The Sweetest Thing.......
The U2 song "The Sweetest Thing" is running through my head right now.....
Dammit....this is going to be another political post. Well, there is hope...there might be some food in here somewhere.
Regardless, I owe my friend Charyn the posts from Extebarre and Akelarre....so I promise I will be back on track soon.
Believe it or not....and thanks to many of you.....I am now a Democratic Central Committee member.
My friend Bennie shamed me into it....the bastard. He was right, though: the only people that apply for these positions are the Secretary of the Senior Class types, and they are all Hillary Clintons. Us nutballs need representation, too!
It was a hard campaign. I needed TWENTY Democrats to sign a petition saying they thought I was fit to put on the ballot in June. Damn.
Turns out all my friends and co-workers are either Republicans, Peace and Freedom, Green Party, Libertarians, Decline to State, or......my favorite: "Jackrabbit Ballsack Freedom Party".
That this particular gentleman is from New York and adept with all manner of automatic weapons and blunt objects should come as no surprise to anyone. I won't mention his name for fear his parole officer reads the blog.
I wound up scrambling like mad to meet the deadline. Scrambling and groveling. And I was stunned by the reality of political labels in my little valley world. My mom is a Republican, and could not sign for me. Mom? I thought "I Like Ike" was a while back......
And.......All the grumpy conservative folk turned out to be Democrats. Thank God.....
None of the kids were registered. It was a wake-up call. I may actually have to work at this job.....
Anyway, you will all be happy to know that I won the election.
How could I possibly know already?
No one else ran. Saves all that voter fraud.
No one was more surprised at my unveiling than the real Democrats who do this all the time. My friend Vinz, the Head Democrat (who took the stunning fotos of our Memorial Day crosses) was particularly perplexed. Seems like the last time I saw him..... at a Mike Gravel function.... I was aggressively Republican....because all Democrats suck. Uhhhh......I forgot about that. Still, at the Gravel event, I worked as a good Republican and made all those cheap Democrat bastards actually put cash in the hat for the Senator. Money talks, bullshit walks......
Despite my new position, and my official party registration.....I am still a Republican in my heart. Witness today's epiphany.....
I am way out of sinc with all the nice people when it comes to immigration policy. My ex was an intern in a maternity ward at Riverside General. The place was over-run with pregnant 15-year olds who had been run across the border by gangs.....and lifetime doctor visit #1 was with Lisa, two minutes before mamacita popped out the new American citizen. One time, the check bounced, and the coyotes actually repo'ed the new baby! I had to translate, and put cash in a bag and meet some fuckhead on a dark street......Why?
When my son broke his arm (admittedly in a bar fight....good lad!) it was not possible for him to get treatment at King Medical Center in LA. He waited a week, because they were overwhelmed by illegals.
My friend James is a union carpenter. He has not worked in a year, and two hundred meters from my house, and four miles from James' house there is a job employing 30 carpenters. The douche bag owner is building his fifth house using Amazonian hardwoods and slate from that MLB pitcher's grannies farm.....for his horses. Not a word of English spoken on the job......Did I mention that James is in foreclosure?
In the same horse prick's vineyard (did I mention his name is Tom DeRecht, from Texas....no surprise there), the workers are shipped in from Gonzales in vans at $8 per hour cost....while skilled American kids who need $15 to live work for me on weekends and play video games all week during the day. Meanwhile, the workers are only paid for time on job....deducting the 1.5 hour transit each way, and the cost of said transport. A twelve hour day nets them less than fifty bucks, while my guys are losing the race to make it next month's rent.
So.....I am grumpy with illegals. Fuck 'em. Send 'em back. The old thing about the ruling class importing cheap labor to destroy the unions and the middle class......
Our one Latina worker has a permit, and is working towards a distant goal of citizenship.
Meanwhile, in our little community and with our crappy little store, at least half of the business is from the Latinos that share space with the crackheads in the trailer park acrosss the creek. No one speaks English.
Meanwhile, Rosaria....our disher....is as sweet as can be. I speak Spanish to her, and she blushes and laughs and makes no eye contact...and works like a dog. I no longer have to re-polish every wineglass on jobs. Her friends visit on the job, and we make them lunch that they eat out by the creek....and they all blush and laugh and make no eye contact. My Spanish is apparently that bad. Rosaria has a dog named Snoopy, about rabbit sized.....who wears a sweater she knitted in the winter. Based on her whopping $250 a week, Rosaria's husband bought a new truck....which helps him get to his job in Salinas, an hour away. Cool.
