Monday, April 17, 2006

The Mother of All Problems

After Easter service yesterday, we went to see Rhoda do Golda. Valerie Harper actually did a remarkable job in "Golda's Balcony", William Gibson's play that peppers a Wikipedian recounting of Golda Mier's life with some very keen insight into the soul of the woman and the state she helped create and defend. But from way up in the balcony, I couldn't see her very well and my eyes conspired with my ears and all I saw was Rhoda, except when she was impersonating Henry Kissinger - which just got funnier each time she did it.

All in all not a bad show, but it reinforced in my mind the more things change, the more they stay the same. Particularly when she delivered a line (imprecisely from memory) 'There will be no shalom until Arab mothers love their children more than they hate Israelis.' This drew tremendous applause and something of a standing ovation (except from those of us in the upper balcony suffering from vertigo). That line stuck with me because I had been trying to find a way to write about another mother who is all about hate and it occurred to me that maybe the problem is more systemic than I thought. So when I got home I did some intensive googling which confirmed my suspicion; mothers are intrinsically involved in most of the world's problems. For anything that could possibly evoke controversy there is a raging swarm of mothers against it.

To exemplify my thesis, I even confessed to chango that I was experimenting with stream of consciousness sriting when pissing in the wind and now that I take a stand I find there are Mothers Against Peeing Standing Up. I for one am usually glad to see mothers taking a stand (although my mother managed to teach me to lift the seat) and I read about a device called a P-Mate which will help them do that, but I want to get back to my thesis which was that while mothers may not be the mother of all problems, there is one that (shall I say) pisses me off.

This particular mother, is Michelle Dallacroce and she nominally heads a group called Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, whos primary claim to fame is tying up traffic around the Home Depot on Thomas Avenue in Phoenix. As far as I can tell, this national organization consists of Michelle and all of the girlfriends she can pack into her silver Lexus SUV, but FOX News sees in this looney the makings of the racist-rights answer to Cindy Sheehan. She has already appeared with Hannity and Cavuto. But after listening to this woman speak, it becomes quickly apparent that her problem is not with illegal immigration, it is with brown-skinned people in general and she will make up anything she needs to make Arizona safe for white immigrants from Chicago (I happen to be one of those). Her problem with immigrants is not jobs, it's hygiene and she claims that illegal entrants bring diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy into the country, negatively impact public schools and endanger U.S. children. I know that her message is getting play on FOX because I find Skeppy regurgitating it verbatim. But ...

According to the David Engelthaler, state epidemiologist with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the state has averaged fewer than one case of leprosy, or Hansen's disease, a year over the past five years. Tuberculosis rates in Arizona decreased by 35 percent from 1995-2004 but foreign-born accounted for 57 percent of the 272 total cases in 2004, up from 41 percent in 1999. Tuberculosis victims from Mexico accounted for 64 percent of the foreign-born cases in 2004, he said.

Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction, said children of illegal entrants clearly have a financial impact on Arizona schools. In December, Horne sent a letter to Congress asking for $750 million in federal funds to cover the cost of educating children illegally in the United States.

The Arizona Department of Education compiled the number based on the 125,000 children of illegal entrants estimated to be living in the state by the Pew Hispanic Center at the cost of $6,000 a student a year. Horne said it costs $350 more to educate a student who is learning English.

As far as the Mothers Against Illegal Aliens' claim that illegal entrants dumb-down public education, Horne declined to comment because he said he didn't have scientific data. His basic view remains that the federal government should do a better job on the border, but in the meantime, educators will do their best to educate all students. -- source
Mothers Against Illegal Aliens can be more appropriately described as the Women's Auxilliary of the Border Guardians, a Tuscon-based ensemble of white vigilantes most noted for burning a Mexican flag in front of the Mexican consulate. I personally find it ironic that Dallacroce was insistent that Governor Napolitano provide National Guard security for the recent immigration demonstrations and it turns out that the only arrests were related to her border buddies flag burning.

Arizona is turning into a magnet for America's rekindled racism. The wackos are starting to come out of the woodwork here, legitimized in no small part by Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo whos entourage intended to counter the massive demonstrations in Phoenix.

"After Tancredo speaks, I go into the crowd, where people call Tancredo a hero, and bump into Alan Swanson, a Minuteman who offers up one long sneer: "We're losing our country. It's very simple. These people are breeding like rats. They crawling in like a cancer everywhere in the country. You can't go to a restaurant, a hotel, a Wal-Mart, anywhere without hearing Spanish." -- source
It's the breeding like rats part that sends the signal to me and that signal is there will be no intelligent and meaningful resolution to immigration until America's right-wing can distinguish racism from patriotism. My problem is not with Michelle Dallacroce. She is an Aryan Nation groupie and is generally understood as such here. My problem is with FOX News and Tom Tancredo who are taking a calculated risk that racism can still be disguised as patriotism for fun and profit.

On a related note, the Republican Party has started airing radio spots blaming congressional Democrats for the felony attributes in the House version of an immigration bill. Democrats are asking me for money to counter. I'm not sending any. They are both pissing me off - as if Arizonans are really that stupid. As if we don't know when people are just playing politics. As if we can be played one against the other. As if we didn't know that the mother of all problems resides in Washington.

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