My Morning at the Tailor's

Thursday, May 6, 2010 11:08 AM

My tailor is just one shade lighter than Obama. He is from the Dominican Republic, and speaks Spanish most of the time, when he's not speaking to me. He's a very hard-working, legal immigrant who loves baseball, fishing and photography. He's up on current events, because his TV is turned on all day at work. So we exchange information about photography and current events. He was dead set against Obama from the start.

I knew Obama had a real shot. Therefore, I was hoping that Obama might be just fine, a breath of fresh air, a nice transition from the excruciating, malfeasant co-presidency of G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. I had an open mind on the subject. My tailor did not. He felt that Obama would be a disaster, and told me so in no uncertain terms.  Now he likes to greet me when I walk into his shop, "Hey Obama!" My retort: "My name ain't Obama!" His response, "I told you so!" My follow-up, "Yes, I know, you did!"

Today we started talking about the illegal immigration issue and Arizona. He brought it up out of the blue. "What do you think of the demonstrations?" Frankly, I was not sure on which side of this polarizing issue my tailor would be. He's so unpredictable and perspicacious. I told him what I thought: "The demonstrations are shocking." He gave me a sad look and shook his head, "This is ridiculous. You walk into a man's home--and then you are entitled to do whatever you want? What are they thinking?” Then he smiled, “It's disgusting! And it is all about the votes!" As you can imagine, I tend to learn a great deal more from my tailor than I do from watching television or even reading the New York Times.

Right out of the boxour avuncular, unserious Peace Prize President blasted the state of Arizona because its legislature and governor passed a law to cope--to try to cope--with the immigration invasion from south of the border. True, this is primarily a federal matter, but Washington's politicians have punted on it for decades, out of deference to the Hispanic vote, to wit, out of sheer terror that one party or the other might lose a crucial handful of votes in some meaningless election.

(At this point in the history of mankind, all national U.S. elections are meaningless, because they have been reduced to entertainments which do little more than exchange one contingent of charlatans and con-men for another contingent of charlatans and con-men, most of whom are going to end up as fat cat Washington lobbyists at the end of the day.) 

So Arizona felt it had to do something to protect life, limb and private property. Comedian Jon Stewart and Cardinal Roger Mike Mahony of Los Angeles notwithstanding, is this so surprising? The new law has rightly been depicted as a desperation move. But the law itself is straightforward, simple, and unimaginative. It boils down to this: let's ask people for their identity papers to find out if they are legally inside the country. Whoa! What an outrageous concept, especially under the circumstances where the nearby international border is under siege and the Feds are AWOL thanks to the jackasses in office in Washington. Just amazing.

I can recall some years ago being in Geneva, Switzerland, with a friend from South America, a Harvard lawyer, who was working for the UN at the Palais des Nations. He was driving his rented car, which he had rented in France, because it was cheaper to rent there. All of a sudden, red lights are flashing and we are pulled over. I could not imagine what my friend had done. It turned out he had done nothing, except he had a foreign license plate on the car. The Swiss gendarmes were doing a spot check to see if our papers were in order. As a simple Americano, I asked what was going on, the matter-of-fact answer I got back from my friend and the cops: "Contrôle!" 

We were directed to get out of the car and show our passports, while the inside of the car was thoroughly examined, all of which I was told was more or less routine. Maybe Switzerland has lightened up in the meantime. In retrospect it makes sense, at least in a law-and-order enclave like Switzerland. Think about it this way. Whenever you go to another country, you go as a guest of that country. Do you not? You are there on sufferance, as it were. You should be on your best behavior. Right? You have no inherent right to be there. Do you? Accordingly, the authorities should have the ability to ask for your papers and passport, without all hell breaking loose. At least they do, or did, in Switzerland. 

But BarackO, a former law professor, pretends that such a basic concept is somehow wild, irresponsible, unfair and misguided. He snidely warned that he and his Justice Department would be closely monitoring Arizona. My question is, who is this guy and why is he lecturing us from some presumed, lofty moral high ground? In effect, Obama and Eric “I’m the guy who told Bill Clinton to pardon Marc Rich” Holder, our erratic Attorney General, are actually threatening Arizona because Arizona has had the nerve to want to enforce federal law. Ugh!  (Is it any wonder we now have violent demonstrations?) This is further proof of what a fraud and busybody the current occupant of the Oval Office is, which places him in the same playpen with his immediate predecessors--Bush Jr/Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, and Bush Sr. I have a soft spot for Ronald Reagan, so I give Reagan a pass. 

American immigration policy is a joke, and not an accidental joke, but a joke deliberately created and indulged in by all political parties. It is the result of fear, the fear of fourth-class politicians who are fixated upon the possibility that they might lose a portion of the Hispanic vote. Among other consequences, illegal immigration has destroyed California. It's gone. Incidentally, the same overriding political concern that has paralyzed American politicians from stopping, or just curbing slightly, illegal immigration also drives Washington's shameful, scandalous and incendiary Middle East policy. Think about it.

In both instances, Washington officialdom carefully maintains the cover story that these matters are complicated, highfalutin foreign policy and/or national security issues. In reality, immigration policy as well as U.S. Middle East policy both revolve almost entirely around the squalid quest by Congress and the White House to corral a voting bloc and, in the case of Israel's knee-jerk supporters/lobby, to attract in addition its considerable resources to the coffers of unscrupulous, careerist politicians. My tailor does acknowledge the self-serving and corrupt, domestic political connection between Israel and immigration, but he is some kind of Christian Zionist, so we have a slight disagreement on what the solution should be. I told you he was unpredictable.

--Copyright 2010 Patrick Foy--

[This article appears under a different title and slightly edited in Taki’s Magazine.]