The Browning of America

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Well, not so much, especially in Arizona, but then, they can’t see Lady Liberty from there. Wretched refuse.  Rather stark reference, but most were. And all were ‘yearning to breathe free.’

My grandfather also yearned to breathe free as he was the oldest child living in the home among 7 younger brothers and sisters. His two oldest brothers went off to become priests and his next oldest hopped onto a boat 10 years earlier and landed in New York. His father ran a mercantile store in a small village and my grandfather knew that he would spend most of his life in that dingy store.  So he bolted at age 22 and joined his brother in New York. Thus I am the grandson of an immigrant.

My grandfather knew not one word of English when he landed, yet at that time most in  New York spoke a language other than English. Interestingly, even today there are entire sections of that city whose residents speak English as their second language, or third.

Lucky for me, he was European, northern European to be more exact.  He was white and ‘Nordic-looking’ and so he and I blend in very nicely in the pool, literally and figuratively. I read a story on CNN by Christian Lander who writes the blog titled, Stuff White People Like. His CNN piece is called, “How we became white people.” When I saw the link on CNN I thought it was a science piece on melanin percentages, but it was, rather, sociology.

No, Lander is not a neo-Nazi skinhead nor a Tea Party activist; he calls himself a liberal.  And surely this last part of his essay proves where his values are.  He writes, “What I hope this census will force the country to deal with is the fact that white immigrants like me will never again make up the majority of people that come to this country. America is not getting whiter, it will never get whiter.”

Today is May Day- a traditional European holiday honoring the working class, a day set aside to celebrate those who do the hard, dirty, dangerous physical labor for our society.  This year in America, some Tea Party enthusiasts are holding their ‘own’ May Day meetings to ‘take this day away from the socialists.’  Their ignorance is obvious and blatant.

Down in Arizona the white folks are all puffed-up about their new ‘show me your papers’ law.  They are extremely defensive about it, too.  It’s not racial profiling, they claim, but of course it is.  At breakfast with friends yesterday morning, I told the assembled group that I want to drive to Arizona and dress up as a Mexican and walk down the street to see if I might be asked, “Zee papers, please!”  They all laughed noting my Nordic features.

So, back to the anti-May Day gatherings of the tea-sippers.  I wonder how many of them had a nice breakfast this morning?  Perhaps a cup of coffee, some fresh strawberries or a banana  or some pineapple, a sprinkle of sugar?. Who picked the fruit?  The coffee beans?  The sugar cane?

Laborers, of course, and the fruit and sugar cane? Illegals? Undocumented workers?  Mexicans?  Probably.  And guess what group of white folks would bitch if those strawberries cost $8 a quart? And $15 coffee and $7 sugar and $6 pineapple.

You betcha!

Happy May Day to one and all!


13 thoughts on “The Browning of America

  1. Hello Muddy,
    Today, I too did a piece called, “Demographics Of The Sarah Palin / Teabagger Supporters,” in honor of this May Day celebration of the working class. As a grandson of a West Virginia union coal miner, a Teacher’s Union son, I have also posted a May Day Prayer as such.

    I think that we should take a moment for ourselves and take inventory of our country’s days past glory, our country origins, and who we really are.

    A recent Roper poll, which was done for National Geographic, found that those who identified themselves as Teabaggers today and how inadequate they really are.

    This Tea Party group that stands on this nation’s Capital steps, shouting racial slurs and spit on Congressman as they arrived to address this nation’s business, throwing bricks with hate messages and death threats through the windows their local Democratic Offices, thinking they are the “All That Ends All,” for the direction this country needs to be taking? Someone’s train is definitely off the tracks.

  2. Engineer- congratulations on your honor of May Day and to your ‘worker’ roots.

    The Tea Party is merely a ‘click your ruby slippers’ gathering- wishing to re-create America in the 1950’s mold. You know, women in the kitchen, coloreds ‘in their place’ and white men running everything.

    When compared to the labor and worker’s marches that have taken place in our nation’s history- marches for a just salary, equal pay, a 40-hour work week, safety standards in the workplace, the right to organize- these Tea Party ‘marches’ are nothing but wishing for nostalgia that will never return.

    Imagine trying to compare the Tea Baggers movement with the labor movement! Absolutely no comparison.

  3. Hello Muddy,
    Your comment, “wishing to re-create America in the 1950′s mold.”

    I sure you remember the elderly black female comedian, Moms Mabley. I love to quote her joke, “Kids…Mom remembers the Good O’l Days……they weren’t that good!!”

    As I have said, my grandfather was a strong union coal miner and I would like to educate and pass on worst mine disaster in US history. The non-union Monongah Mines Nos. 6 and 8 were located on the West Fork of the Monongahela River, about six miles south of the town of Fairmont, West Virginia.

