May 02, 2006


I remember a long time back--maybe twenty or even thirty years or so, I'm not sure of the exact year--when there was a sudden rise in the price of coffee. Folks were going crazy about it, and my mother responded by not buying coffee.

Same thing with lettuce a few years back, too--it went up sky high to some weather-related malady, and suddenly it was $5 a head when it had been 50 cents. I seem to recall my mother responding in the exact same fashion she did when coffee got so high--she just quit buying it until it was cheap again.

That's what happens when you have a product that is something you want, but not necessarily need. You either do without, or you find out there are alternatives.

Now, I really think this guy in the picture was a FrankJ ringer sent in as a show of mockery, but just in case he thinks he's serious, he might just want to know that a) not every burrito is made by an illegal immigrant, and b) there are other things to eat besides burritos.

This phenomenon of substitution was also noted by Delaware's own Fritz Schranck, who found that although his favorita Mexican place might have been closed up in solidarity with the protests of yesterday, there was, in fact, ANOTHER restaurant in the area which was all too happy to take Fritz's money.

As Fritz notes, the call for demonstrating political power through idleness was probably not such a great idea, especially in a nation where there are alternatives to illegally hiring illegal immigrants. Yes, taking those alternatives might be more expensive in the short term, but we also have the option of not filling some jobs that could be considered non-essential. And that's not just talking about what you eat in the restaurant.

In the end, there are many jobs at the lower reaches of the pay scale that don't pay much simply because those types of jobs don't require any particular skill-set other than respiration. If immigrants truly want to empower themselves, the way to do that is through acquiring skills and knowledge that the greater society they happen to find themselves in sees as valuable.

In this country, the first step to making that happen means learning to speak English. It is easier to learn English in America than it is to learn any other language in any other country--this nation goes out of its way to offer opportunities to learn, and furthermore, the language is so full of different methods of saying the same thing, it itself lends to being understood functionally even if you don't quite have fluency. It is much more forgiving of grammatical errors and syntactical flubs than any other language I know of.

Of course, English's flexibility does have a downside, in that writing and reading it can be an awful chore due to all the aggregated (or aggravating) spellings brought in from other languages, but a person who comes to this country still has it much easier than other places. Take advantage of that.

Second step--decide you want to be an American. If you just can't stand that idea, then it's best for all concerned that you go on back to your homeland and make your own society as open, free, democratic, wealthy, prosperous, and accommodating of others as you have found America to be.

If you want the majority of Americans to work with you and accept your contribution, you cannot do it by saying you want to take back all the land that your Spanish forebears stole from the Indians and that we defeated you fair and square for; and you can't expect us to pay you good money only to hear how awful and evil and terrible America is. We have the New York Times for that. You want the rewards this country offers? Then accept the method by which those rewards have been brought about--which weren't developed by Che or Castro, by the way--and embrace the free enterprise system, and the idea that you are responsible for making your own way in this world.

True, it seems unfair that we expect you to work and make your own way, when we already have a bunch of ne'er-do-wells who sit around and suck at the public teat, due only to God's grace for them having been born here, but we do at least put them in Congress so they're less apt to hurt people.

Third, after you've decided to learn the language and embrace the idea of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and have decided you are unwilling to allow yourselves to be used as tool of those who wish to destroy your adopted homeland, make sure your children are told how valuable education is, and how they can go even further than you ever dreamed. Never let them accept that it's okay to fail--teach them to overcome failure. And don't think that educating your children to be good Americans means your kids can never know about where their ancestors came from--this country is made up of a bunch of people from all over, and we all like to get together and have parades and stuff to celebrate that and show off. Remember, if you think your land is so much better, you can return and no one will think less of you.

But never forget this--if you want to succeed in America, you have to be American.

But, if you want to be perpetual second-class residents, in the thrall of identity politicians who will take you for granted and never deliver on their promises, if you never want to be more than a peon with a slightly nicer house--then proceed on with your addle-pated desire for cultural insularity, and the economic suicide of being unwilling to add value to yourselves through education and by embracing a proven system of law and governance that has withstood the test of time.

And don't whine about it when you find out I can buy burritos in the grocery store.

UPDATE: More on the subject from Dr. Joyner.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 2, 2006 01:25 PM