We have a film shoot tomorrow morning....breakfast and lunch for 75 union members. And Monday Night dinner. I am still here because I am finishing up a vegetarian entree for PapaRosen. Vegetarian date, you see. Handmade mezzo-lune with Jamie Collins goat cheese, acorn squash and leeks. I hope there is sex involved. For someone.
Amanda, Xabi and I spent all day yesterday wandering around Middle America.....Los Banos, Firebaugh....and the Salinas Costco.
It was a horror show on the order of Soylent Green. Except for the poppies and lupines in Pacheco Pass....always the land of bandidos, only now the only wild souls left are wildflowers.
Wall to wall Latinos, with a scattering of rednecks. Virtually everyone obese, even the kids.
In Los Banos, asking for directions to the Basque restaurant at the police station, I waited twenty minutes and no one appeared. Lots of brand new squad cars out back....no actual police available.
The entire neighborhood surrounding the copshop was mostly sweet little Craftsman cottages.....all for sale. All with large Latino families sitting on the porches and in the yard....waiting for eviction. Three plus generations.
"Give me your tired....your huddled masses striving to be free....."
While the Government bails out bankers and hedge fund creeps with yachts and summer places on Long Island....Los Banos goes into receivership, along with all the the dreams and promises.
Whatever the status of any individual immigrant at any individual moment.....our rep is that whole "tired, huddled masses" thing. People come here because they believe in our shtick. I mean, if those crazy Yanks can spend $200,000,000 a day in Iraq.....there must be something for a hardworking guy with a cool family....Right? I mean, George Fucking Bush is on the tube every time he can find some burnout to film him talking about Freedom and Opportunity, right?
I was in and out of the Salinas Costco in 20 minutes. I am a pro. And I had to be, because the crack heads living in the parking lot next door to my parking spot were scaring Amanda and Xabi.
The entire 1200 seconds I tried not to look at all the immigrants surrounding me....and tried not to wonder what the fuck they are going to make the payments on those big trucks and those shitty condos The Man has sold them. The bankers are being bailed out by Uncle Sam....but, lo siento, Jose.
Thanks to Behue for the following. He sent it to me on St. Patrick's Day, but us old rebels feel most Irish on Easter. The quote is from James Connolly, Commandant of the rebel forces in the Easter Rising of 1917. It was forwarded to Behue from an Irish dad of a working class kid from Monaghan who just died of a staph infection in Minnesota because he was afraid to go to hospital...because the ICE agents might be there to deport him.
"'Where Liberty is, there is my country.'
So said the enthusiastic 18th century revolutionist. But if he lived nowadays he would have a long search for his country -where Liberty is. The only liberty we know now, outside of the liberty to go hungry, stands in New York Bay, where it has been placed, I am told, in order that immigrants from Europe may get their first and last look at it before setting foot on American soil.
You see, it would be decidedly awkward for our Fourth of July orators to be orating to the newcomers about the blessings of American liberty and then to be asked by some ignorant European to tell them where that liberty is to be found.
Some ignorant, discontented unit of the hordes of Europe, for instance, might feel tempted to go nosing around in search of liberty, and his search might take him into the most awkward places.
He might go down South and see little white American children of seven, eight and nine years working in our cotton mills enjoying their liberty to work for a boss when other children are still compelled by tyrannical laws to stay on wrestling with the dreadful problems of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic.
The Liberty we have in Bartholdi's statue is truly typical of liberty in this age and country.
It is placed upon a pedestal out of reach of the multitudes; it can only be approached by those who have money enough to pay the expense; it has a lamp to enlighten the world, but the lamp is never lit, and it smiles upon us as we approach America, but when we are once in the country we never see anything but its back
'Tis a great world we live in."
From Facets of American Liberty, James Connolly, 1908
Note the date. Some things never change.
James Connolly was badly injured in the fighting during the Easter Rising in 1917....the Rising that led to Freedom and Democracy for the Irish..... The Rising failed, and Connolly was captured and transported to Kilmainham Jail.....the Guantanamo of then.
Two days later, Connolly was tied to a chair (he was too shot up already to stand) and shot by the British.....
The same day, Padraig Pearse, my grandmother's poetry instructor from Trinity College up the street..... was also stood against the wall of Kilmainham Jail and shot.