Tonight, folks will be a'gatherin' to discuss big ideas - things like Freedom, Democracy and Greatness. Alors, Voltaire is dead, mes amis, along with Rousseau and even the more visceral Cortes. I wasn't there, so I don't know if the romantic notions we assign these men, whose placement in time made them "englightened" is deserved, only that they are considered gods, especially since one of their idealistic creations is the U.S.A.
In an August 15 article that might not be up on the Star's site anymore, an AP writer describes the Overland Park Minuteman chapter and their mission to rid the local area of illegal (Latino) immigrants.
I was struck by the logic employed by one of the quoted men, Ed Hayes, 64, "grandfather." He asserts that immigration status can be determined based on a person's English language skill.
"If you go to the stores on Saturdays, they're full of people who are legal immigrants, I'm sure. But many of them don't speak our language and you can be assured that they're illegal."
You can be assured that there are a lot of people around here who can't speak English. A certain old Italian-American man, who shall remain nameless, frequently comes to our office to place classified ads but can barely string a sentence together in his heavily-accented broken English.
Plenty of the Vietnamese refugees who came here in 1975 or since then to join their families, did so at the ages of 30 to 50 years old. Their English is not great by any means, I can say based on experience as a teacher exposed to bunches of cultures and language levels.
Some Somalis who have lived here a decade are not able to carry on multi-sentenced conversations.
And I found Mexicans in Mexico who knew perfectly communicable English just based on their watching bilingual broadcasting of American movies and shows.
So I take exception to the view of another man featured in the article, Greg Thompson, also of Hayes' generation, the "bored baby boomer afraid of his own workforce." He describes his training technique:
The Minutemen pick out people (based on their skin color or use of Spanish or ?) and then ask them a series of "simple questions," such as "what is your favorite food?" If people can't answer, a Minuteman is to assume they are illegal and report them to the boss or the cops.
Excuse me, did I just lose my right to refuse to answer some dumb cluck's irrelevant questions?
I'm getting itchy. Little picky bumps of self-righteous discontent are starting to brew under my skin, and I'm getting irritated enough to play at protest. . . .I have brown eyes, so it's not inconceivable that if my Spanish were to get really, really, really good (roll eyes and say "right!"), I could pass for someone foreign or even illegal. It doesn't neccessarily have to be Spanish, but Minutemen right now wouldn't bother with a French or Russian or even hijab-wearing girl right now, would they?
"My favorite food is salsa, mothertrucker, now get out of my space!". . .creepy invasive male. . .
I'm glad the Minutemen named Kansas City a so-called "sanctuary" city (along with Houston), because I don't fancy living somewhere police randomly stop people and ask "papers, please."
When we can't keep people from crossing over freely, even when they are convicted criminals or smugglers of drugs (which I imagine Hayes and Thompson to fear), what is the point of running around attacking people at work and tagging them "illegals?" Yup, yup, yes, it's against the law to cross over without paying the proper ticket-seller, I know. The legal lines are a bit backed up then, wouldn't you say?
That the Minutemen questioner crew also targets employers is a balanced approach, I suppose, to a singular goal. The work-givers do complete the cycle and prove content to soak up the cheapest labor and allow others' wages to be "driven down." Tell me, laborers of Kansas City, has your wage kept up with the cost of living?
Mine has not, but I'm not competing with Latinos. A market is a market is a market. In publication, as in neighborhoods, we seem to be co-existing, and we cross over from time to time culturally. We all have to adapt to get on with things. However, it's much more than language that separates people. Language, in other words, is really not the strongest barrier.
Anyway, should you care to hear "the British are coming!" straight from the horse's mouth or its other parts, I'll make you aware of this:
Help Defend: The Nation’s Borders.
Help Protect: Personal Freedoms.
Help Keep: America and the “State of Missouri” Great.
Membership and Sign-up Meeting
When: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 7:00 PM
Where: Comfort Suites Hotel, 19751 E. Valley View Parkway,Independence, MO.(South of I-70 at Exit 17, west of Little Blue Parkway.)
Who: Members, guests, anyone interested in current immigration and border issues, open to the public.
For more Information Contact Us:
Minuteman Civil Defense Corp
P.O. Box 2241
Independence, MO. 64055
(816) 478-0942 or (816) 522-3858
Disclaimer: I'm probably too much of a bigot to show up there myself; I'm afraid of "those people."
*(a description that might make you giggle, if you look at things from the buddhists' point of view, or that of a whale, perhaps)