Back in 1976, New Yorker magazine ran what is perhaps one of their most recognized covers. It shows how people from The Big Apple view the rest of the world, with an oversized Manhattan dominating. Every other feature of the world, from the rest of America to entire foreign countries, fade in importance and detail the further the distance from New York. Not, of course, that they were very important when compared to New York in the first place.
I was reminded of that image while reading this essay at American Digest, an op-ed that I really can’t take seriously. In the very first paragraph the author tries to set the scene, as many good wordsmiths do, by evoking commonly recognized themes and images. The only problem is that the themes and images he is using as a common touchstone between the reader and himself are not very common.
“Last June I was visiting an old friend in San Rafael, California. He lives the classic Marin county life high on a brindle California hillside. His house is reached by driving the blind curves of one of those thin hill roads. He’s got open land and long views next to his house. And a beautiful and extensive garden. A Sunset Magazine garden.”
“…the classic Marin county life…”? I had no idea what that is. “A Sunset Magazine garden.”? I didn’t know what that is, either. Probably because I had never heard of Sunset Magazine before now, let alone any gardens they may have cultivated. I can figure out what he means pretty easily through context, however. He might be referring to subjects that I have never experienced, nor want to, but it isn’t like he is incomprehensible.
Just so you know, I’m from the Midwest. Flyover country. It isn’t surprising that someone who reads Sunset Magazine and hangs out in Marin county would have a different view of the world than some guy from Columbus, Ohio. This is a pretty easy observation to make, actually.
But even though this Ohio boy can appreciate and understand the point of view of someone who lives in California, I really don’t think he can conceive of conditions that exist elsewhere in the country. Proof came a few paragraphs into his piece.
“Home Depots are, among other big-box construction hardware stores, the default shape-up spot of pick-up Mexican labor in the US. We all know that. When you need something done you just drive out to the nearest Home Depot, get your materials, and then pick up your emergency Mexicans as you exit. Everybody knows this. Everybody sees this. Everybody does this.”
Um, actually, no. At least it isn’t done that way in central Ohio.
The author mentions that there were about 300 illegals hanging around the parking lot of a Home Depot near Marin county, a greatly reduced number from the early morning when contractors culled the herd looking for day labor. He seems to think that this is something that occurs all over since it occurs outside of every big hardware store in California.
Not up here, buddy. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any illegal aliens in Ohio, just that they run the risk of getting arrested. The police might not actively pursue illegals, but they will turn them over to INS if they happen to become aware of them. A couple of hundred unemployed guys hanging around outside of a business, hanging around so they could be illegally employed, would be tough to miss. Better put the call out to see if any adjoining departments can spare their paddy wagons, it’s going to be a busy day!
Earlier I mentioned that I couldn’t take the op-ed under discussion very seriously. This isn’t because the author has no clue about conditions outside of California (at least not totally), but because of the alarm he is trying to raise through his article.
You see, he is worried about what will happen if the economy gets worse. What happens if this enormous illegal population is suddenly metaphorically starved of the tax free dollars they now earn because unemployed American citizens start to compete for the “jobs Americans won’t do”? There is nothing for them back home in their native country, and he doesn’t see them quietly and meekly allowing themselves to starve for real. He seems to think that the consequences will be dire.
“Perhaps we’ll discover that we’ll have to pay a very large bill for our indolence. And that the bill will not be paid with cash. It will be paid, not for the first time, with the last thing we want to see – the Army in our cities. I don’t think we are prepared for that. I don’t think we want to find out. I pray we never have to.”
Once again, it won’t happen up here. I also don’t see it happening in states that value rugged individualism, like New Mexico or Texas or Arizona. But I can definitely see martial law declared in California because their population of illegal immigrants decides to act up.
I mean, how else would those poor Sunset-Magazine-reading dears cope?
(Hat tip to Glenn.)