t there anything that remains sacred even in a dynamic society?” This feeling may be the root of what I call “a national frustration.” The societal “anchors” are disappearing and what the adrift society will develop into is a prevailing fear in our societal consciousness.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Sounds about right to me. I can understand fear of change, and it is not something that conservatives have a monopoly on. Liberals rail against much of what goes on in the corporate world for exactly the same reasons, or at least very similar reasons. And Becky is right up there, that it is a battle for control of the rate of change more so than an all out desire to stop motion (which is how I chose to categorize it a bit dramatically :)).

      I like the way you put it, it is a feeling of ‘isn’t anything sacred in a dynamic society?’ What worries me is when that ‘sacred’ becomes entangled, even subconsciously, with a narrative of race and belonging to a country that is somehow naturally ‘ours’. Bad stuff can come from that kind of thinking.

    • Jordan Ancel says:

      Well said, Carl.

  6. sheree says:

    I think I’ve lost my mind. Is it just me or have comments gone missing from this post?

  7. Simon Smithson says:

    A little while ago, the national holiday commemorating settlement, Australia Day, was reclaimed on Facebook and in some strata of society as ‘Invasion Day’.

    It’s a fair point.

    I don’t really understand the argument for ‘finders keepers’, in this sense. There’s a ‘patriotic’ group on Facebook for Australian nationals – ‘We Grew Here, You Flew Here.’

    By that rationale… haven’t the immigrants actually put in more work to be here?

    But I digress.

    What’s actually happening on the ground with the Arizona immigration law at present?

    • Ryan Day says:

      Well, quite a bit is happening, really. The resistance has been pretty widespread nationally, but locally the law is actually garnering a lot of support according to polls. The last I read said that 61% of Arizonans are for the law. Of course, that probably depends on how they phrase the question, and it certainly depends on who they’re polling. Assuming (and this is a big assumption) that the latino community is heftily against the law, that would mean that almost ALL of the caucasian community is in favor, which I find pretty hard to believe, but who knows. I haven’t been there for the last three weeks, so I’m following via the newspaper here and the occasional glimpse around the internet (It’s crazy that they got all those tubes to go through the ocean!)

      There have been marches and rallies on both sides. Lots of shouting. Lots of signs that say mean stuff, and a few that are pretty funny. Lots of electoral posturing in a tough senate campaign… All the usual junk that makes pulling out some good old phobias and shaking them around seem timely.

      • Becky says:

        As I said above, a lot of Democrats support the bill. I’ve had people tell me so privately. Anecdotal, and I won’t out anyone, but for what it’s worth…

        Immigration is one of few issues upon which moderates on both sides of the aisle tend to find common ground relatively easily. My perception is that this has been the case for some time. So the 61% wouldn’t surprise me.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean that those moderates are the ones finding their way into the spotlight as the faces of the debate.

  8. Joe Daly says:

    >>We will have passports drawn in crayon and stamped with lipstick-y kisses.<<

    Can I make mine from “The Official Territory of Happy Pants?” I just think it would rock to come from a territory or province called “Happy Pants.”

    It seems like so often, America takes a position that is inconsistent with its own history. As you mention, the Japanese concentration camps were a black eye in American history, but it presents a priceless lesson if we only acknowledge 1) that it happened; 2) why it happened; and 3) how it was wrong. Same with our treatment of Native Americans.

    No country has a perfect rack record. Fear and greed are enmeshed in human nature and aren’t disappearing anytime soon. But to embrace the faults with the achievements can be the touchstone for tremendous growth. The fact that the debate surrounding Arizona’s law continues with such intensity suggests that such a moment is upon us.

    • Ryan Day says:

      You can indeed make yours from the territory of Happy Pants. But only if you can make sure that the national cuisine is suited to such a territory.

    • Slade Ham says:

      “No country has a perfect rack record.”

      Best typo of the week. If any country did in fact have a perfect “rack record” though, I would use my Crayola passport to go there first.

