Granny D's comments from DFest

From: Nancy Tobi <nancy_dot_tobi_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Tue Jun 12 2007 - 22:18:32 CDT

See Granny D here: http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/4190

Granny D's comments from DemocracyFest Thank you.

It is normally expected that, when given an opportunity to speak, I will
talk about campaign finance reform and, more specifically, about the public
financing of campaigns as a way of cutting the threads of the big-money
puppet show in Washington and in Concord.

But today I would like to talk about unauthorized immigration.

Of course, unauthorized immigration has nothing to do with the big money
corruption of our political system. It is just a matter of people in poor
countries trying their best to find their way to better opportunities in the
north for their families.

It seems to be a big issue with our Republican candidates, as they are
well-known to be the law and order party. That, after all, is why they are
demanding that Scooter Libby pay the full price for his perjuries and
obstructions of justice. They are the law and order party, with the normal
exceptions of the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Constitution, especially
its Bill of Rights. But we know what they mean: When they say they are for
law and order, they are talking mostly about keeping down the uppity poor
folk. They are certainly not talking about the big corporations, hotel
companies, agribusiness giants, retailers who employ millions of
unauthorized immigrants but who make up for that sin with large campaign
donations.

But I do not come to talk about corrupting campaign donations and the need
for public campaign financing. I come to talk of unauthorized immigration
and a little about corn and something about tortillas. I call it
unauthorized immigration, not illegal, because I don't want to use words
that confuse Republicans.

In saying that the Republican candidates are more interested in the
immigration issue, I do not mean to imply that it is less important for any
of us.

If you will look around the check-out lines at the grocery stores and notice
the widening measurements of our fellow citizens –we can hardly get through
the aisles any more. We can certainly see for ourselves the problem of
having too much cheap labor around to do all our yardwork and housework for
us. By my calculations, the roughly 3 billion pounds of extra weight now
being carried on the hips of working-age American citizens is roughly
equivalent to the combined weight of the unauthorized immigrants now in our
communities. The math is clear and persuasive. Cheap labor is bad for
every…body.

But why are so many people risking their lives to come into our country now?
When did this big rush begin?

It began when Mr. Clinton approved NAFTA – the North American Free Trade
Agreement, and when he militarized our southern border at the same time.
Prior to these combined actions, families crossed the border very commonly,
especially during harvest seasons. After harvest, they would go home to
Mexico or Central America because that's where they lived with their
families in quite happy communities.

When the border was militarized, it became to risky to go back and forth. So
they stayed.

Why did Mr. Clinton militarize the border? He did so because NAFTA was about
to pull out the rug from under Mexico's small family farms. We flooded
Mexico with cheap corn--exports that we subsidize to the tune of some $25
billion dollars a year by Congress to a handful of agribusiness giants. Of
course, I am not here to tell you why Congress does that, and what might be
done to stop it. But they do it, and Mexican family farmers cannot compete.
In the years since NAFTA was signed, half of Mexico's small farms have
failed. The only kind of farming that can now compete in Mexico is big
agribusiness, which does not employ many people. Tortillas in Mexico now
contain two-thirds imported corn, and they are three times as expensive at
retail level than before NAFTA. The people have less money, and the cost of
food is rising. We have done that. Our precious Senators and Congressmen and
their corporate cronies have done that raw and cruel exploitation in our
names.

The result of undermining Mexican farms, as Clinton expected, was a rising
flood of poor people moving from rural areas into Mexico's big cities, which
have become so poor and overcrowded that all one can do is dream of going
north across the border.

Now, if any Democratic candidates for President would like to show a little
courage and intelligence, let them address the real cause of our flood of
unauthorized immigrants. Will Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama or Mr. Edwards or
any of the other candidates face down the agri-gangsters that are behind
this problem? Probably they will not, so long as Iowa has a major primary.

Let me say that I am not ranting and raving about these new Americans. When
Mexico owned Texas and everything west, and when they cut off migration
across their borders, our people kept coming –crossing illegally in search
of opportunities for their families. When Mexico got upset by this, we
trumped-up false reasons for a war, and we illegally took those lands. So
let's not stand on any moral high ground.

The people coming across the border today, with the usual exceptions, are
family people with an incredible work ethic. Personally, I welcome them. I
congratulate them for their courage and their dedication to their families.
I want them to stay and become citizens, or, if some prefer, to return to
their homeland at a time when there is international justice and a decent
chance for their prosperity at home.

I regret what the political corruption of our system has done to their farms
and their communities back home. It is not the peoples' fault –it is the
fault of corrupt leaders of both parties. We must speak this truth to these
powerful people, even to those candidates that we otherwise admire.

So, candidates Clinton, Edwards, Obama and the rest: Do you understand the
reasons why immigration numbers are growing? Are you smart enough to
understand the situation? Are you brave enough to do something--to even say
something--about it? Or is the truth too big for you?

I ask you all to be good citizens and good Democrats. And that means to ask
the toughest questions so that the interests of the people –the people of
our nation and of the world –will be served. Isn't that what we're here for?

And do you see why I do not need to harp on campaign finance reform, to cut
the strings of the puppet show in Washington and in Concord that allows
these cruelties to continue? I didn't have to say a word about that, because
you understand it. You understand what must be done.

Thank you.

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Received on Sat Jun 30 23:17:02 2007

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