Tuesday, May 16, 2006


We all recall fondly the Saturday Night Live sketch "The Coneheads." In that brilliant sketch, the conical headed extra-terestrials replied to any queries about their pointy heads by saying "We're French." That cover story allowed them to live among us earthlings with ease. Claiming Frenchiness covered all their peculiarities. As I listened to President Bush offer his program for dealing with the illegal aliens last night, I could not help but think of the coneheads again. What if all the aliens coming across our borders illegally spoke French instead of Spanish? Would they then constitute such a problem to American nativists? I think not. So the thing to do is to get all the Mexicans who wish to work and settle in this country to learn French as soon as possible, indeed, make it a requirement before allowing them to sneak into our country. Set up emergency Berlitz launguage centers at our borders and begin the drill at once, from abaisser (to bring down) to zizanie (stir up ill feeling). Since both French and Spanish are romance languages sharing a common origin, it might be easier than building high fences, arming borders with electronic devices, and deploying the overworked, overstretched, National Guard to our borders. Think of the happy consequences.

As French speaking aliens, they cannot help but bring with them a whole new set of attitudes. Gone will be the hard working Mexican work ethic that troubles so many here. The warm smile is to be replaced by the superior sneer. No longer will these aliens be willing to work for sub-standard wages under dreadful conditions. Now, as French speaking Latins, they will demand higher pay, much shorter working hours, a month off in August, benefits up the kazoo, and if denied all this, go on strike and shut down our agro-business. Not for them to accept short term labor - they will demand lifetime job security - or riots in the streets. They, the noveau Hispano-French, will only accept a guest worker program that treats them like real guests - four hundred thread bed sheets- a spa - and a Godiva chocolate on the pillow at night. Failing to recieve such hospitality, they will return to their homes in Mexico and never darken our borders again.

Alas, this is not likely to happen. But there is a much simpler and less costly solution than any proposed by the President. Raising the minimum wage. Odd, how native Americans will flock to jobs that allow them to support their children and live decent lives. And some of this can be accomplished by raising that miniminum wage which now keeps so many Americans at the poverty level. Since the minium wage can only attract the most desperate workers from south of our border, raising it might manage to fill those service and agricultural jobs with American citizens. And while we are at it, a conversation with President Fox of Mexico should include more than reassurances that we are not trying to militarize our common border. It should include, "Vincente, how about working towards getting a living wage for your own people so they don't have to break our laws and live as outlaws north of the border."

The one area that Bush failed to address that hovered over his speech last night was the benefits that illegal workers provide for the agro-magnates and the Wallmart billionaires. It is not enough for Bush to exempt them from inheritance taxes and diminish their income taxes but he must provide them with cheap labor. This is his real financial base, those who support his party with enormous donations. They need the cheap undocumented labor, so everything else that Bush proposes is window dressing. That gets us back to the French. They are experts at dressing windows. Bush's proposals won't work because he doesn't want them to work, he simply makes them to appease his conservative nativist base, and only a conehead would fail to understand that.