      • Ryan Day says:

        That may be the one place that your passport won’t get you. The champaign room of the greater Phoenix area. You’ll need the gold crayon and the wax lips to cross at that station.

      • Joe Daly says:

        I feel like I’m typing with boxing gloves on today.

        Slade, if a country ever emerges that boasts a perfect rack record, is it safe to assume you will be making a few humanitarian missions there to entertain the troops?

  9. dwoz says:

    You are completely, 100 percent dead on with your earlier comment about businesses being allowed to move, but people (laborers) not.

    I’d amend that slightly, and say it’s more like the last 40 years has been a big behind-the-scenes war, and the result of that war is that MONEY can move across borders very easily, more easily that it used to, and PEOPLE cannot.

    The very specific and intentional reason for this is to create “labor supply arbitrage” opportunities. If people were able to move TRULY freely, and chase economic opportunity wherever it occurred, there would soon be no wage disparity across the entire world. Thus there would be no money making opportunities exploiting wage disparity.

    It’s all on purpose.

  10. Carl D'Agostino says:

    DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
    Racial profiling and probable cause in Miami, Florida.

    “Why are you arresting me? I’m just window shopping in this mall. “Looking into the window of the jewelry store is called ‘casing’ the joint.Criminal intent. Driver’s license please.” I don’t drive. I don’t have a car. “That’s vagrancy. Count#2. “Where are you from? If you don’t know the law, you must be a foreigner. Show me your green card.” “I’m not giving you a green card. I don’t need one.” “Count #3, resisting arrest without violence.” OR “Why are you pulling me over?” ” You sneezed.” Cop looks under seat. Finds beer can. “You are under arrest.” “Why?” “Open container law.” “Smell it officer. Look at the cobwebs. It must have been there for years! Since before I bought it. I am a born again Baptist. I don’t drink. I’ll take breathalyser right now.” “You are under arrest. Open container law. Now show me your green card.”

    Banking in Miami

    Man takes check to his client’s bank to cash. “Would like to cask check please. “Welcome to Pacific Bank. License and green card, please.” “I don’t have green card.” “Everyone must bring their green card, sir” “I have never had a green card!” “Then you are illegal and a fugitive.” For Christs Sakes. I was born in Staten Island, New York.” Many people in Miami are from the islands, sir. That’s why you need a green card.”

    Seriously, re concerns over Arizona stuff. What commentators and ACLU and concerned citizens fail to take in to account is that THERE IS A WAR GOING ON IN MEXICO. DRUG CARTELS. OVER 16,000 INNOCENT PEOPLE KILLED. HELLO or should I say HOLA. It’s spilling over. The dealers are already here too. Americans in Arizona are terrified. Schools flooded, hospitals flooded, social services overwhelmed. No help from D.C.

  11. Jordan Ancel says:

    It’s always astonishing when conservative white people speak out against immigrant workers, wanted to control access to the US. It’s like they just don’t get that America was built on the backs of immigrants.

    The rants of the mob are bordering on, hell, they are racist comments!

    One argument that side uses is that these illegal immigrants are taking the jobs of qualified Americans. Really?

    Show me anyone in that particular crowd that is willing, no, clamoring for, low-paying, back-breaking work with no benefits.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Sorry for the slow reply, I’ve been doing a lot of enjoying the sunshine these last few days.

      Yeah, the whole healthy competition idea sort of goes out the window at that point to, doesn’t it. People who are totally against minimum wage even, as it is a restriction on business’ freedom, somehow draw a line at illegals coming in and making the market do what they say it should, establish its own wages.

