Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mayday

Can we all finally agree that the anti-immigration efforts in this country are largely fueled by an irrational hatred for Mexicans? Okay, Latinos in general, but directed specifically towards Mexicans? I mean, it's always been pretty much out there in the open. The repeated insistence that all forms and public documents appear only in English, a symbolic gesture that serves exclusively to prevent Spanish-speaking people, here legally and illegally, from taking advantage of social services and exercising their rights. The sudden furor over Mexican citizens displaying their American patriotism, waving both their native and adopted flags and singing their new national anthem in the language of their birth, pretty much makes my case for me.

We're talking about a country in which armed men stalk the border by night, hoping for a chance to shoot - or at the very least, frighten and dehumanize - one of our neighbors to the South, based on the unproven, fairly illogical suggestion that their presence is an unmanageable burden on our local economies. (Not that a money crunch should prevent us from giving Bush Eleventy-Billion dollars to kill Iraqis. What are you, a cowardly traitor?)

Constant cries for deportation and blood vendettas against anyone who mentions the word "amnesty" speak, to me, of a deep-seated, primitive, xenophobic hatred, the kind of thing Tony Snow promised us no longer exists in this country. The front page of Michael Savage's site today (no link for Dr. Weiner, cause fuck him) reads:

Immigrants declare war on US: Deport them before deport us!

Think the grammatical error (I'm assuming it was to be a "they") was intentional, to better relate to his semi-literate yokel readership? Underneath that, Mike has a photo of some Arab May Day protesters carrying a banner supporting the immigrant's cause. His caption reads: "Middle-East Terrorists Also Want Legalization!"

I mean, the entire notion is so ridiculous...so obviously based on a flagrant, hyperventilating hatred of both Arabs and Latinos...I bet other idiotic racists are embarrassed. "Dude, is that what I sound like when I'm vomiting bile at darkies? I've got to get a life!"

Weiner doesn't even believe this bullshit. He used to skinny dip with Allen Ginsberg, he's just in it for the money. But it's not just him - this entire cause to which he's manacled himself is populated by nothing but racist, xenophobic paranoid losers. Remember how they swallowed that claptrap about reconquista, how Mexicans were secretly plotting to take back the land we rightfully stole from them? Their standard-bearer of the moment, Michelle Malkin, wrote an entire book about how Japanese Internment was justified. They just don't like members of other races and religions for some reason, possibly relating to a poor self-image and/or a frustration at their inability to realize personal goals. A frustration so intense, it must be projected outward at a vague, existentially-threatening Other. Also, some of them are just total dicks.

Which is fine, I guess. I've grown quite used to the fact that some people are just total dicks. It's a fact of life. I just wish we had reached a point of maturity in our national discourse in which we could call people out in this way. "Wait, Stu, you want to build a big electrified fence on the border? Really? Hey, that's weird, I totally didn't realize that you were a racist! And how long have we been working together? You cover it up good, buddy. High five!"

I would take advantage of this all the time were it socially acceptable.

Anyway, perhaps you think I'm overstating the case here. Maybe the anti-immigration protesters have some kind of rational, salient point to make about a pressing social issue?



Yes, that's right, the cameraman who was filming their protest for NBC (intending to put them on television and give voice to their cause, mind you) had a small Mexican flag atop his camera. The horror! Why, it almost implied that there was nothing shameful or disgusting about the idea of Mexico!

This clip makes no sense to me. Why does the presence of a Mexican flag upset them so? The cameraman's not waving it in their faces or behaving in a hostile manner. I suppose the presence of the flag on his camera could be indicating the man's solidarity with the immigrant cause, but he's not exaclty the one doing the reporting. He's just capturing footage. What, is it going to be overly Mexican footage? Perhaps they're afraid El Chapulin Colorado will appear mid-broadcast and start horsing around, thus ruining the moment?

