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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Revolution has begun

Look at the picture to the left.

Look at it. Nearly a half a million human beings gathered in downtown Los Angeles. A half a million people terrified that they are going to have something horrible happen to them.

Does anyone know what happened this weekend? Does anyone realize the scope of what happened?

Think about this…

August 28th, 1963…thousands marched on Washington. Negroes they were called then. Looking, begging, for the same rights as white Americans. Led by a young preacher named Martin Luther King, whose fiery prose ignited a civil rights movement.

June 27th, 1969….Thousands of homosexual men said enough was enough….they were tired of being castigated for simply wanting to love an lust the way they wanted. They rebelled…big time. Another movement begins.

I truly believe that March 25th, 2006 will be one of those dates that will spark a long-needed movement….another group of people of color demanding the simple recognition of being a human.

And as it was then, white men, in positions of power, looking at what their xenophobia has wrought, struggled to find a way to wiggle out of the hole they have dug for themselves.

The question about immigration, legal or otherwise, has been a thorn in the side of the country for many years. Irish morphed into Italians, into Asians, into Blacks, into Latinos, all wanting the same thing as the rest, freedom, the same rights, and the acknowledgement of their humanity.

Good luck.

It took many protests and a few riots to get many of the aforementioned this far. What happened this Saturday was the beginning of a long struggle that will not end quietly.

So for the benefit of those who want to send these uppity minorities back to Africa….errr…..Mexico (sorry, wrong uppity minorities), a few overlooked facts.

First, NO LATINOS ARE GOING TO STEAL YOUR JOB. If you lose a job to a Latino….or anyone else, chances are you didn’t do your job that well, or at least well enough to justify the salary you got. I hear a lot about hard working Union people in this country. So why don’t we make cars that work? Being the best at what you do is the best guarantee against being replaced. Always have.

Second, WE ARE NOT OVERRUN BY ILLEGALS. Granted, 11 million undocumented aliens is a big number, but that leaves about 289 million who are here legally. It’s a problem, but it is not a crisis.

Thirdly, WE DO NOT NEED NEW EMPLOYMENT LAWS TO STOP ILLEGALS. Remember most of those people are here to work and feed their families. You do not need to beef up new laws. Just do what you are not doing…enforce the laws we DO have on the books. Can you imagine a one-day sweep of this country of both corporations and individuals? A few CEOs and desperate housewives going to the slammer for hiring illegals might just be the thing to dry things up. Which brings me to the most cogent point.

WE ARE A TRIFLING BUNCH. Too lazy to make our beds or clean our houses or watch our kids or mow our lawns. It’s not just the fact that most of the jobs the undocumented have are the ones we fine citizens don’t want, but we do not do those same jobs in our own houses.

Here is a solution. If you have kids, instead of hiring someone off the street or at Lowe’s….there is an archaic concept we used to have in this country called CHORES. We used to give these to our kids to do. It has the same effect…keeping you from doing the dirty work, plus it has side benefit. It helps to create in said rugrats….dare I say it…a WORK ETHIC! Something that is sorely missing in today’s documented population.

You know, the ones who complain about the illegals taking all of our jobs while we live on unemployment. Once, as a homeless man, I needed some money. I saw a bunch of Latino men, probably illegal, on a corner hawking for work. “Five Dollar! Five Dollar!,” they chanted. I figured if it worked for them it could for me. And it did, with the extra benefit that I was legal.

We have always had excuses for out sloth. Remember the backlash over affirmative action? As a black man, I am thankful for the issue, only because it gets people off MY back.

The reality is that these people realize what they can lose. Others realize it too. And just like in the other cases mentioned, some brave men are standing up. Men like John McCain and Ted Kennedy. Even Dubya, in one moment of being cogent, recognizes that Latinos should be able to contribute.

It will be a long struggle; one I hope would be peaceful. But there is a side question I do want to leave you with. I talked about the sloth that Americans exhibit. 500,000 people in Los Angeles alone thought something was so vital that they got out of their comfort zone and stood up. With all the evil being practiced in this country, I wonder when we will do the same.

Just like the blacks in ’63 and the gays in ’69, the Latinos of 2006 have a lot to teach us gringos.



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