Alarming News

November 30, 2006

Welcome to Miami (in English this time)

My favorite person, in the whole world, is my brother. I never laugh as hard with anyone as I do with him. He gives me the best advice of all time. He’s so good at cutting through the bullshit that Dawn is planning to write a “Big Book of Ronnieisms”. He’s my bestest friend and even if we have little in common in terms of personality and interests, we are much the same person.

When my mom tells the story of how I was born, how she was in labor for a million hours, the horrible conditions of the hospital, how she was in a room with 4 other screaming women, how the nurse didn’t check on them for hours at a time, how she was given no medication at all, it’s always followed by a “and had we stayed in Russia, Ronnie would never have been born”.

This isn’t an abortion post, believe it or not. This is a “Tancredo has no idea what ‘Third World’ means and he ruins any cogent anti-illegal immigration arguments he makes by referring to Miami as such” post. But we’re going to take the long way around because Dawn Summers says I never tell stories on my blog anymore.

My father had spent his Soviet life looking at a map, wanting to go. There’s a photograph of him in his 20’s, arms crossed, bellbottoms and a wide-collared shirt, map behind him. The second he got freedom his life became seeing as much of the world as possible.

Our first trip, my mother, my father and I, was to Venezuela. I was 6 years old. Our first stop was Caracas. My parents tell stories about me swimming in the pool at the Caracas Hilton, content and happy. We spent a few days there before going to Canaima, the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”. It’s a beautiful place, red water, pink sand, waterfalls. In the nearby town, though, the people live in huts and we too stayed in a hut. It was dirt roads and poverty was painfully obvious to even my 6-year old eyes. I remember the kids playing in the dirt of their schoolyard, their school also a hut.

It was my first time somewhere that could be called “Third World” but it certainly wasn’t my last. Since that trip I’ve been to places on the Amazon river that don’t use currency. I’ve been to a city in Guatamala that smelled entirely of sewage. I’ve seen the barefoot children in Mexico selling chiclets to tourists. I’ve seen towns in the Dominican Republic where every woman was for sale.

So when Tancredo calls Miami a Third World Country, he just seems foolish. And, because I agree with him on much, I feel it makes me look foolish too. I’ve been to Miami over 10 times, I have seen it with other tourists and I have seen it with locals. It is one of America’s great cities and to call it Third World is an insult, and a misplaced one at that.

Furthermore, as Ari pointed out to me yesterday, Tancredo, or some other Congressman, would never get away with calling say, some parts of Kentucky or Mississippi “Third World”. Republicans would be outraged. But the fact that so many of you defended Tancredo in my comment section shows me there is no such outrage when the target is a city. And as a conservative city girl, I’m disappointed.

My final point is this: I don’t want to be like doofy Democrats who make Hitler-Bush comparisons. I like that Republicans generally put together thoughtful criticisms to defend our positions. Calling Miami “Third World” is a leak in his argument against illegal immigration. It shows a lack of understanding of the world situation and how good America actually has it. That’s all. That’s it.

Posted by Karol at 04:40 PM |
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Furthermore, as Ari pointed out to me yesterday, Tancredo, or some other Congressman, would never get away with calling say, some parts of Kentucky or Mississippi “Third World”.
Since we are telling stories: A few years ago I was in a hospital waiting room chatting with a chinese woman. There was a picture book we both started looking at. It was about a nun who worked in Africa (we thought) with naked little kids with swollen bellies. The nun was a nurse and delivered babies. Everything was dirt, shacks, kids with big bellies. We were both shocked by the poverty. When we get to the end of the book, I read that it was photographed in some rural county

Posted by: jay at November 30, 2006 at 5:27 pm

That’s my point though: illegal immigration is a real problem. When Tancredo calls a prosperous American city third world, he takes away from his illegal immigration argument. If he’s hysterical about Miami, perhaps he is also way overstating the illegal immigration case, goes the argument.

Posted by: Karol at November 30, 2006 at 5:53 pm

So, because there are really really rich and prosperous people in Miami, the really really poor, non english speaking people do not exist? Oh, I don’t think so. Frankly, I see the hysterical people as you and allah. You seem angry that the majority of commenters do not agree with you and you know it will have an adverse effect on your canidates. Too bad.

Posted by: jay at November 30, 2006 at 6:02 pm

I’m angry??!? What the…

Posted by: Karol at November 30, 2006 at 6:25 pm

fuck. Isn’t that what you are saying? WTF? You don’t think that sounds angry? That you are “disappointed” in those of us who defend Tancredo. That’s condenscending. You’re not “disappointed” you’re pissed off. Then you analogize us to “doofy Democrats who make Hitler-Bush comparisons.” Not exactly warm and fuzzy.
I’m not sure why there is this my way or I will ram it down your throat approach by you and others when it comes to immigration problems. But, it’s not working, it causes a lot of resentment, and it will have the opposite effect of whatever you and others are trying to achieve.

Posted by: jay at November 30, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I think the problem with Tancredo is that he’s a nattering nabob of nativism. Dealing with immigration is a serious concern, but Tancredo is a clown.

Posted by: Hubbard at November 30, 2006 at 7:06 pm


Posted by: nds at November 30, 2006 at 7:09 pm

There ya’ go, Karol. If dawn is cheering you on,you know you’re wrong!

Posted by: jay at November 30, 2006 at 7:24 pm

I’m angry??!?
Please don’t read this immigration piece.

Posted by: Wil at November 30, 2006 at 8:20 pm

Jay, Tancredo’s remarks make it less likely that something effective will be done about the illegal immigration / border security problems.
Even if you agree with the literal interpretation of his statement, the bottom line is Tancredo screwed the pooch.
And it happens to be your pooch.

