Ok, May 1 is the day I was born, so it's already a pretty important day in history, but how will May 1, 2006 be remembered? If you've been sleeping under a rock, the Mexican community is planning the "Great American Boycott," aka, "A Day Without Immigrants" for this Monday.
Mexican workers (and others) are encouraged not to show up to work, in protest on the U.S.'s stand on illegal immigrants. You think this won't disrupt your plans on Monday? Think again. Building a house? Who's going to nail the wood beams together? Like fresh veggies? Who's going to sit hunched in a field all day under the blazing sun? Got kids? Who's going to watch 'em? Planning to stay at a hotel? Who's going to make the bed and clean bathroom? Eating out? Who's going to keep the kitchen clean? I think you get the idea.
Immigrants - legal and illegal - are important for our economy and our lazy, greedy asses. We, as Americans, have created a highly service-orientated and convenient society. We like to be pampered. We like to have things now. We like to have options. We've created an excess society - we have the essentials but want more. Well, who are the worker bees who make this happens?
How many first, second and third-generation Americans do you see picking vegetables? How many are rebuilding hurricane-struck homes? Who's making the beds at your favorite hotel? Who's washing the dishes at your neighborhood restaurant?
I had a discussion with my friend Cordelia today. Her mom brought up the fact (which we haven't heard much discussion about) that all immigrants - illegal and legal - are paying taxes, and paying into the social security system, yet, the illegals aren't cashing in on social security because they aren't eligible. They come here to work and (mostly) play by the rules in hopes of gaining/keeping a green card. All this to live the perceived American dream.
Think about this - if they are paying into the social security system and not cashing out, where is the money going that they put in? Who's using it? We lazy Americans are using it. If the immigrants return home, will the social security system collapse???
Why have we quickly forgotten that this country was founded on hard-working immigrants. I think of my Irish heritage and how my great, great, great (another great?) grandfather immigrated here at the turn of the century, established himself and eventually brought the rest of his family over. Were the Irish accepted then? No. But slowly, they meld into the American culture.
I saw a great political cartoon a couple weeks back. It showed a woman shopping in a grocery store, pushing her shopping cart by a stack of oranges. A sign read, "Oranges, 3 for $20. Hand-picked by Americans." We're freaking out about $3/gallon gas. Don't think we can handle $7 oranges.