Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tea Party and CA Quality of Life Issues

When tea party folks speak out at an AARP meeting they are called "seniors". When they speak at a tea party meeting they are called "old white people". Oops. Is my Eurpean heritage showing? Oh, my, I have to cover that up.

There is much to be learned about the issues and concerns being raised by the tea party without taking the emotion as the same as the substantive concerns. Quality of life issues are becoming more important in the political arena. And political parties would do better to address them. San Francisco is a sanctuary city that has displaced its African-American population. Violence continues to plague the Bay Area and ethnic conflicts are increasingly seen as the cause. Just recently the Asian community made a visible presence at the Board of Superviors about the assaults on their elderly. Public schools in the city have experienced "white flight" due to their dysfunctionality.

Although immigrants are provided with sanctuary in some CA cities, immigrants often remain trapped in the drug subeconomy or the lowest paid jobs, due partly because there is no capability of integrating them and no transition based on their skill sets.

How does one address a migration which goes beyond the carrying capacity of resources and public infrastructure? Teaching has become a field for Teach America and AmeriCorps kids, so Spanish speaking children do not have the needed content instruction in Spanish nor the qualified ESL teachers to make the transition to English. People pitch tent cities in Fresno and Sacramento as homelessness takes a significant leap in its quantitative character. Water resources have become a regular urban vs. rural (Northern CA vs. southern CA) conflict as demand increases and overpopulation expand urban needs in the Central Valley and southern California. Again, quality of life issues.

Denying the problems is not the same as providing solutions to real concerns. Marginalizing people and ridiculing them allows public officials from ever addressing what people are trying to say and projects the Dem-Repug conflict as if it had real substance in the policy arena. That is my problem with the Arizona boycott that has such a following with municipal leaders in L.A., San Jose and San Francisco. It's easier to point to Arizona than for them to address the real impacts in their own cities. Posturing- it's the favorite pastime of the Urban Democratic Machine and enables them from addressing the consequences of their actions.

Greens need to be much more cognizant of the political manipulations of the duopoly. Repugs are trying to assimilate the tea party and align it with their corporate base. Dems are trying to discredit the tea party to mobilize their urban bases despite the rampant injustice that pervades urban communities. Greens can address the issues of concern raised by the tea party without promoting the ethnic divisions that certain leaders of the duopoly are using for their own gain. We don't need to try and make them into a "Green" tea party. But it is worth our while to listen to what they are trying to say.

Population is a Green concern. Social services and public education are Green concerns. Equal justice is a Green concern. Political representation is a Green concern. Let's demand accountability of public officials right where we are. Let's oppose laws that racially profile. Let's organize as if the people in America are not enemies to be feared but have something substantive to say that we need to listen to. And let's show people that real leadership means formulating sound policies that are just and deal with peoples' concerns. We are all Americans and our fate is intertwined.


Anonymous said...

Call them what they are illegal immigrants.They do not wish to integrate. Look at all the little subcities in SOCAL where Spainish is the primary language or only language spoken. Look at the signs on the retail locations.They have no rights to work here or be here. They need to wait their turn in line like the legal immigrants we alow in this country.

Alex Walker said...

This is a thoughtful and even courageous POST by Wes Rolley. It is instructive that the only comment is from somebody insisting that we "call them illegal immigrants" while raging against "little subcities in SOCAL where Spanish is the primary language spoken.

Why do some people have this thing about using that ugly phrase? No human being is "illegal" and that damned border is nothing but a line on a piece of paper.

Unfortunately, the whole question has been framed in this way... by racist Republican so-called "conservatives" (anybody in the Bay Area remember when Steve Poizner was supposed to be a "nice" moderate Republican?).

Mr. "Anonymous" is not against immigration. Mr. "Anonymous" is anti-Mexican.

The challenge for those of us who believe in a politics independent of the sick and corrupted race-based Republican "Conservative" versus Democrat "Liberal" politics is to "re-frame" the question in a new way. Even though I am a person of color and I hate racism, I am open to discussing the issue, but only the real issue. Republican "Conservative" demagoguery means nothing to me.

Martin Zehr said...

Alex. This was my (Mato Ska) post not Wes's. The point "Anonymous makes is relevant in regards to the issues raised due to the influx of Spanish speakers. Anonymous is focused on the label but does raise the context in California. But fortunately reality holds back Anonymous's preferred options. Mass deportations is no solution and cannot be done. Neither can securing the border. These are goals that surpass the capacity needed to implement them and violate the ethical principles of all but the most barbaric societies. Remember in this context, the forced relocations of the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq.

As I said in the post, the capabilities to respond to this situation are not established and results in schools becoming warehouses.
"Teaching has become a field for Teach America and AmeriCorps kids, so Spanish speaking children do not have the needed content instruction in Spanish nor the qualified ESL teachers to make the transition to English." Failing both means an increasingly uneducated population. This is neither just nor equitable in its long-term consequences.

The immigration issue is focused on the number of people in this country who enter without any means of support. The subsequent impacts on matters of resource management, public education, fair employment practices, public health, public safety, exploitation of women and urban planning have over-reached the capabilities of local governmental entities. These are not simply the rhetorical flourishes of the Right, but are substantive policy matters that are obfuscated by the Urban Political Machines of the Democrats. The battlelines are drawn, but the solutions are not forthcoming. It is kabuki theatre at its best.

Surely this is something that Greens can grasp and engage in good civil dialogue. It is not courageous to do so. It is only a matter of being willing to say what others have been unwillingly or unable to say because of expediency or fear of verbal assaults or being called a racist.

This is the beginning of the discussion and not its summary. A lesson I learned in regional water planning is not to always presume the worst motivations to those I disagree with and look to learn from others with a variety of distinct needs and concerns that I have not previously recognized. Our individual perceptions may be a guide but it is our accumlation of knowledge from a variety of sources that are our ultimate strength in providing insight for formulating sound and just policies.

Anonymous said...

If the Green Party starts veering away from its firm stance in support of undocumented workers and people and the idea that 'no one is illegal', then I will leave immediately. The immigrants rights movement is one of the crucial civil rights struggles of our time. We have to uncompromisingly reject not only racism, but nationalism and nativism as well! Support for the boycott of Arizona and the racist and sickening policies and laws at work there is a must for the Green Party. The Republicans will scapegoat and brutalize immigrants right to their face. The Democrats will act as if they champion them while exploiting and brutalizing them. The Green Party must be committed to total solidarity with the immigrants rights movement. No one is illegal!

Anonymous said...

A great related read:

Should Climate Activists Support Limits on Immigration?

Anonymous said...

You made my morning with this post. :)

-- ms_xeno