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 1, 2006 at 9:36 am

OK, time to pick a nit. The third world has become idiomatically synonymous with the poor world, but technically speaking, it is comprised of the nations that neither aligned with the US or the USSR during the Cold War.
So, Tancredo’s criticism may not be that Miami is like Somalia so much as Miami is like Hungary (Monaco may be more apropos, but it is hard to tell if they are non-aligned or omni-aligned), a small, non-aligned nation surrounded by partisans.
You say that Miami is a great American city. What distinguishing characteristics make it a Great American City versus a Great City?

Posted by: David at December 1, 2006 at 9:47 am

Mark: I’ve been around long enough to know that neither party has the political will to do anything about illegal immigration. And please don’t come back with, “at least the repubs are better then the dems.” They aren’t. It’s all smoke, mirrors, and lip service. You say Tancredo screwed the pooch. I say both parties are screwing you.

Posted by: jay at December 1, 2006 at 9:59 am

Jay, I’m the last person to carry water for either Democrats or Republicans, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on the political process.
Tancredo screwed up, so he gets smacked upside the head. When Dems screw up, I do my feeble upside-the-head on them too.
I’m a Libertarian, but I’m not a Black Helicopter Libertarian. (Or a Larouchie, or a Farrakhaner – now there’s a funny picture for anyone who’s seen me – or any other flavor of paranoic.) The Omega Man was not an ahead-of-its-time documentary. Chill.

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 1, 2006 at 10:27 am

Hey, I can’t see Elgin anywhere on that list.

Posted by: Rowena at December 1, 2006 at 10:32 am

Mark: Chill yourself. Miami is just another city where other countries are illegally dumping their poor. You are the one that needs the slap on the side of the head for attacking Tancredo for calling it like it is.

Posted by: jay at December 1, 2006 at 10:54 am

Countries don’t “dump their poor” on anyone. (During the Cuban Boat Lift Castro did literally ship us a lot of criminals, but that’s a different story….)
In what we call the real world, a lot of poor people are eager to go where they have a shot at being not-so-poor. Many of them risk their lives for a chance to live 12-to-a-room in Miami (or Brooklyn, for that matter). Frankly, I admire the balls and initiative of the illegals, even though I think illegal immigration is a real problem for the United States.
Tancredo’s “truth-speaking”, on the other hand, is more likely to fire up the xenophobes and the paranoics than to actually produce a civilized solution. So if you’d really rather not see third-world conditions in the United States, you might try NOT supporting things that are precursors to vigilante solutions, m’kay? Or are you really up for the whole ethnic militia thing?

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 1, 2006 at 11:15 am

That’s right. Anyone who won’t roll over on the illegal immigration issue gets called a racist. Piss off.

Posted by: jay at December 1, 2006 at 11:23 am

Did I call you a racist? No. I’m saying that Tancredo’s remarks are likely to encourage racists, and that things that encourage racists are Bad Things.
But tell me, what would “not rolling over” on illegal immigration look like to you? Scatological snark aside, I’m curious.

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 1, 2006 at 11:48 am

Jay: You wrote, “I’ve been dealing with illegal immigration for more years than you have had life.”
And another: “Mark: I’ve been around long enough to know….”
You’re the condescending one, implying that with your advanced age you are smarter and more aware of the situation than Karol and those who agree with her.

Posted by: forlorn apple at December 1, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Jay, your comments here have essentially proved my point. You’re arguing with people who have the same position as you (and Tancredo) on illegal immigration. Tancredo’s comments were wrong and unhelpful. Taken to their natural conclusion (if Miami is Third World, how isn’t NY, Chicago, LA, etc), he was calling America a Third World country. I’m not ok with that.
(Controlling all that anger)

Posted by: Karol at December 1, 2006 at 1:24 pm

Sorry, apple, the fact is that I have been dealing with illegal immigration longer than Karol has been alive. Nothing changes.
And Karol, you and others are the one who are condescending and trying to brow beat people into the republican version of dealing with illegal immigration which is to lie to the voters. I haven’t been to Chicago for years but don’t even doubt that LA has been transformed into a thrid world dump.

Posted by: jay at December 1, 2006 at 2:23 pm

You… won’t… like… her… when… she’s… ANNNGRRYYYYY

Posted by: David at December 1, 2006 at 3:22 pm

Karol, for real. “Disappointed?” What are you, Kofi Annan?
Jay, while it may be up for debate whether you are coming off as condescending (and I’d argue you are), I think we can all agree that you’re coming off as a Grade A Douchebag. Lots of tard-tastic dipshits have lived longer than lots of others. That doesn’t make them right. By that argument Jimmy Carter is a genius. And your age (or your perceived experience) certainly doesn’t give you a right to act like an asshole.

Posted by: Ken at December 1, 2006 at 4:32 pm

Simply stating that you have been dealing with immigration longer than Karol has been alive is the ultimate in condescion. Besides, it’s a weak argument, the last ground held by someone with no ideas. It implies that your vast years of ‘experience’ make you a more reputable authority than someone who is intelligent yet younger. Alexander Hamilton was a mere lad compared to Benjamin Franklin at the founding of our country, but his age did not stop him from clearly seeing a problem and writing about it. I bet he wrote anonymously just so he didn’t have to hear, “I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been born.” I think you owe the nice lady an apology for being so rude to her.
Moreover, if you’ve been doing dealing with immigration as long as you say, and you’ve yet to correct the problem, then, Jay, you are part of the problem. Admit defeat, step aside, let new and likely more successful ideas come forward.

Posted by: forlorn apple at December 1, 2006 at 5:13 pm

condescension — you all knew what I meant to type.

Posted by: forlorn apple at December 1, 2006 at 5:15 pm

Somebody please create a Republican presidential candidate that doesn’t make me cringe.

Posted by: Michael Bates at December 2, 2006 at 12:48 am
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