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Take Our Jobs

I occasionally hear opinions voiced by people I know in the Midwest with comments about immigrants (legal, illegal, documented, and undocumented) that, whether they realize it or not, reflect a kind of knee-jerk bigotry.

Other than the fact that ALL of us are likely “immigrants” in this hemisphere, from “Native Californians” to Native Americans (they came here first), what I like to ask people who disparage “immigrants” is, “Who picks your food?” :-)

Many people in the U.S. are fed from California’s Central Valley, or other places that utilize migrant farm workers. Today, I read THIS article that the United Farm Workers union is challenging Americans to take their labor-intensive, low-paying farm jobs. (You could also throw in hot, sun-baked, and dangerous to those adjectives.

The union has launched a campaign called “Take Our Jobs.”

I would also call it, “Put your money where your mouth is!” and “Talk is cheap!” But, before I tell you more about the campaign, I would like to remind you of an earlier blog of mine that cited statistics that only the top 1% of wealthy Americans (no, this probably does NOT include YOU!) have made many financial gains whatsoever since 1980. The gains increased as you climbed into the financial top 0.1% and the top 0.01%. Some folks argue that the rich keep everyone else fighting among themselves, but I disagree. Certain personality types almost REQUIRE a scapegoat (definition 2a), because they are incapable of accepting responsibility for their own lives.

To those who MUST find a scapegoat, I have a suggestion – scapegoat the RICH! You may be RIGHT some of the time (instead of WRONG all of the time!) and, in any case, the rich can “take it” and don’t care about you anyway! :-)

Back to the United Farm Workers….

According to the CNN article:

“Farm workers do the work that most Americans are not willing to do,” said union president Arturo Rodriguez in the announcement of the campaign.

The article also states:

“The Department of Agriculture counts nearly one million farm workers in the United States. According to the Migrant Farm Worker Justice Project, 85% of farm workers are immigrants — and up to 70% of them are illegal.”

You can read the CNN article to learn more about anti-immigration sentiments in Arizona, and the United States Department of Justice suing the state of Arizona to overturn its new immigration law.

However, the next time you hear some bozo disparage migrant farm workers, you can offer them the job! Despite the 9.5% unemployment rate in the U.S. (MUCH higher in California and remember how percentages work – California is one of our most POPULOUS states!), there have been FEW TAKERS. :-)

Just ask that aforementioned bozo to “put up or shut up” and contact to see how he/she would like to have the exciting and rewarding life of a migrant farm worker in his/her own geographic area! When they back down (and they WILL), ask them to leave the hard-working, low-paid migrant farm workers alone and target somebody else. Ask them to take responsibility for their own failures or target the people who are actually responsible.

(A personal note: While I have never had a job as hard as that of a migrant farm worker, I have had some pretty bad jobs :-) [and at least one GOOD one; everybody should have at least one good one in his/her life]. I found the country tune, “Take This Job and Shove It,” sung by Johnny Paycheck (who was imprisoned at Chillicothe Prison in Ohio where another friend of mine taught math to convicted felons – Hi Dannie!], helpful in getting me through the most difficult times. Coincidentally, “Take This Job and Shove It” was in virtually CONTINUOUS play during the beer party at which we celebrated a Texan friend earning his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison – Hi Lacy! Yes, the lab we worked in was really that bad!) By the way, Paycheck blamed nobody but himself for his problems.)

(Note added July 10, 2010: I am watching the History International channel tonight. Southwestern and Western states that scapegoated and wanted to deport Mexicans (who were viewed as “surplus labor” during the Great Depression of the 1930s, after being “useful labor” in the booming 1920s) used the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 (overturned 30 years later), pushed by Harry J. Anslinger and his Federal Bureau of Narcotics to accomplish this goal. How many times do we need to repeat this particular piece of history?)

-Bill at

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