Monday, November 07, 2005

Imigration and Living in Place

The Grand Panoply on the National Scene continues apace, thus once again proving the basic principle that ignorance abhors a vacuum. We're doing our part on Tuesday, working at our local election poll, holding high the banner of Democracy, such as it is these days. We're having a special election in California, in which our Acting Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, attempts to change the state color from blue to red, through subterfuge, sleight of lip and sharp practice. We're hoping for the best, while expecting the worst. Peak oil dare not rear its head in this, the visionary state.

We have a continuing problem with our Latin American neighbors to the south, temporarily relocated to local agricultural fields, there to provide cheap labor for Agribusiness, The Global Economy, Progress, if that's what it is. Arnold's solution is to give them drivers licenses, whether they are citizens or not, so they can drive their paychecks back to Mexico instead of having to pay 37 cents for postage. That won't do anything to stop the gang violence, the graffiti, the boom-box low riders, or help the non-English speaking service workers, or those of us who have to deal with workers who can't speak the dominant language of this country.

Insensitive? Insufficiently liberal? Callous? Racist? Guilty to all but the latter! I'm tired of living in a foreign country within the borders of the United States! If people want to live in this country, become citizens, enjoy the privileges of membership in this institution called the United States of America, then they should expect to become a full member of the community, speak the language, adopt the culture, become a member of the community, not drag their own culture around with them like a Halloween disguise. Permanently moving from the culture of one's birth to another culture is a traumatic experience and should not be taken lightly.

My ancestors moved to the United States from Wales, from England, from Switzerland, from France. They left their mother culture and mother tongues behind, become a part of the local culture, spoke English, even changed their names to better fit in with the locals. They didn't move into a neighborhood and start playing their music at a bazillion decibels and expect the neighbors to get used to it! They respected the local culture, adopted local customs and became contributing members of the local community.

Seems like a lesson that could be taken by our own lost youth, immersed in a foreign culture of rap music, serial cell phone conversations, ground penetrating car stereo systems, impenetrable speech affectations, meaningless TeeVee culture. How can they learn to live in place, when their place is an electronic void?

Culture is how we humans teach our children how to live in place. When the children's culture comes from the TeeVee instead of their elders, the children can never learn how to be a human being in the place where they live. They learn to become dysfunctional human simulacra, pretend humans, out of place, suspended in time, forever held in stasis among wildly hissing electrons.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

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