The no-English thing bugged me, though. We basically cook only modern Spanish food, but still.....
Meanwhile, my mom retired as an ESL teacher last year. She was feeling bad at being the oldest employee of the Monterey Unified School District at 82. She still felt fine, did a good job...but she felt weird still working at 82. Still, after a few months of sitting around (doing Meals on Wheels, driving old ladies to doctor appointments, arranging communal lunches for the old folks at the Community Center....she was bored and bummed. Nothing to do, really. She still substitute teaches, and is in line for any ESL jobs that come up in Carmel, but none of that counts as doing something.....
So....I thought: Bored Mom.....Mono-lingual Latinos. Problems solved.
We started our class last week. It runs Sundays from 4-6, open to all, in the restaurant. First week, we had five: Rosaria and her girlfriends and one brave man. The class was very low key and a huge success.
This week we had ten folks.....and I had my epiphany.
Back in the day, at Silver Jones in 1989...it was illegal to employ people without social security numbers and work permits. There were stiff fines for the employers, and the migra was always around. 1989 was long before I could get any white people to cook our weird kind of food, so my whole crew was from San Pablo....a village outside Ciudad Oaxaca. When they wanted to fuck with me, they spoke Nautl. I would scream at them: "Hablan espanol!! Pendejos!"
We had a faux walk-in in the back for migra raids. There was a buzzer by the front door, and we practiced. Buzzer goes off.....all the DW's and salad guys hid in the walk-in, and I avoided my fines. Everybody shared one SS number and one time card for every other guy.
In the past few years, the rhetoric has changed. Now it is: "No Amnesty for Lawbreakers!" "We cannot give citizenship to people who break the law to enter our country!"
Today, I didn't want to vibe out the ESL class (our kitchen is almost part of the dining room), so I sat in front of the store with Xabi. I watched as Rosaria came over with her girlfriends. I got Snoopy some veal rib bones from the pressed breast we are doing these days. A couple of the usually drunk pool players came in and joined the class....leaving their macho at the door.
Then, a few minutes after four, when Mom had already started the class......two young moms came walking over the bridge over the creek. They each had a two-year old in tow. I watched them approach, and it dawned on me that they were wearing their good jeans, their good shoes, and their good blouses. The little girls were decked out, too.
Each mom also had a brand new spiral notebook under her arm, and sharpened pencils in the hand that was not helping her daughter along. The look on their faces. It was one of hope.....of excitement, expectation....and promise.
I was gutted.
I snuck back in the kitchen and listened to the class. They were on basics: address, marital status.....Mom was teaching them how to understand job application forms.
It was The Sweetest Thing......
The little girls colored and pranced around....while their moms learned how to fill out forms for jobs that might include communication and respect.
I realized that this was perhaps the first time that these women (and the drunks) had had a positive interaction with white people. No migra. Not the ShopKeeper ripping them off for $9.29 plus tax for six bottles of Corona. For the first time, here were American citizens helping them with their lives.
So, I finally got it. My Republican soul agrees still: No Amnesty for Lawbreakers!
So.....who is breaking the law? The people that crawl north in search of jobs to better their lives and help make a better world for their children?
The moms who doll themselves up and bring new pencils and new notebooks they had to get someone to drive 40 miles to get to a class where they might find the backdoor key to this marvelous place called America?
See....we Republicans respect contracts. And inherint in the whole American Dream thing is The Promise.
Or the pricks like Tom DeRecht, who promise them jobs....and dangle the irresistable carrot of promise in front of them that causes them to leave their homes, their families and their country.
My Republican heart still agrees: Lock these law-breaking bastards up: every employer who has ever hired an illegal worker.
Let's do it today. We'll go back ten years......
Wait a minute. How about nine years? Uhhhh......eight and a half years!
As an Irish person, whose people fled ethnic cleansing and brutal economic travesty to come to America to be exploited for another few generations.....I am ashamed that it took me this long to realize that I was buying into the wrong frame.
See, Michael you dummy: the immigrants are the victims of the crime, not the perpetrators.
I am super embarrassed.....but how nice is it to realize that even at my advance age.......it is still possible, indeed mandatory.....to learn from your 82 year old mother.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.