Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Border-ing On Cranky

You may have seen on the news that there's been a run on Mexican illegals up here in Northeast Ohio.

Some fella was pinching poor Mexican families to the tune of $2,000 per human piece of cargo in exchange for a lovely piece of floor in exquisite Painesville, Ohio and local environs.

Now, I happen to be in the business of human capital, but, not that kind. That's a little different. Taking advantage of human desperation? Hm, lemme think. Nope, I don't like it one bit. And I think people like that, who take money from desperate human beings and then treat them worse than cattle, ought to be punished.

I do believe that anyone working in this country should do so with full protection of health care and human rights. Of course, it would be great if any of us had those, so this whole big ruckus over illegal immigration is really an OPPORTUNITY for American corporations to step up and improve work standards and conditions for all employees.

Sure they will.

I don't have a Stanford MBA, but, let me get this straight. It's ok for American companies to offshore everything from customer support to car parts, but, if people want to come into this country, not to lounge, but to work, we send them home. So, it's ok to send American jobs someplace else to people who don't speak English, but not ok to give them to people who don't yet speak English here in America.


How about we try something new.

1) American corporations stop using workers at every level to advance the bottom line so that senior executives can build their Golden Parachutes. I'm intrigued by the Cerberus approach: bye bye shareholders. Let companies be built and run by people who know how to run companies and lead people.

2) So that I can keep one hardworking illegal immigrant in this country, likely a man or woman who is already doing the work of ten fat lazy Americans, as a good corporate citizen, I will agree to accept responsibility for financing and facilitating my worker's visa application, education, and other documents. In return I will send ten fat lazy Americans to Mexico, where they will learn Spanish (after all, if they want to work in another country they'd better learn to speak the language, right?), work, cook, interact with their families and communities, dodge bullets, save their hard-earned cash of $30 week or whatever they get, and hope they're not rounded up and brought back to the U.S.

I think that's fair, don't you?


Robert Earl Keen
The man outside he works for me, his name is Mariano
He cuts and trims the grass for me he makes the flowers bloom
He says that he comes from a place not far from Guanajuato
Thats two days on a bus from here, a lifetime from this room.

I fix his meals and talk to him in my old broken spanish
He points at things and tells me names of things I can't recall
Sometimes I just can't but help but wonder who this man is
And if when he is gone will he'll remember me at all

I watch him close he works just like a piston in an engine
He only stops to take a drink and smoke a cigarette
When the day is ended, I look outside my window
There on the horizon, Mariano's silhouette

He sits upon a stone in a south-easterly direction
I know my charts I know that he is thinking of his home
I've never been the sort to say I'm in to intuition
But I swear I see the faces of the ones he calls his own

Their skin is brown as potters clay, their eyes void of expression
Their hair is black as widow's dreams, their dreams are all but gone
They're ancient as a vision of a sacrificial virgin
Innocent as crying from a baby being born

They hover 'round a dying flame and pray for his protection
Their prayers are all but answered by his letters in the mail
He sends them colored figures that he cuts from strips of paper
And all his weekly wages, saving nothing for himself

It's been a while since I have seen the face of Mariano
The border guards they came one day and took him far away
I hope that he is safe down there at home in Guanajuato
I worry though I read there's revolution every day


At May 24, 2007 10:03 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Wow! REK has a way with words, doesn't he? America has become a broken dream.

At May 24, 2007 9:13 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Blueberry,
Indeed he does (and with guitar too!). Being in a border state, I imagine you are somewhat familiar with the way this song plays out. It was ironic that Shrub came out fightin' again today, talkin tough on immigration. Hell, he's the biggest threat to American laborers that we've ever seen.

I wish he'd just shut up and go away.

At May 25, 2007 7:57 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Yes, we are only a few hours drive from Mexico here. When we moved down from St. Louis, I was very surprised to hear lots and lots of people speaking Spanish. Some don't even speak English. It's quite common. Even the most popular radio station in town broadcasts in Spanish.


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