i was quite a bit angrier by sunday (splicetoday). i've been quite inspired by the protests. it may take a bit to catch my politics, if you're fresh caught, i realize. it is coherent, though? or at least as coherent as most, anyway.
my splicetoday column is about living in rural trump country that is quite dependent on immigration. we could emphasize the economic dimension, but i might say that what i think is most hopeful is emergence of hybrid cultural expressions: wild mex musical gigs in east berlin pa, spanish-language catholic and evangelical churches, non-twee fusions of cuisine, babies raised between two cultures. i don't mean to imply that there aren't also some tensions, however.
i refer to the spanish speakers of northern adams county as 'mexicans' because it does seem to be almost 100%.
i feel both ways about brexit. i do love it when people sneak up and nip pollsters, not to speak of technocrats, elitists, professors, and such. and the bigger the system, all else equal, the less democratic: the further from any particular person's or community's input. i think these same professors and technocrats expect the whole world to unify into a super-state (habermas is in this spirit, for example), which would leave every particular situation so distant from power that no one could have any self-determination at all. i like localism: local cultural differences, vernaculars, folk arts, funky customs, and so on. a world where those things are being expunged in favor of standardized tests is a world i'd prefer to depart. so i am viscerally sympathetic to almost any secessionist movement anywhere; i'd like to see us fragment.
on the other hand, i'm no fan of nationalism, anti-immigrant fever, border walls, and the like. i want a spontaneous localism confident enough in itself to be happy with other localisms and to shift with new members and generations. nationalism has been an element in terrible wars and oppressions and exclusions, and it's not natural or inevitable; the nation-state emerged in history.
i'm unimpressed by the technocratic freak-out now in progress, which has plenty to do with sudden shocks in stock markets. this too will pass. this is not as wild or unaccountable a change as people are making it out to be this morning.
obama's press conference on the supreme court non-decision on his executive orders on immigration was a good example of what's wrong with american politics. first of all, the relentless focus-grouped yipyap: "commonsense commonsense commonsense; dreamers dreamers dreamers; hardworking hardworking hardworking.' then, immediately using the whole thing to bash republicans and turning straight to electioneering. so, he's blaming republicans for the partisanship, and offering a dem congress and white house as the solution. how has that worked before? they'll just spend the next years running again, by bashing the republicans with a collage of robotic phrases and of course vice versa. there is no way out within the two-party system and all anyone on either side cares about is aggrandizing themselves by vilifying others. that's not a decent way to live; these are not good people.
like i say, my very andrew-wyethy bit of rural pa is about 50% mexican. (i'd say 'latino', except it really seems to be almost all-mex). my favorite spot out here is tania's mexican restaurant (and jewelry), down near the big canning plants in aspers. when i moved out here four years ago, it was all-mexican in staff and clientele; it was hard to order if you didn't speak spanish. one time i saw some boys in a truck drive by, flying the rebel flag, honking the whole way and flipping the bird at the place in general. also it's kind of a community center.
but it has dawned on people. man it is good; you've never had good mole, i bet. some of the staff seems to have intermarried with the anglos, and there are babies. this evening, there were a couple of different groups of mennonites in there, and quakers i recognize from meetings. there was an asian dude, as well as a bunch of folks looking all-mayan.
i don't know how trump will really play out here; you do see signs and stickers. but if we know what's good for us, we'll roll down there and tear down any wall that may arise, for this area was dying - culturally and economically - before the influx. there are many abandoned old houses and stuff; a number are being rehabbed and inhabited by mexican families with small children. i think the whole situation is paradigmatically american, actually.
i'm having trouble resonating to the tizzy about shutting down the department of homeland security, any more than i was upset when ferdinand marcos died. but anyway, it's the meaninglessness of today's politics: nothing but yapyap. let me ask you this: how did you survive the last couple of government shutdowns? make it through ok or are you still huddled under the table in your whining room? there was a time, a time last week, when there was no department of homeland security. but anyway, if you think those fuckers are going to actually shut it down and stop the surveillance or internments or whatever, you're out of your mind. if they actually shut that shit down, i will blow jeh johnson on the bill o'reilly show. really, if necessary the department of homeland security could just live off the land, be self-supporting through domestic raiding.
