The Real Problem

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Real Problem

I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Immigration is a heated issue. But as the national debate unfolds, and as hundreds of thousands—dare I say millions—of my immigrant, latino, and peace-loving friends take to the streets, I think it's important to understand the actual problem we are dealing with: It's the economy stupid. Well, actually, it's the economic system.

I hate borders. You have to understand this so that you can fairly evaluate what I'm about to say. I truly believe that nationalism is on its way out. No, probably not in my lifetime, but in the near future to be sure. And people will some day wonder at the way we made imaginary lines on this little planet to keep us apart. Nevertheless, I understand that human progress has not reached this point just yet. Most of you need borders to give you a feeling of superiority. You're proud to be an American, eventhough all you did was crawl out of a vagina that happened to be located in this country. But hey, you're proud and that's what counts. And hell you didn't have to do anything at all. It's kinda like winning the lotto when you think about it. You're proud you won the lotto. Congratulations. Borders also provide the illusion of security that so many in this country desperately crave. And it makes sense. You won the lotto and now everybody wants a piece of your loot.

This is a very real problem and it was discussed by US planners at the end of the second world war. We were in control of 50% of all wealth in the world and yet only comprised about 5% of the earth's population. In other words, we'd won the lotto. Now what do we do? Well their suggestions were to forget about fluffy ideas like democracy and human rights and deal in straight power terms. So you won the lotto, you're proud, and you'll kill or maim anybody who tries to get their grubby little hands on your loot!

If I could boil this down to its essentials, the problem is we have way more loot than we deserve and we're scared as hell the rest of the world might find out so we've come up with this idea to build a SUPER FENCE! The idea would be to turn the United States into a gated community. All of the real work will continue in China, Indonesia, and the lovely sweatshops of Central America. The dirty brown people will put all our loot on a boat and send it to us. We'll make a special gate to let in the ships with our loot on them.

Oh, I know you don't have too much loot. The disparity in wealth distribution in this country is at levels not seen since the Great Depression, but hey Starbucks and Wal-Mart are hiring! And if we build that Super Fence you could come cut my grass.

But there is a tiny little segment of the population that does have too much wealth. These figures change, but one interesting one was that the 300 richest people in the world have more wealth than the 3,000,000,000 poorest people. Despite all the promises of NAFTA, the WTO, GATS, and the rest, wealth is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, while the rest of humanity suffers very dire consequences.

Couple the brutal and exploitative economic system of capitalism with a half century of oppressing any move toward democracy in Latin America, and what choice do people have? What do you tell a Nicaraguan immigrant who committed his life to successfully overthowing the U.S. backed Somoza dictatorship, only to have the US wage a proxy terrorist war against the people there? What do you tell the brave people of Chile who watched as the CIA savagely waged a coup, murdered their democratically elected president and installed Pinochet the butcher?

The list of US backed attrocities and underhanded oppression of popular movements in Latin America is long. What could have became of Mexico had we not stolen nearly half of its land and some of the most valuable natural resources in the world?

A recent poll in Mexico revealed that 70% of Mexicans would like to come to the United States. That figure scares some people. It doesn't scare me. I'll let you in on a little secret: they don't really want to come here. If they had decent economic opportunities they'd love to stay in their home towns. They'd love to raise their families in a culture that reveres and respects the family. Nobody dreams of traveling thousands of miles to be exploited by wealthy people and treated like scum. That's not a dream; that's a nightmare.

Build your stupid Super Fence. Send the National Guard to the border. Hell, hire the Minutemen. Develop a forcefield around the country. But until we address the economic disparity that is the real cause of this problem, nothing will be solved.

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Published in: on April 19, 2006 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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