We were having such a good time yesterday that Doc forgot his bulletproof vest. Fortunately, he doesn't pull duty today. The bad news is that there will probably be only about 2000 officers on alert for today's street protests in support of illegal aliens.
I sat quietly through the discussions on the subject yesterday as we celebrated my aunt's 68th birthday over in Culver City. Somehow I have this sense of the tragic that something will go wrong and that there's nothing I can do about it but say 'I told you so'. I am preparing to watch some kind of political and civic train wreck.
At the very time we were talking about this, old reruns of Miami Vice were on TVLand. Doc had seen this particular episode in which an undercover sting goes rotten and the security guard Crockett disarms in order to keep his cover gets shot by the bad guys. After the crooks flee the scene, Crockett has to go and be a real cop and attend to the wounded security guard who lays face down with four bulltholes in his back. Alas it is too late, and there arises the classicly cliched scene in which the enormity of the error hits all at once. In my aunt's living room we all sob NOOOOO! at the same time, then crack up laughing at Don Johnson as he acts out the scene.
I am coming to recognize all those liberal and conservative laments coming down from ivory towers in the 90s when multiculturalism first got started, and I wonder if we are truly witnessing the death of modernity. I can't help but notice how Latino is getting translated into low-wage, illegal, unskilled day labor. How Islamic is getting translated into fascist, violent, religious repression. It seems that the very insistance that we recognize the culture and values of marginalized people is reinforcing the very stereotypes multiculturalists were striving to avoid. And so what must be said at this juncture is a reiteration of Cosby's complaint; some of you people are not holding up your end of the deal. The point of multiculturalism is to underscore modernism, to show that there is respect for cultural flavor, but only within the context of a social contract. Illegality is a deal-breaker.
So I'm going to reawaken a perjorative today to make the distinction between Mexican Americans and Mojados. Mojado means 'wet', which would be short for wetback, meaning those fresh from an illegal border crossing over the Rio Grande. These are people we don't want - people who scheme to break our laws and live in this nation for the economic benefit of getting paid on the regular, but are unwilling to pay the dues required in the form of citizenship. It may not seem fair to pile on the people who mop the floors and leave the yellow warning signs that say 'Piso Mojado' when our spoiled kids drop french fries at the food court, BUT. THEY AREN'T REFUGEES, THEY'RE OPPORTUNISTS.
As I said before, it is no trivial feat to scrape up the money and courage to pay some coyote to sneak you across the border. It's not easy to walk across a desert and live a life undercover hiding from law enforcement, racists and scandalous employers in a country where you don't speak the language. In fact, it's a hell of a lot harder to do all that than to fill out the forms for a green card and stand in line behind the legitimate immigrants. Yes it's a shame that all this vitriol will fall on the person of the tragic Mojado, but that's what people who stand for law and order do. They shame publically and they call the cops. It's our patriotic duty, that we'd love to share, if you'd just wait your damned turn. We cannot afford to reward the cheating of the Mojado, no matter how tragic their circumstances.
This day without Mojado labor is a drop in the bucket. It doesn't affect me at all, and I think a lot of people will be surprised to find that those it affects the most will be their neighbors at the low end of the economic ladder. Bus drivers will have it light, nobody will be able to buy balloons, paletas and churros today. A few floors won't get swept, a few driveways won't get paved, a few lawns won't get mowed. God forbid some of us will have to eat at home for a change, but service at the Italian restaurant was fine at lunch today. The American economy will chug along just fine, and what today is for folks like me will be what a bad day on the NASDAQ is for folks like them, just another day. And suddenly people may come to realize that the biggest effect of all this is political.
That's when the tragedy really starts. Because when it comes down to it, the political majority is going to stand for law and order first. No Mojado movement is going to put sustained political pressure on the democracy that is the United States. Maybe then it will sink in how this is the difference this series of unfortunate events and a true grass roots political movement. Just try and fill up the jails and see where that lands you. The Americans will be bailed out and go back to their liberal suburbs and the Mojados will go back to Mexico. Mexican Americans will silently be thankful for their citizenship, just like Antonio Villaraigosa. He's not waving any flags today, and that should tell you something.
For those people defending the Mojado cause, I think you're heading for a Don Johnson moment.