22 July 2007

My Head Explodes

Well, not literally, but pretty damned close at times, especially after receiving an e-mail from a friend, and after viewing several articles from different sources on-line.

First, the e-mail.

This e-mail was a forwarded one giving 14 good reasons to deport all illegal aliens from this country, citing welfare costs, etc, etc, etc.

In short, all the usual baloney I've heard and read a thousand times before, at least.

Quite frankly, I'm damned sick of it, as I am about the whole covertly, but-not-TOO-covertly racialised, debate about immigration that's been raging in this zoo of a country, since at least the 1970's.

This is just another chapter in the same, sad story of American immigration and how politics, class and race are all entangled in the debate over it that's been going on since the mass migration of the Irish here in the late 1840's and early 1850's.

Over and over and over again, the same sort of debate, combined with the same sort of rhetoric, conspiracy theories, etc, have popped up about the Irish, the Italians, the Poles and other Eastern European nationalities, the Chinese, the Japanese, etc, etc, etc, right down to the various Latino immigrant groups, as well as some very occasional mention of the new Eastern European and Asian immigrants coming here as well.

Fear of change, fear of subjugation, fear of having your daughter marrying one of "them", whomever "they" might happen to be, and just plain fear like Mother used to make, combined with economic and social resentments, and various forms of bigotry(I'll let you name 'em, as this essay's gonna be long enough already), are the animating forces behind the disgusting tone of the whole immigration debate saga, and I think it's about Goddamned time that we finally acknowledged that those motivations are precisely what's driving it.

But, most of us don't, or at least, don't want to, because then that means acknowledging at least a part of the darker side of the whole American mythos that we've constructed for ourselves.

"Land of the Free???" Sure, as long as it's just for me, me, me, my family, friends, and everyone else who looks, speaks and acts just like me.

Everyone else had better know their place(usually well below me, me, me, at the very bottom of the social ladder), stay there, and keep their mouths shut, and well outta sight.

If not, well, you can either go back where you came from, or you can get good and dead.

And here's the really disgusting aspect about all this, some of the most outspoken anti-immigrant advocates are descendants of immigrants themselves, like Colorado House Represenative Tom Tancredo, who's also running in the Republican Presidential primary.

Guess of what descent HE is???? If you said Italian, Eye-Talian, Guinea or Wop, you win a cookie, Boys and Girls!!!!!

Yep, the same damned community whose ancestors, even quite recently, were generally treated with the same kind of scorn, derision, discriminatory behaviour, and, at times, subjected to the good ol' fashioned, All-American sport of lynching, as happened in New Orleans, LA, in 1891.

But, then again, a fair number of Italian-Americans also ended up adopting a lot of the racial bigotries of their Anglo-Saxon, Irish and German neighbours, when it came to African-Americans, as did so many other European immigrant groups, their kids and grand-kids.

And so it goes, especially as the generations pass, and the sufferings of those immigrant groups are either forgotten, or romanticised into something "noble" and "up-lifting" by the children, grand-children and great-grand-children of those immigrants.

That's just part of being an American, right??? Inflicting the same, or similar kinds of discrimination, on those who came after you, just like they'd been inflicted upon your ancestors, 'cos why should anyone else get a free ride, huh????

Yep. You betchum, Red Ryder.

Everybody needs a nigger, or nigger-substitute, just so's they can feel better about themselves, and, By God, this country can't and won't work properly without at least one such item in stock, By Cracky!!!!

Combine the current debate over immigration with some recent Supreme Court decisions prohibiting the use of race as a factor in school integration, the whole spate of incidents involving celebrities and their racial epithets of choice, plus the wholesale demonisation of Arabs and Muslims in a fair portion of American elite and popular media, because of the Wah On Tewah(Heh, heh, heh!!!)and the Iraq War, with the radicalising climate that war invariably brings, and, well... you get my drift.

It just seems to me that this country's taking the fond look backwards to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries that we began in the 1970's, and pushing it to its illogical conclusion.

Hell, while we're at it, let's bring back race riots, lynchings, Jim Crow segregation in the South, and de facto segregation in the North, Midwest and Far West, anti-miscegenation laws, curfews and alcohol prohibitions for African-Americans and Native Americans(those people can't hold their liquor, y'know), and, in every part of the mass media, images and words ridiculing, attacking and demonising anyone different from those who own and make mass media products.

Hell, let's bring back criminalisation of sodomy and other un-natural sexual practises, so we can give our hard-working and hard-pressed Boys and Girls In Blue an opportunity to earn some extra money through black-mailing and extorting money from homosexuals, lesbians, and other "perverts".

Let's start calling each other lovely names like "Wop", "Spic", "Kraut", "Kike", "Coon", "White Trash", "Guero", and "Bai Guei Ci", among others, not only in drunken bar-room arguments, prisons, and other similarly unfashionable and decidedly seedy venues, but even in the highest-class boardrooms and bedrooms.

Here're a couple of examples of how that might work in practise:

A senior corporate executive and a junior executive pass each other in the hallway of their company's headquarters one fine morning.

Senior Executive(cheerfully): Good Morning, Mr. Chink.

Junior Executive(equally chirpily): Why, Good Morning to you, too, Mr. Spook!!!!

Or, how about the following lovely romantic exchange between two lovers in a restaurant over a candle-lit dinner:

Boy(soppily in love): Gee, Shoshanna!!!! I think you're all that and a bag of chips, for a Sheenie!!!!

Girl(equally besotted):Oh, Arturo!!!!! You're the nicest Beaner a girl ever had!!!(They kiss)

Yes, Folks, weren't those just delightful, hmm????

You GOTTA be kiddin' me, if you think that actually was.

Folks, it just seems to me that, once again, we keep stumbling over the same old obstacles and creating new ones for ourselves, all in the hopes of somehow hanging on to whatever power, privileges, and bits of nuts for ourselves, while trying to deny them to others, especially by denying the "other's" humanity whenever possible.

We keep doing this and doing this and doing this, and, while we've had a good long run pulling this sort of crap, eventually our luck and chances will run out.

When they do, don't expect those whom we've attempted to de-humanise, repress, exclude or kill outright to be too terribly charitable towards us in return.

One of the sad facts of human history is that, far too often, those who have been oppressed enact, whenever they get the chance, a pretty terrible vengeance on their oppressors, or those they perceive to be their oppressors.

If they don't get the chance to do that, then they take it out on each other, or find some other group to vent their wrath upon.

Either way, it may make for interesting reading for future generations, but sheer Hell for those who have to live through events like those, and a complete waste of time, resources, talent and lives all 'round.

The immigration debate is tied in with a whole number of factors, including American foreign and domestic economic, social, political and other policies, as well as the policies of the immigrants' homelands, and, most fundamentally, the decisions that our and their elites, plus all of us so-called ordinary folks, make about who gets and who don't, and why.

These are tough, sometimes heart-breakingly so, complex issues with often complex and tough answers that need to be addressed.

Stupid, one-sided assertions, lines of "logic", and solutions that end up causing more harm than good that come from the former two, won't solve the problems at hand.

They'll just create far worse problems for everyone involved, and, if pushed far enough, batches and batches of corpses.

I'd like to say that I currently have the confidence that we can, generally speaking, have the guts and the will to sit down and work this process without going completely bananas.

However, I can't.

More's the pity, I think.

Be seeing you.

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