Tbogg links to the right-wing reaction so I don't have to:

I was video taping with my anti-illegal alien group at a protest on Saturday. Our Houston NBC affiliate was at the protest to do a story. The following picture [above] is a screen grab from the event. The NBC cameraman had a Mexican flag attached to his camera! This is making headlines on some forums here in Houston, and was talked about quite a bit this morning on both Houston and Dallas talk radio channels. Fair and balanced, unbiased and non partisan, right? Ha!

They really internalized that "fair and balanced" line of Rupert Murdoch's. You've got to give it to him and Ailes for that one. A marketing triumph. It's now the stated right-wing expectation for all news. Both sides must be presented equally, even if one of them is based on nothing but deception and outright dishonesty. This week, Bill Maher had on one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, David Iglesias, as well as right-wing hack Lisa Schiffrin.

(She wrote Dan Quayle's "Murphy Brown" speech, which people as old as me or older will recall as being really stupid. Remember? Murphy Brown was a bad example because she was a single mom? Can you believe there was ever a time when Americans had the rare privilege to argue about that stupid bullshit instead of whether or not we were going to stop the brutally insane dictator from tackling a third simultaneous failed war?)

In this clip, you'll note that Schiffrin persists in relating blatantly un-American and, frankly, illogical right-wing talking points even after Bill Maher has already refuted them, while she's sitting directly across from one of the very few Americans who actually knows the whole story. It's pretty awesome.



That's fair and balanced. Here's some guy telling the truth, and here's the other side's Bizarro-universe Wackyland pathetic excuse for spin. Goodnight, America!

These anti-illegal immigrant (they call them illegal aliens, another flagrant attempt to dehumanize them as Others) protesters are just pure, unadulterated rage. They're not paid shills, and this is not a real political movement. A real political movement has what they believe to be an answer to what they see to be a social problem. The Christian Coalition saw wanton immorality all around them, and felt that school prayer would help, so they advanced that agenda. I think they're wrong, but it's a political discussion. This is just misplaced anger.

What's the problem that these people are protesting? They'd say, like, "flagrant abuse of the law" or "they're a threat to national security" or some such nonsense, but I think we all know the real cause they're trying to fight. "There are too many Mexicans around and we should get rid of them."

And it's their right as Americans to say that. But it's not a discussion I feel like having with them. In my UCLA days, I wasn't one of those people that wanted to go up to the "God hates fags" guys and try to reason with him. I just put on my Discman loud (no mp3 players then) and kept my head down...

Here's more venom, even after an American flag is set atop the camera to join its Mexican cousin.



I'm sorry, but how could anyone want to be on the same team as these people? This is the voice of the anti-immigration argument, it's these protesters and Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo. If you think all of those people sound reasonable, you've got bigger problems than Latin neighbors, pal.

1 comment:

Dee said...

I totally agree.

The talking heads are whipping up this racist fury. They ably ply their stock in trade: fear. They try their hardest to make their non-questioning fans afraid that someone is coming to take what belongs to them. The evidence is all around us that they are very successful.

And the ditto-heads, by definition, do not think for themselves. They just regurgitate whatever the talking heads tell them they should be regurgitating.

Lou Dobbs, on CNN, yesterday actually said that the "elitist Democrats" were refusing to side with the American people against immigration.

I believe, if Dobbs were to attempt to be anywhere near "fair and balanced" about this, he would note that Bush has come out in favor of amnesty in some ways. He's from Texas, kiddos, where they recognize the value of immigrant labor and wants to continue to enable his big-business buddies in exploiting the poor.

The businesses of America WANT this cheap labor source. Not only can they exploit workers who are afraid to complain but they can drive down the wages for all workers.

Immigrants, legal and illegal, do make contributions to this country. Contrary to the spewing by the talking heads, they DO pay taxes. And they DO buy goods and services here.

Again, contrary to what the talking heads are spewing, study after study shows that immigrants are NOT responsible for most of the crime in this country. These studies are showing that immigrant arrests are much less than their proportional share of the population as a whole.

This country has got to get over its xenophobic nature.

But, as long as there is money to be made and ratings to be had by inciting racial hatred, nothing will improve.