Friday, January 25, 2008

The Fierce Ants

Editor's Note:

Last week, I posted the now infamous story about how my wife accidentally wiped her butt with a lizard. This week, I decided to post the story that almost ran instead. Each week, I usually take one theme, build a couple of variations and decide at the last minute which mood or narrative I want to take. Last week, I decided to use Florida's wildlife as a metaphor for the alienation my family is feeling. I ultimately chose to go with a humorous (but very true) slant, but I also used the same wildlife to evoke a slightly different flavor. You can decide if I made the correct editorial decision. Or conversely, you could just decide that I'm a pretentious bastard. Do with it what you will.


Two weeks ago, my family and I moved to Florida from Virginia. I lived in Florida when I was a boy and we've visited many times in recent years, but I'd forgotten just how different Florida is. Take the lizards, for instance.

In Virginia, we didn't have lizards. In Florida, multi-colored lizards cling to a trees and windows just about everywhere you look. We didn't have fire ants in Virginia either - just the regular kind that don't bite.

Here in Florida, we see people demonstrating against illegal immigrants. There wasn't much of that in Virginia, really. We had illegal immigrants, for sure, but something is different about the immigration issue in Florida. In our new town, protesters picket the building where illegal immigrants, mostly Guatemalan, gather to get day work. Most of the protesters carry signs and a few carry video cameras so they can film the employers who hire the illegal immigrants.

I saw a video on YouTube where one protester actually filmed the license plate of an employer and told him that he could find the video on an immigration enforcement Web site. Eventually, the person being filmed physically confronted the guy with the camera.

It's not just the ants that bite in Florida.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are a country of immigrants - any immigrant working to make a better life is deserving of a chance in this country.

My concern is not that immigrants have come here to work but that globally instead of looking for more cost effective and worker sensitive means of manufaturing and fabrication corporations look to reduce labor costs by seeking out labor markets where you can get more for your dollar than in other markets.

Equalization globally of labor rates would eliminate the outsourcing of jobs and factories to people and countries willing to work for less than humane wages due to their circumstances.

This is not to say that the person who can do in 10 hours what another can or will do in 20 is of equal value. You would either pay the faster worker more or hire only the best producers of a task to improve a company's bottom line rather than seek out to hire those that the corporation can take the greatest advantage of.