Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Border Line Crazy

Before I post the events of Day Three of Road Trip Iraq 2006, I need to take a moment to comment on current events. Bush just announced that he was going to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to secure the Mexican border.

The biggest problem is that illegal immigrants come to the U.S., not to spite conservatives, but because there are jobs. It’s simply a free market functioning in a global economy. If there weren’t jobs for them, they wouldn’t come. Those who spend their nights worrying about Mexicans and other nationalities crossing the border are not thinking logically. Such a sense of immediacy on this issue seems to be spawned from xenophobia, racism and ignorance.

Free markets and globalization are like the laws of physics, it’s better to work with them than to try to stop them. In that sense, sending the National Guard to stop the natural flow of a labor force to an overabundant job market, would be like calling in the Marines to stop gravity. But wait, someone might think, don’t we need gravity? Yes, of course. But wait, someone might also think, don’t we also need an essential workforce that has been functioning in our economy for decades? The answer again, yes, of course.

Besides being futile, this answer to the supposed problem of illegal immigration is a bit hackneyed. Send in the troops and as the border patrol increases, the amount of troops will decrease. That sounds familiar. I’ve finally figured out what the neocon vision is: the military will solve all the problems. I’m just glad they caught the killer alligator today. If that had gone on a few more weeks we would have been deployed for Operation Jogger Shield.

Finally, does any one care about the poor suckers that have to leave their jobs and families to go stop illegal immigrants? Bush said that it was important for everyone to understand that the U.S. military was strong enough to fight a war in Iraq, handle natural disasters at home, and still secure the southern border. What? I guess he thinks that two out of every three years home is good enough. This makes sense if you consider that he spends almost two out of every three months at his ranch. His statement sounds a bit too much like “let them eat cake” for my taste.

In the end, America shouldn’t look to the military to take care of all its problems. We have celebrities for that.


Blogger esposito's box said...

I am engrossed in this travel series you got going and, for a second, this immigration polemic disoriented me. Then, it hit me. Your sympathy with the plight of new arrivals in a foreign country results from an inapt parallelism, you undocumented worker you. That said, I agree with your economics-based analysis: any of us who worked at WOW where white delivery drivers counted up gratuities while migrant kitchen staff scoured floors and counters for room, board, and a little money to send to family abroad.

However, the part I liked most in the speech was where the President talked about how this issue was too important to have debate dominated with demagoguery and recrimination. I could hear a million Democrats' cynical inner voices: "Okay, sure, but National Security and Foreign Wars are ideal grounds for Rove-ian scorched earth politics." Hearing the call for civility in Bush's speech sounded to me like Republicans worry that the long-term costs of a debate around an issue (which they hope will provide short-term gains with the nativist right) include the possibility of a Latino voting bloc for Democrats that resembles the African American vote. It's dangerous to mobilize some rednecks. Moreso, when it's "Robbing Pedro to pay Cletus."

P.S. I am glad you're safe after day one.

11:30 PM  
Blogger AB said...

Hey Marshall,

No new posts since the 16th - are you still ok? How's the trip going?

12:35 AM  
Blogger Marshall Thompson said...

Sorry about the delay. I'm safe, just lazy.

9:35 AM  

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