U.S. Economic Policy: May 2008 Archives
Today on NOVA, I heard the usual outrage. Asked if an American would work a 12-hour day in a [dangerous, highly exploitative , blood-slick, bone-chilling, puke-inducing] meat packing plant for $6.25 an hour, the caller yelled, irate: “No! Americans won’t work for that! ‘Illegals’ are holding down the wages at these places!”
Whoever he is, he doesn’t know whether to wind his watch or run.
He could be any Anglo camped outside the Macehualli Worker’s Center in North Phoenix. We may even have seen him pounding his flagpole, screaming curses through his bullhorn at the (obviously legal) immigrants waiting inside the chain link fence for somebody like us to give them a day job. He might even have been Rick Galeener himself, that sun-addled, publicly urinating , dried up, racist old rattlesnake who, probably, was the guy videotaping my license plate and my face as I got out to make arrangements with Sal Reza , the tough and beloved de facto leader of pro-migrant Phoenicians.
I wanted to say to him, “So Ricky baby. You’re saying you “Christian patriots” do want to pay $15 a pound for raw, uncut chicken, right?” Guys like Galeener can’t have it both ways. No undocumented, exploited immigrants, no $1.99/lb roasters. No $4.95 Church’s fried, either, with or without jalapenos on the side.
This is the bottom line that American racist-nativists happy to have cheap chicken as long as they don’t have to see who provides it aren’t willing to talk about. They don't realize it yet, but the self-limited choice, the sublimely short-sighted and settle-for-nothing choice they offer is this: Grow your own or tolerate “illegals.” Which will it be?
Those of us with considerably higher self esteem and a much more wholesome vision for tomorrow see a way better way. For starters, we don’t advocate exploiting anybody. Read on.