      Again, I think if you really want to end illegal immigration, you enforce wage laws, and crack down on employers, and then maybe take your foot off the neck of the Mexican economy (and legalize/nationalize some of the lesser drugs)…

  12. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Agree with Jordan Ancel. Once heard an African American pundit call Pat Buchanan a racist. I was surprised because I’ve never heard anything come out of Pat’s mouth to indicate such. But a while back on MSNBC he said words to this effect “The illegals are overwhelming our schools, hospitals, social services and taking our jobs and ruining our culture.” Well it is overwhelming and I see it here in Miami too. One example,the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980 put way over 8,000 kids into the schools overnight. No Fed help, it broke us. But ruining our culture? Whose culture, Pat? Your Irish Catholic culture? And there it is: Racism. And this kind old fellow doesn’t even recognize it because he consciously believes in equality. But it’s there right in that “our culture” thing and millions of white Americans unwittingly feel the same way and in their general innocence are still locked in to racial internalizations although most truly abhor racism. We just don’t understand that Black and Spanish and Asian eyes see the same particulars through very different eyes.

    However, Mr. Ancel, in Florida there are thousands of high school and college grads that would jump at the chance to get any work, even “low paying,back-breaking work with no benefits.” And when the oil leak passes Tampa south and around the Keys and north to Jacksonville,IT IS GOING TO BE THE END OF THE WORLD putting another million out of work. Recall that Mayan thing with their calendar ending in 2012? Well they were just 2 years off. I’ve lived here most of my 61 years and never thought I would see the Apocalypse in my lifetime, but….

    • Ryan Day says:

      I really like getting your Miami perspective. It’s a different dynamic, I think, than Phoenix, because while the population here is strongly latino, the culture remains pretty distinctively anglo-southwestern (that may not be quite right, but you see what I’m getting at).

      I like too, that you seem to have a pretty layered understanding of the issue. It is racism, and it is often couched in concerns that are more concrete than mere bigotry. I tend to get a little blinded by rage and just rail on folks for being stupid racists, which is probably not such a nuanced approach on my part, but hey… they often bring it on themselves by couching their arguments in racist terms. And, yeah, including themselves in an ‘ours’ that is by its nature imaginary and exclusive.

      You’re right to, that there are plenty of non-latinos who would be more than happy to do back-breaking work with no benefits for low wages, though I don’t know how many would be willing to do it at 3 bucks an hour. Some, I’m sure, would. I don’t think anyone should be working for such low pay. So, maybe enforcing our wage laws would be a good start towards a solution of some sort.

      I hope things don’t go as poorly as you predict in terms of the oil spill. It’s really disheartening to watch. It’s frigg’n absurd is what it is, and definitely has a mildly apocalyptic flair. I just hope that for once we can learn a lesson from an error and move in a rational direction, and not take the further entrenching ourselves in shitty behaviors approach that has colored the last few dada decades of life in the world. Actually, maybe all the decades have been that way… who knows.

  13. Erika Rae says:

    I want one of your passports stamped with kisses.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Thing is, you have to make your own and then mail it in (or bring it to the office) for the kiss stamps.

  14. Kip Tobin says:

    Big fan I am of this here post (sorry it took so long to get to) with its sardonic prose slitherings toward peeling back a veil over this injustice that you simply can’t help but expose. It reminds me of many a time we spent half-drowned in pint-after-pint at the Pink Rivers’ neighborhood pub, and you, sauced and saucy, railing on drunken ignorants as their illogic was displayed. Few, at least in a bar, can hold much of a candle to your arguing.

    I echo your sentiment here regarding this white conservative pseudo creed that “we should take back america”, a wholly hole-y argument that is as bigoted as it is narrow-minded and short-sighted. Of course, this argument appeals to a certain segment of the voting population and is therefore championed, nevermind its flawed logic, just put on the nationalistic blinders (and slap on a myth, as you’ve said). I think Palin works as a celebrity politician because she, like Bush, is seen as a straight-shooting (hot for a) downhome teacher. And people want to believe in teachers, especially hot ones, who shoot straight. (This reminds me that the editorial in the new Harper’s asks Is Palin porn?)

    I like your style, dude.

    • Ryan Day says:

      Thanks, Kip. I like your style too. I’m glad you enjoyed. I’ve been trying to keep my nose out of El Cano and in the laptop this trip. It’s good to be back here, though.

      I never thought of Palin as porn… But, it seems pretty apt in a way. Then, so is Michael Moore, I suppose, and how twisted is that…?

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