Behind the Curtain

The recent article about the immigration debate on-line, published earlier this week in Chicago Tribune, sent a jolt of fear down my spine when reading through the comments section of the article.

The piece, which is about how the pro-immigration movement has moved onto the Web--thanks in part to bloggers like The Unapologetic Mexican, previously sited in this blog--unfurls the span between reason and insanity, community and disunity.

There's no question that the anonymity of the web affords people the chance to make bold statements they normally would not make in person. This, in some ways, is a positive tool for communicating, allowing people to speak with complete openness. However, far too often, the comments sections posted at the end of articles is a scary reminder that racism and bigotry are not dead in this country. I recently heard one pro-immigrant American compare the web's hate speech, common on blogs and cloaked by anonymity, to that of old racist groups that would hide their true identity in the South.

Myself, having spent much of my childhood in the Deep South, I can see this powerful image transcending itself into the modern blogosphere. The rhetoric used is fiery , indeed, the kind of words that rouse anger in the reader and fuel one heated debate. It's hard for me to think that some comments intend to persuade, since often they are so outlandish that any application of reason is like applying sunscreen to the sun.

What needs to be stressed is that these comments are never the voice of a "people," but rather the voice of a few die-hard opponents playing wizard behind the curtain. The only difference is that they don't want to send anyone back to Kansas, but rather send them somewhere very, very far away.

The road to opportunity, call it the Yellow Brick Road, wasn't traveled alone. It took the help of everyone in that clustered community of outcasts to show each other that success was within the reach of everyone. No one was excluded on their journey, especially for a young girl and her dog who traveled from a far-away land.

Tags: blogs, immigration (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Jobs..

The real issue is jobs and wages. If there were enough jobs to go around, people would not be in the position where they would be vulnerable to proto-fascists who try to play one desperate group off against another. This keeps overall wages down, globally.

It makes businesses profitable during this long period of global transition to a post-industrial information society that relies on factory automation, not wage labor to manufacture things.

(in many applications, automation is still more expensive than people, but task specific machines are becoming more economical very rapidly.)

Healthcare is a similar issue. When Obama runs on a platform of giving healthcare benefits to the healthy, but not the sick, he is making a calculated play to divide and conquer.

Universal healthcare would empower people and make it possible for people to express needs for more in the way of quality of life issues. Keeping universal healthcare off the table keeps people dependent on their jobs for heathcare. This is perhaps part of why even the Democratic elite seems to hope that it will not pass.

"Divide and conquer" is the operative term here...

by architek 2008-06-09 09:08AM | 0 recs
We are all immigrants in one way or another..

I am a third generation American. All four of my grandparents came to the US from Europe, fleeing poverty.

Legal immigrants both 'skilled' and 'unskilled' bring a WEALTH of adaptability and knowledge to this country, and in many communities, they have renewed economies that were stagnant or dying.

Sure, there are problems but we could learn a lot from many of them. They often are very family oriented and have lots of children, which, lets face it, ensures continuity and a future for ALL of us. They obviously see good in America and the so called "American Dream" and it represents a promise of sorts to them.

We should not break that promise.

There IS wealth enough to go around, if we could just come to terms with our own, pre-existing inequalities and exploitations.

by architek 2008-06-09 09:17AM | 0 recs

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