obama was good last night, and i am strongly in favor of not deporting millions of people, and of assuring them that they will not be deported. indeed, if it weren't for first and second-gen immigrants, my section of rural pa would be in a major economic depression, and would mostly be abandoned. now, i wish i was as sure that the executive is not legislating in this case.
one might consider how america would respond if it was wasp toddlers showing up at the border, their cute j. crew and tommy hilfiger outfits in tatters, with stories from the yacht club or golf course of terrible suffering at the hands of latino street gangs.
and who should set immigration policy? how about sheldon adelson, bill gates, and warren buffett.i do think the latter two set policy in the obama administration to a very great extent. even people who seem like they should be anti-capitalist or something regard them as having tremendous credibility (=$$$) and benevolence.
at the very same time as the dems are listening to the richest people in the world as to actual policy, they're squawking about inequality. now also, i would just mention to anyone who might be editing the opinion page of the new york times that you just published a horrendous parody of english prose cobbled together by three staffs.
here's a slice:
A “talented graduate” reform was included in a bill that the Senate approved last year by a 68-to-32 vote. It would remove the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, provided they had an offer of employment.
another way to put this: send us your bourgeoisie. meanwhile we must crack down on, say, starving children, whom nobody wants whatsoever. one measures the value of human beings in cubicle productivity, which might also have a bit of a eugenic element: who do we want to add to the gene pool? probably we should have recruiters rolling around the world offering citizenship to people based on standardized test scores.
what is happening at the mexican border is that we have an influx of refugees, mostly women with children or children alone. it's not a crisis, like say the refugee situation in syria's neighbors. that americans respond to an influx of suffering children by snarling at them, blocking vehicles, demanding higher fences, devising new modes of detention and deportation, etc: who the fuck are we? because i don't think we are who we say we are.
as i travel this mighty land, many people who are indistinguishable from you come right up to me and say: senator huber, what about immigration? i have focused-grouped this thing and come out tough. i agree with the obama administration what we need is a sprawling gulag of new detention facilities and draconian expulsion procedures for undesirable displaced children of particular ethnicities. we cannot even secure our own border from this destructive, scary scourge: tiny children trying to escape conditions of terrible violence. the law is the law, while these children are mere abstractions. i have no idea why they call me 'senator huber'.
immigration seems to be coming up again, as jeb bush - who is running for president - tries to frame it as a campaign issue. now, one line that people always come up with is 'it's unrealistic to deport 10 million people'. well, i'll tell you what, the obama admin has deported 2 million, so i wouldn't assume that they or their successors couldn't or wouldn't deport millions more, or indeed, say, the whole population of the lower 48. meanwhile almost half a million people are being held in what we should certainly call concentration camps. these camps, in the time-honored tradition, are filed with people of a particular ethnicity. meanwhile obama's up on stage quoting king, etc. it's a real inspiration.
you know the idea that we should favor 'people with advanced degrees' in immigration basically means: we welcome you as long as you're bourgeois. also these are the people whose situation is least desperate wherever they go. i guess it's a justification in terms of our own economy. one thing i want to say is that to make an economy you need all sorts of people doing all sorts of things, including manual labor, skilled and unskilled. there seems to be a vague notion that if everyone had an engineering degree, everybody would be making a six-figure salary, that 'education is the key to economic advancement'; look that just can't be quite right, and it certainly cannot be extrapolated from what people with advanced degrees make now in relation to high school grads etc. maybe it's someone's road out, but the economy has to be conceived as a whole structure, in terms of the actual needs that can be satisfied by various sorts of people. also the actual skills and preferences of various sorts of workers; which they're suited to and what is needed.