The ugly side of patriotism was on display last week in Vassar, a shabby little town in Michigan’s thumb.
Fifty or so heroes bizarrely carried flags, automatic rifles and handguns on a short march in sugar beet country. They had hard faces. They had a woman with wispy blond hair as their leader, and a 100 percent American cause:
They were determined to prevent a local human services facility from helping some poor, frightened, refugee children.
“We’re not against children,” claimed Tamyra Murray, the self-styled leader of Michganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement, a group best appropriately abbreviated as MICE.
“But the children here are only pawns. They’re a game to control our nation. It’s an invasion, nothing less than an invasion,” she said, delighting her scruffy band of followers.
Well, to the unsophisticated like me, a bunch of hungry 9-year-olds doesn’t quite look like Omaha Beach.
But Tammy knows her geopolitical strategy, all right, and has the background to prove it. Why, according to her LinkedIn profile, she spent 17 years as a mostly non-union plasterer.
Then, she moved on to become a caulker. That’s great if you love grout, but doesn’t get you a lot of face time on the news. So Murray reinvented herself as a “Liason [sic]/Public Speaker,” and set out to save America from the mongrel hordes.
She dabbled in anti-immigration issues, but finally found her chance. Since last fall, thousands of refugee children, most from Central America, have stumbled across our borders.
I suppose, if President Obama had been a red-blooded American patriot, he would have set up machine guns and hosed them all as they tried to cross the border. But he is, of course, a Kenyan socialist Muslim, and even worse, black.
So, at least in view of the gun-wavers of Vassar, he spit on our heritage, and gave these children shelter. Now they want to bring a few dozen of the little boys to Vassar. Not to roam the streets and prey about the women and cows in town.
Not exactly. They would be housed in now-vacant buildings at Wolverine Human Services Pioneer Work and Learn Center, a social service agency for children based in Grosse Pointe Park. There, they would spend a few weeks being fed, getting basic vaccination, and getting some basic education.
The federal government, not the locals, would absorb the costs. Then, the kids would move on. Some would go to immigration courts to see if they could qualify to stay.
A lucky few would be reunited with relatives who are already here. Some, sadly, might end up being deported.
Last week, according to Saginaw News reporter Lindsay Knake, Wolverine’s alternative education principal, a man named Chuck Fabbro, went to Grand Rapids, where some of these kids are now attending a charter school.
“They looked like kids. They were kids,” he said. But kids with a difference. No, they were not nasty, disease-ridden, or brandishing knives. They were tiny, possibly because of nourishment issues. “They were way smaller than the kids I typically deal with,” the principal told the reporter.
Ah, but Tamyra Murray knows better. See, she has “connections and friends along the Mexican border,” who are providing her with information about what’s really happening.
According to our caulker, some of these children “belong to gangs and act as drug runners for cartels.” Others are “coughing blood and have suspected tuberculosis.”
Well, at least she didn’t say that any of them were Jews. Fabbro, the principal from Wolverine, talked to an administrator at the school in Grand Rapids about this.
“I asked about diseases. He laughed at me.” No, they don’t have any diseases. Nor have these scrawny teens and pre-teens turned Grand Rapids into an outpost of the Medellin cartel. They are mostly lonely and frightened children.
We should be helping them. They may not teach this in plasterers and caulkers school, but this is what America is supposed to be all about. This nation was founded by refugees, malcontents, and religious nuts no one at home wanted.
America is still open to those seeking political asylum. Nor should this nation ever turn needy children away.
Those frightened kids are, in my book, far more authentically American than the gun-brandishing rabble who disgraced themselves up in Vassar the other day.
By the way, where do Tamyra and her minions think their ancestors came from? Those articulate enough to answer would say proudly that they were “legal immigrants,” though, in fact, many of most of us have no real idea.
Historically, the whole idea of “legal immigration” is something of a farce. For many years, all it took to be a “legal immigrant” was to pass a pretty basic health test on Ellis Island.
Naturally, many just came across the borders and found jobs, no questions asked. And ask yourselves this: Were even the most legal of “legal immigrants” legal to Sitting Bull?
Cochise? The Iroquois? The Lenni Lenape? Did they want us here? Not on your life. But we had better weapons and more efficient diseases, and so we took their lands instead.
Not to mention, a lot of their lives. Well, that was all in the past. We can’t afford to be idealistic, can we? So here’s a solution that is both practically and philosophically sound:
We admit every one of these kids, except maybe the few who really are bad actors; any group of thousands of people is bound to have a few. Then we feed and educate them …
Under one condition. These new Americans agree to go and live in Detroit for a minimum of 10 years.
Every study I know shows that immigrants are the most industrious workers and vigorous job creators there are.
When it comes to Motown, white Americans and black Americans have both dropped the ball, big-time. Here’s to letting a bunch of eager and grateful Latin Americans have a try.
Who knows, they may even eventually find some honest work for an unemployed plasterer or two from the sticks.
That is, once they are sure she doesn’t have any diseases.
Not so wild thing
Normally, nobody would care very much who the next Wayne County executive is, but this is a year like no other in history. Detroit, its largest city, is struggling to get out of bankruptcy, and Wayne, the state’s largest county, is struggling to avoid an emergency manager.
Making the right choice could be essential for the economic future of the entire region. Warren Evans, as I said here two weeks ago, is the odds-on favorite to win, and, in my opinion, probably the best candidate.
But I spent some last week with the man who is probably his strongest rival, Westland Mayor Bill Wild, and he has some thoughtful ideas about ethics policies and county budgets; he has been an excellent manager of his city’s resources. He eliminated an operating deficit and balanced Westland’s budgets through some excellent cost-cutting methods, merging departments and sharing services, and has never had a deficit, even in the depths of the recession.
Wild may not be ready to be county executive. He lacks higher education, and has no experience outside Wayne or Westland. But his financial savvy might make him an extremely good choice for a top administrative or cabinet post.