middle brow | citizen how \ 8 sep 17 /

a different homo economicus.

ain't it funny how all this DACA lump is happening at the same time that hurricane irma is bearing down on america the bellyful? no? well, i think it is. speaking of bears, maybe just bear with me...

ok. so. piles and piles of people are appalled that donald trump has rescinded DACA, calling it unconstitutional. some background: DACA was a program that said, "if you were brought here as a child by your parents, we won't deport you". hopefully you can see why its revocation is appalling to so many people. (including churchgoers. for some reason they decided to listen to their gospel on this issue. goddess knows why. but i digress.) anyway. it's appalling because these kids were brought here through no will of their own. they didn't decide to up and cross the border illegally in search of a better life; their parents made that decision for them. their parents, in other words, forced them to break our border laws. 

and so the intelligent among us have gone intelligently to twitter and facebook and cnn and newsletter and have intelligently made the admittedly intelligent points that: DACA recipients pay taxes; they start companies; they get married and have children; they aren't allowed to receive welfare; they commit crimes at a much lower rate than the rest of the population. in other words: they benefit our country so much! and we're turning our backs on them!

and like i said: this is an intelligent point that must be made time and time again. especially to moderates and republicans. because folks in those parties understand the world most readily through economic-citizen-colored raybans. i.e., folks who live within their means, pay taxes, obey laws, cut their grass twice a month, stay off welfare and otherwise contribute to society are good. are american. and thus are america. why would anyone want to deport someone who makes america great?!

but that's the fat. here's the funny.

consider: two weeks ago. hurricane harvey had houston in its crosshairs. the whole country was prepared for massive devastation of our fourth largest city. and the devastation, we knew from katrina and sandy, would be indiscriminate. 

imagine hearing the following on the news. or seeing it on twitter, in that context: "oh lord of light and sound! how terrible that those poor houstonians are about to be crushed by hurricane harvey! it really couldn't happen to better people. please spare them! they don't deserve to lose their homes! they don't deserve to lose friends and neighbors! they don't deserve to lose their farms! and mechanics garages! they don't deserve to lose their schools and churches! and small, socially-conscious craft breweries! they don't deserve to be forced to flee to another city. and to live there for an indeterminate length of time. on a mattress. in some gymnasium. because. becausebecause... they obey laws at a higher rate than the rest of the country! they don't dip into the federal purse! oh lord! these are good people who start businesses and contribute to society! and so it would be beyond cruel if their 10-year-old dogs drowned in a rainflood! please spare them. because, above all, they pay taxes. for that reason alone is sufficient to spare their lives and livings."

if you're a DACA recipient, this must be what all the intelligents sound like. hurricane trump is coming for them. without discrimination. and they could be lasso'd up by his ICE agents at any moment. in front of their child. or their girlfriend's family. and they'll go straight to jail and never see their girlfriend again. or their bed again. or their home. or their bike. or their guitar. or their favorite ice cream spoon. or that street with all the apricot trees on it. or the lake at 5am on a cold winter morning. and they'll be sent soon from jail to some foreign country. to live with some distant family members who speak a different language from their natural tongue. their life is over. as they know it. for no reason that's justifiable to any conscience human being. because they did not break any laws of their own volition. 

hurricane trump is coming for them. and we're defending them by referencing their economic and societal value. how about their humanity?

remember when you were in college and you were dating a really cute girl and she was really mysterious and funny and had dark eyes and careless hair and she was fashionably sensitive but too cool to care? and you were flipped-up in love with her. and you guys were both looking for your first jobs in the same town and you were really excited 'cuz you were gonna keep your relationship going but you were also kinda nervous about her getting a job with this pharmaceutical company because you knew she'd be going on sales calls with really charming, witty dudes in minneapolis and she'd be meeting doctors and taking them out to dinner and the wit-charm of her co-worker luke or the money and intellectual heft of her customer dr howard would eventually slay her silly and she'd end up getting drunk and having wild sex in a sheraton with him or him and then she'd pretend it never happened but then 4 months later she'd cross paths with luke again in grand rapids and the same thing would happen and then slowly but surely it'd become a practice for her like meditation or yoga or avocado toast and she'd be sleeping with all these amazing dudes while you were still working on story number one in your short story collection and also on the customer service desk at CDW in skokie with roseanne? remember that? how certain you were that you'd lose her? that your life would never be the same? that you'd never recover? that you've never find your true love and you'd end up settling for someone half as good as her and you wouldn't think your kids were cute or even that interesting?

yeah. you remember that. unless you are now or ever have been or ever will be an undocumented immigrant. in which case you remember much less trivial things.


"quotes" generally bug me. but i'll leave you with one that's stuck over the years:

"[some humans] were well known for their disposition to provide help in emergencies. this disposition went to the heart of their conception of society, as a duty-bound relation between strangers. their charitable behavior was a way of emphasizing that strangers are just as important as friends -- because all of us, in the end, are nobodies. by devoting yourself to the distressed stranger you make it clear that you too are a stranger in this world. you reaffirm the distance between yourself and others, by showing that the motive that binds you to society is one of impartial justice and objective duty. the charitable relief of strangers was simply another aspect of [human] reserve."