Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Violence at a Small Town Parade

When was the last time you thought about how ridiculous the immigration debate could get? Well, in small town America, it got really ridiculous over the weekend in Albert Lea, Minnesota:
An entry in the Third of July Parade stirred controversy, and now the parade’s committee plans to review whether it would allow it next year.

The entry came from Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction. It had a large yellow sign with moveable letters, and it was pulled by a Hummer. The sign’s message on both sides said: “Illegal immigrants cost jobs, hospitals and courts.”

Near the corner of Bridge Avenue and Fountain Street on the parade route, children threw rocks at the sign, and one rock missed, hitting a woman in the face. She was taken by ambulance to Albert Lea Medical Center. The Freeborn County Attorney’s Office will review the police report and decide whether to file charges.

The result of all of this was a debate, touched off in Albert Lea, as to whether they should have allowed the float to participate in the parade (they should NOT have) and whether or not anyone will take responsibility for allowing it (of course not) and whether it constituted a message of intolerance and hate (oh, it certainly did.)

No one should condone rock throwing and whoever did that should be punished. But you can see the emotion that was stirred up. Well, that's what hate groups do, don't they?

Now, I don't know if this is news to anyone, but there are a lot of people of Hispanic heritage who live and work in Minnesota. Many of them are legal residents. Many are not. But, in case anyone hasn't bothered to look lately, this "issue" isn't really a serious one. In fact, I'll draw you a map:

Notice anything? There's a bit of what we call "distance" between Mexico and Minnesota. If there are illegal immigrants who have the skills or the fortitude to get all of the way to Minnesota, chances are, those are the ones who WANT to work and who we should welcome into this country. I mean to tell you, Iowa sure is tempting.

The "hate group" in question is something or other called "Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform" and this is their mission statement:
We are Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform. Come take a look around and join us in our worthy cause. We believe in strengthening our borders, We believe in SENSIBLE Legal immigration that benefits the USA only and oppose all illegal immigration, We believe in tough oversight concerning issues of temporary and enforced timed visas, government financial assistance only for United States citizens and in supporting our culture and language - English is the language of the land.

It's sad to see home-grown hate groups put their float in hometown parades. I'll bet that if people looked at the association of Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction to, for example, the Chuck Baldwin for President campaign (he's first on their list and first in their hearts!) they'd find a Baptist preacher who rails against the New World Order and thinks 9/11 was an inside job. Or their affiliation to Minnesota Majority, an unhinged hate group that has its fingers in a lot of pies, especially the pies everyone likes to eat, like gay marriage and living a moral, decent life.

Much of the statistical information that feeds these hate groups was supplied by a blatantly dishonest piece of partisan hackery produced for the administration of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is, you guessed it, a Republican under consideration to be McCain's running mate.

The report these groups are relying on is ginned up with phony statistics from the likes of The Washington Times and anti-immigration zealot Steven Camarota.

Camarota, in turn, made the brilliant observation that since three (3!) of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 (remember, the inside job?) were illegal immigrants that we, all of a sudden, had a massive immigration problem. No, we have a massive problem with people from Saudi Arabia coming here to kill Americans, but that's a whole other can of worms.

The folks at the hysterical hate groups point to a figure that appears on a billboard they put up in Minnesota that featured the sign popular in the San Diego, California area--of the father, mother, and child running across a freeway:

Like I said--if those three individuals have run all the way from Mexico to Albert Lea, don't STOP them from immigrating. Give them a free house to live in and something to drink for having such tremendous stamina.

And the phony outrage they're trying to gin up is based on a ridiculous assertion--that "illegal immigrants" cost money. Their estimate? That's right--$118 million dollars. (According to the bullshit report by the Pawlenty administration.) Well, that's a lot of money. Unless you factor in the size of Minnesota's economy.

Which, in 2005, was a gross domestic product of $234 Billion dollars. Less than one percent of the population in Minnesota is employed in agriculture, and that would, presumably, include a number of the people these hate groups rail against. In 2006, the agricultural sector produced over $11 billion dollars, more than enough to offset a paltry $118 million, no matter how you slice it.

We're not talking about dollars, we're talking about people. Poor people looking for work. Poor people are never the problem--no matter what the media, the rich, the hate groups or the politicians try to tell you. They're just people. People who, incidentally, help Minnesotans enjoy a pretty high standard of living compared with most states. People who, by the way, pump money INTO the economy by paying rent, buying goods, and living their lives honorably and decently.

Unlike the idiots who form hate groups and march in parades.

No comments: