Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our bread and its butter

Two-hundred-plus kids sat on their buns in the gym for Wednesday's very special Thanksgiving festivities, and I couldn't help notice how dark the crowd really was.  I'd read them a story a little earlier--they were attentive and sweet as any second through fifth graders can ever be; but what was shocking, at least to me, was how many of those cute kids were Hispanic, and therefore, almost surely, illegal.  The principal told me just under 27%. 

When we moved to Iowa in 1976, if you're name was Wilson or Blake or Fredrickson, you were an alien.  The people who lived here were DeVrieses or Van Dykes.  More than 90%, I'm sure--were wooden shoes, Hollanders, and rest weren't much 'cause they weren't Dutch.  Today, the town where I live, whose population has doubled and more since then, is at least 1/3 Hispanic.  Where once there were gyms filed with kids were a sea of blonde heads, today it's all salt-and-pepper.

I don't claim to know as much about politics as Tim Albrecht, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad's chief of staff, but I think he's just plain loony about immigration.  Here's what he tweeted after the last Republican debate:  "Newt did himself significant harm tonight on immigration among caucus and primary voters."  Gingrich said, famously, that if people had put down roots here in this country, they shouldn't have to leave. 

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a more conservative county among Iowa's 99 than Sioux County, the place I live.  Most people here are proud social conservatives whose political vision is totally dominated by the murder of babies.  In 2008, when my grandson was a kindergartner, he crawled in my lap down here in the basement, and proudly proclaimed that Barack Obama, then but a candidate for President, was a baby-killer.  I don't think, back then, he knew what the word abortion meant.  Probably still doesn't.  What he knows by heart is that the word means murder.

Life can be difficult here for people who think contrary-wise--trust me.   More than once I got excoriated for voicing the possibility that there might be other issues than abortion on which to make a qualified decision in the 2008 election.  I don't think Obama has made any friends here since that time either.  I'm sure there are birthers galore here.  Whoever runs against him will take Sioux County--you can take that to the bank.  What I'm saying is my neighorhood is loaded with the kind of proud social conservatives who make the Iowa Caucuses the odd diving board it is for Presidential politics.

And I say, Tim Albrecht is flat wrong.  I don't know what happens in DesMoines or Davenport, but in my neighborhood, red-meat social conservatives didn't strike Newt off their list for what he said, because here people keep one hand on their pocketbooks when they talk politics.  People here know darn well that if some giant vacuum cleaner hovered over us and vacuumed up all the illegals, our blessed economy would tank in a minute.  Who's going to milk the cows?  Who's going to pack the meat?  Good night, who's going to do all the frickin' dirty work?

The fact is, people here depend on illegals, big time.  If Mitt wants to proudly maintain that the whole bunch ought to line up right now for a big bus trip south, he's not gaining ground with my dedicated Republican neighbors.  In fact, he may fall ungraciously from that meager 20% he somehow maintains.  We wouldn't be who we are without illegals--and right now we either lead the state or are coming in a close second in pork, beef, and milk production--not to mention chickens. 

Tim Albrecht may know Des Moines, but he doesn't know Siouxland's hard core conservatives, who know how it is their bread gets buttered.  Newt didn't hurt himself at all by showing some old-fashioned and much-repudiated heart.

Sunday, in church, a woman stood up and cried because her mother is dying, slowly, south of the border, and she can't be with her.  Can't because she knows if she'd go home once again, she couldn't get back north to a town where she and her family are members of church, where they have a house and jobs, where their kids go to school, where one daughter even goes to college.  She asked for prayers, for our prayers, because it was tough not being able to be with her mother on her death bed.

Tim Albrecht is wrong.  I don't think Newt hurt himself one little bit.  Not here anyway.  Not here, in the most Republican region of the entire state of Ioway. 


Dutchoven said...

The problem with politics...well is politics.

Those that have the desire "to serve" seldom actually are "servants." Playing to public consumption is just that- and who has known the public to consume everything correctly?

The "free press"- that is an oxymoron, you got to pay for the rags you read, produces politicians and also fuels public opinion- so if it plays good for the moment, "let err rip!"

Des Moines, and for that matter any part of Iowa- NW/NE/SW/SE(lived there and know) or the rest of the states in this union are a lot like NW Iowa- you have politicians, dups and newspaper publishers; the rest are servants- of some sort, legal or otherwise, thankful or otherwise; or in many cases- silent or otherwise.

Let the winds of politics blow, when it is over- people of color, or less fortunate will sweep the floors of the arenas, make the beds of where they slept, and smile politely when the deliver the food.

Not even the most strident of any of these politicians in the end truly become servants as those who surround them daily…they just want to become lobbyists and retire comfortably with others making them comfortable- illegal…or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what Jesus said, "Blessed are the rich for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"? Jesus never hung around with those other guys or went into their houses and ate their food with them. He really said nice things about those leaders in His Temple-Church. Keep up the good work brothers. Good Americans!

Anonymous said...

Schaap, you are right about us Iowans knowing how our bread gets buttered. You are right to be indignant about the denial of freedom to travel for the woman in Church. But how much good has Obama done for illegal immigrants? How is the Democratic record much different then the Republican record? (I said "record," not "rhetoric." The rhetoric is as different as donkeys are from elephants.)

Neither party has a very pretty record on this issue, so I vote the other issues--and the record is hardly any better there either.

Maybe a bit better I think to vote the "moral" issues, maybe not. What am I supposed to do? Is proper care and respect for pregnant women any less important that that for "illegals?" Thus I appreciate your indignation regarding immigration, but not your implied indignation for those who vote for the right to life when politicans put the two issues against each other. Thus you are right, Newt didn't hurt himself one bit here in Siouxland.

The outcomes on these issues usually reflect poorly on the citizens of the USA--that's us--who put these candidates up in the primaries. See ya at the primaries! I dare you to "read a story" there!