A Mexican Response to Arnold Schwarzenegger
Originally published 10/29/04. To view this article in the context in which it was originally published click here.
At the Democratic Convention of 2004 Bill Clinton gave a great speech. Several weeks later at the Republican Convention Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a great speech. I commented this to a co-worker and that perhaps he topped Clinton. He gave me a shocked and horrified look. And silence. I was only commenting on the delivery and the effect it had on the audience, not necessarily the logical content. So I proceeded to write my own megalomaniacal speech.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capital Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Congratulations on delivering the greatest political speech I have ever seen. Undoubtedly you can become President. One day, the scrawny boy from an Austrian farming village who came here with empty pockets and a dream, who did not learn to speak English until his 20’s, may actually be receiving the nomination of the Republican party for the Presidency of the United States of America! The greatest country in the world!(Applause!).
Of course, I realize that one must be a natural born citizen to become President. Surely, you are encouraged by the fact that lawmakers from both parties favor amending the constitution to allow foreign born Americans to become President. You are so charming and electrifying I am sure that overwhelming numbers of lawmakers and American citizens will be willing to amend the constitution just for you!(More applause, but a bit more subdued).
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning. Why are you always lying about yourself? You know, “I came here with empty pockets and a dream.” You never miss an opportunity to mythologize yourself in such a manner. In the gubernatorial debate you expressed this. In your role as executive editor of Muscle and Fitness magazine you wrote, “I came from Austria with almost nothing except a few personal belongings and a dream to make my mark in the world of bodybuilding.” In your recent speech at the RNC you declared, “I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams.” And you had a gleam in your eye when you said it.
Yet, according to your authorized biographies, you had already won the professional Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest before you ever came to America. You arrived with an invitation and an endorsement contract from Joe Weider which provided you with an apartment, a car, financial compensation, access to nutritional supplements, and bodybuilding equipment. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people, from within the U.S. and without, move to the same metropolitan area(Los Angeles) where you arrived. I seriously doubt that the vast majority of them would go around saying that they arrived here with “empty pockets and a dream” if they had similar circumstances to yours. You went even further during the gubernatorial debate. You said, “When I came over here to California, I had absolutely nothing. I had just one thing, which was a dream.”
Is life not a dream within a dream? I do recognize the relativism of the situation. What does “empty pockets and a dream“ really mean anyway. What is the true meaning of absolutely nothing? There are lies and then there are LIES. It’s not like you said, “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” Perhaps we can refer to what you’ve said as prevarication.
Regarding George Bush Jr., I lament for his soul. He brings to mind Revelations 21:8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
It is incumbent for George Bush Jr. to repent, lest he suffer the most severe of condemnations. I believe that you are still capable of achieving grace in God’s eyes. You just need to go to confession. Or apply yourself to your biblical studies. Or burn incense. Whatever it is you do in your religion. Do more of it. Make God the center of your life. (Polite applause).
To my brethren who may think otherwise, I say, there is no way that you can be a racist. Even though in the past you have supported racist legislation. You are much too egotistical to be a racist. You love yourself too much. A person as full of self love as you are, is in a perpetual state of bliss which does not allow him to act or even think in a harmful manner towards others. You embody an essential teaching of all the great religions of the world, expressed by Christianity as, “Love thy neighbor,” because love of others presupposes love for oneself. You are right to praise the police, the firefighters, the nurses, the doctors, and the teachers, because the professional organizations of all these people expressed their opposition to the aforementioned racist legislation, Proposition 187, in 1994. Racist because it would have capriciously subjected a group of people to inhumane treatment. Racist also because the arguments in favor of the proposition were based on lies. Apart from this, it violated the laws of our country as embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps you were suffering from a temporary lapse of immense love for yourself because you voted to deny prenatal healthcare to pregnant women and to kick an estimated hundreds of thousands of children out of school, many of them American citizens, and the majority of Mexican ancestry.
Today such behavior on your part is inconceivable. Immigration is a subject you stay very far away from. And you will not even use words such as “illegal immigrant.” Has anybody ever heard you use such a term? During the gubernatorial debate the candidates were asked a very pointed question. How much money should the state of California spend on the healthcare for the children of illegal immigrants? Here is how you answered.
“Well first of all, I think it is important that we take care of our children. We have to make sure that every child in California is insured. That is the most important thing. I'm very passionate about children's issues. I think we have to take care of our children and we have to take care of our seniors. This is very important because they cannot fend for themselves. The children, we have a healthy family program here in California, and it is a very, very good program. It’s supposed to be to insure people to get healthcare for children and also for their parents if they’re low income people. The only problem with the program right now is that only two-thirds of the people that are eligible are not having the healthcare(sic). And because the government has not done a good job in reaching out and finding the people and letting them know to sign up and find easy ways for them to sign up. Two-thirds of the people that are eligible do not have the healthcare and that is really terrible. If I become governor here I would immediately go out there and promote it. Promote and market it and get it out so everyone knows about it and every one signs up because we must insure our families, the low-income families, especially the children.”
When the question was asked, I immediately thought of Cruz Bustamante. The chubby, laid back Mexican in the race. Most illegal immigrants are Mexican. The moderator said, “Who wants to go?” Cruz in his soft spoken manner said, “I’ll go. Sure, I’d be more than happy to deal with that particular issue,” and proceeded to answer the question. What he should have said was, “I think you should go first Arnold.”
It is encouraging that you maintain a philosophical difference between yourself and the rabid anti-immigrant lunatics such as Pete Wilson who was your campaign director and is one of your chief advisors. Perhaps you can bring him over to our side. I’m sure that we can convince him as well as legions of your supporters, that allowing illegal immigrants to legally drive is a good idea. Your spokespeople, such as Luis Vega, have expressed that you are not against the idea of illegal immigrants driving legally. You have your security concerns. Quite a difference of position from that of your base of support which is, “Illegal immigrants don’t deserve a license.” Such a position would render you unelectable. However, the view of law enforcement, including LAPD chief William Bratton, is that allowing illegal immigrants to legally drive is a good idea. They don’t have the security concerns which you have.
Illegal immigrants are in violation of the federal government’s laws, as are the people who employ them. Let’s keep this in perspective. Illegal immigrants are in obedience to economic laws which results in a mutually beneficial economic relationship between native residents and themselves. In the process they sustain the most lucrative, most productive agricultural economy on the planet. Agriculture is the foundation of the economy of California. It is not hyperbole to state that the labor of illegal immigrants sustains California, not just because of their involvement in agriculture, but numerous other industries as well. The distinction that many people make between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants in economic terms, the former being beneficial and the latter being detrimental, is ridiculous.
Perhaps, illegal immigrants shouldn’t be sustaining the economy of California. But since they are, perhaps the people who work for its ports where billions of dollars of California’s agricultural products are shipped every year should say thank you. So should restaurant owners in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. And let’s not forget about restaurant owners in Santa Monica. As well as the owners and workers of grocery stores. How about the financial institutions that extend credit to growers and sell insurance to them. The companies that manufacture farm equipment. The companies that manufacture chemicals that are sprayed on fruits and vegetables. The trucking industry that transports agricultural products. How about the oil industry that sells the gasoline that fuels the trucks that carry the produce that was cultivated and harvested by illegal immigrants. How about the growers themselves who depend on illegal Mexican immigrants, and have been doing so for decades. How about the average citizen who economically benefits from the labor of illegal immigrants, knowingly or unknowingly.
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