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.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 5:37 AM