    At 10:20 a.m., December 6, 1907, explosions occurred at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines at Monongah, West Virginia. The explosions ripped through the mines at 10:28 a.m., causing the earth to shake as far as eight miles away in Fairmont, shattering buildings and pavement, hurling people and horses violently to the ground, and knocking streetcars off their rails. Three-hundred and sixty-two men and boys died. It still remains the worst mine disaster in the history of the United States.

    The owners of the Monongah Mines, as a show of their compassion, gave the widows and mothers of the now dead miners, the bodies as their loved ones as they were being dug out, a fruit basket, and of course the eviction notice from the company housing along with the balance bill from the Monongah Mines Coal Company Store. Yes after their husband’s died from the unsafe conditions within the mine, their pay owed to date was garnished with the bill balance owed to the company store.

    Embalmers worked around the clock in shifts. Caskets lined both sides of the main street. The bank served as a morgue. Churches conducted funeral services several times a day as dozens of men dug long rows of graves on nearby hillsides. Disputes flared over identification of victims, and more than once, a body was claimed by two families.

    A special graveyard, soon filled, was laid out on a bleak hillside. Company houses flanked the burial ground. Rows of open graves were dug in the sodden, half-frozen, rain-drenched and snow-flecked West Virginia soil.

    The reason I am passing on this history lesson is when one does not learn the lessons of history, it will repeat itself. Now not allowing facts to get into the way, the uneducated, dimwitted, listeners were soon quoting the incorrect fact spewing Rush Limbaugh accusing the Miners Union of failing to protect Miners and consequently that is why there is a death toll of 29 at the recent Massey Mine explosion in West Virginia. To the ignorant listeners of Rush, THERE WAS NO UNION!!!

    The company lawyer, Glen Thompson, and legal representative for Massey Energy, has been consistently fighting issued summons for violations on the Mine. Massey’s corporate lawyers did their best to deter accountability by government regulatory statues, in maintaining their stance of non-compliance, by delaying due process. The consolidation attempted by the Miners was consistently defeated by threats from Massey Management; if the vote to unionize passed.

    Over many the many years of late, there has been a destructive message and the propaganda of how bad Unions are. The working class has suffered ever since with stagnant pay, decreased benefits, increase cost burdens of medical insurance for their families, but lead to think they are now “LIVING THE GOOD LIFE!!” How Orwellian!!

  4. My grandfather on my moms side was a coal miner also – Logan county WVa, he worked for Amherst Coal company from maybe 1920’s to about 1975 when he retired with black lung. My mom has a picture of him as a teen working in the mines with a Pick / Shovel / and an iron pushcart on rails!

    My dad, who got an electronic engineering degree from BGSU, went to work as a TV repairman for RCA and then years later for GE. My dad is just BRILLIANT at electronics and at Mathematics. My dad, who is very right wing now-a-days was part of IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). I remember RCA went on strike around 1979 so my dad was off work for over a month. He had to get food stamps for us because the Union benefit wouldn’t cover enough to pay the mortgage. I was a Freshman at a local christian high school during that time and many church members paid my tuition for those months. The next year, 1980, my dad was sent out on a service call to install a TV antenna directional rotor on top of the antenna – in the middle of a snowstorm. My dad fell almost 60 feet when he slipped on one of the rungs and was in the hospital for months.

    Nobody needs that kind of electronic / mathematic skills in the workforce anymore because electronic appliances, for the most part, are now throw away. I’m an aircraft mechanic – that’s what I did in the USMC. I haven’t actually worked on an airplane in years. I work in the inspection department now, doing mostly paperwork. Recently, as part of my companies quality program, we had to go to one of our vendors and perform an audit on them concerning this special process they do on turbine gears in Jet engines. This process they perform on these gears is done by this huge machine that looks like something out of Rube Goldberg. This particular company does this particular specialty process for gears for the entire country. There is only one guy in the entire country that knows how to operate this machine – he is about 62. Most of these specialties have been shipped off to China.

    I don’t think this “devaluation of the American worker” is going to turn out very well in the coming decades. We’ve basically exported our ability to be “The Sleeping Giant” off to a potential enemy.

    My current situation is that I will be graduating nursing school in about 7 months and will be looking for a job. But there are NO nursing jobs out there for new nursing grads. The hospitals and HMO’s are creating this phony nursing shortage propaganda in order to get the government to allow more work visas to flood the hospitals with foreign nurses. They are doing this to break the back of the nursing union. I don’t know if that is true or not, that’s just what I read on nursing blogs. Doesn’t surprise me though, short sighted focus on quarter profits vs long term solvency is the rule of the day. CEO’s make more pay than they ever have, but a company doesn’t get a dedicated ethical and potent executive anymore – they are getting these self serving guerrilla capitalists that have no allegiance to the companies they helm, or the share holders they serve. Our capitalism has been replaced by crony capitalism. It’s a national security threat.

  5. All very interesting ideas to celebrate the future of the working people on May Day. Conservatives are militantly trying to turn back the clock on social progress. Social programs are being swept away in the name of “The Economy”. Unemployment benefits are allowed to run out and the logic is that the “unemployed lazy masses” will be forced to take jobs that they are over qualified for and down grade their expectations and life styles.
    Meanwhile, the entry level immigrants who have traditionally come to America and worked from “shirt sleeves” to “silk sleeves” are being delegitimatized by the same conservative elitists who make the obscene fortunes and manipulate the xenophobic economic fear of the masses.
    This isn’t just an American phenomena, this is powering the anti immigrant racism all over the world. Here in France we are seeing a rise in anti Islamic hate crimes. I am going to do a post titled, Paris, Arizona.

    Workers of the World, Unite!

  6. engineer, Steve- thank you so much for sharing your personal stories with us. These demonstrate just how important it is to educate the masses on what life was like in the ‘good old days’ so that youngsters will remember just how terrible workers lives were as they fought for justice and equal rights. Fought-for, not granted is the issue here. It’s always that way ever since the industrial revolution in England.

    The current batch of right-wingers want to paint those days as ‘good old’ ones when, in reality, it was often HELL.

    Those vocal nincompoops on the right are like pre-programed robots blathering away what the corporate giants have told them to do. I often wonder, ‘do they know what they don’t know?’ Are they completely ignorant of history? Is that the problem with their misguided allegiance to the corporate world?

  7. “This Tea Party group that stands on this nation’s Capital steps, shouting racial slurs and spit on Congressman”

    I call you out EoK for being completely full of shit…in front of everyone…right here, right now!

    Why? Because there is a 100 thousand dollar reward being offered for ANYONE who can provide video or sound footage of ANYONE shouting “racial” crap at those 2 black guys (who for some odd reason decided NOT to utilize the usual undeground tunnel between buildings and walk through the protesters…BAITING ANOYONE?)

    So while video cameras were rolling all over the place, NOBODY has yet to claim that 100 grand and yet, every leftist moron (who obviously couldn’t use 100 grand) repeats the MSNBC / Olbermann line about racial slurs being flung.
    The FACT EoK is that what you claim happened…never happened! IE, you’re full of shit and simply parrot any old bullshit you hear regardless of evidence.
    Those 2 “innocent black congressmen” were attempting nothing more than trying to set the te folks up…and FAILED!
    So they just invented the racism B.S and hoped it would stick unquestioned.
    100 video cameras would catch everything…except for what they tried to say happened and NOBODY there would put politics aside for a cool 100 grand CA$H money?
    Yeah right! You just keep on repeating what they tell you to repeat…evidence be damned right?
    Face it, the dems tried to bait the tea folks by having 2 black congressmen walk right through a protest… as opposed to using the underground tunnel they ALL normally use… hoping to elicite a racist reponse from the tea folks for a news soundbite…and not only did it fail but, they outhright LIED about it and were caught LYING about it!
    …And YOU blindly repeat it as the gospel?
    So much for YOUR credibility!
    …Mister “republican trying to get his party back”!
    If YOU’RE an example of old school republicanism…you deserve to fade into obscurity! Besides, if you weren’t a liberal, muddy would NEVER give you the keys to his blog.

    Or, you recieve my apology here in front of everyone when you link the racial slurs YOU’RE saying happened!
    Because if you and anyone else on the internet are so flush with money that you’ll repeat something without collecting the 100 grand reward, send it to me…I WILL!

  8. My apology for being so harsh yesterday morning. The racial slur story has long been debunked and ticks me off when someone who is reputed to be educated simply repeats it for dubious reasons while knowing that nobody here would bother to challenge the statement.

    And as I stated, if the proof is out there, send it to me…I could use that 100 grand being offered.

  9. Geezopizza, The racial slur story was never debunked, it was caught on tape. The $100,000 reward is pile of crap which was already weaseled out of.
    I saw it, but of course in your state of comfortable numbness, it never happened.
    I don’t care if you apologize, I don’t care if you are harsh, I don’t care if you insult me or anyone else, I don’t care if you holler and scream till beans come out of your nose…. I just wish you would start making sense.

    But, I guess I’m just a foolish dreamer…..

  10. So link me to it MD. I want to see it too because from what I understand, those 2 congressmen insisted they “heard the word nigger at least 17 times” then it changed to “1 or 2 times”, then their story changed to “we think we might have heard something that sounded like a slur.”

    So in all honesty are you also going to say those guys were NOT out hoping to hear “something”? Knowing that video cameras were filming from every angle 2 black congressmen suddenly decide to NOT take the usual route through the underground tunnels and since it was such a nice day theye merely decided to walk through the middle of a few thousand protesters who were protesting a law these guys were supporting and had no idea that catcalls could be thrown at them?
    Their entire point in doing so was because they HOPED someone would shout “nigger” in order to give the media a soundbite to smear ALL the tea folks with.
    It didn’t work.

  11. No, because it was blatantly obvious as to what the intent was. I read Alinsky’s book too muddy, it’s no secret and neither is the tactic.

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