For both of you wondering, I'm surviving a cancer diagnosis; when we come out the other side, we'll have a healthcare story to tell.
Today, however, there is a bit of porchside reminiscing with The Old One...my dad.
We got to talking about the whole Arizona situation, and the first thing he said was: "It's a scam."
Oh, you bet there's more...
Of course, I had to ask what he meant by this.
"See, the same people calling for all this are the same ones wanting to kill Social Security and welfare, so they make up this bullshit about how the money for this is going to illegals. That is a crock."
Like Mrs. Old One, I used to work at the local welfare office, so I had to agree; while there was some money set aside for illegals as a matter of public health (TB or other communicable diseases), very little went to illegals except by fraud, which our investigators kept to a near-zero minimum.
But I could not immediately see the connection that he was making. Aside from the fraud on the gullibility of the common citizen, what "scam" was he referring to?
"Look...illegals don't get squat. Either they're paid less than minimum wage, or they get deductions taken out that the employer pockets instead of reporting. And even if they get better than minimum, they don't dare apply with or for any grants or programs, because anyone looking into them is gonna find their papers as 'hinky'."
True enough; my best friend lost his wallet at Santa Cruz in California. Six months later, my friend, the medical doctor, got a call from a social worker in North Carolina wanting to know why he needed food stamps. And how did his Irish surname get attached to a heavily-accented Nicauraguan (obviously, he had never heard of the San Patricios)?
Then the IRS got involved. Five years later, they think they've got his Social Security and tax information fixed.
Still, I wasn't clear on what the Old One was proposing, so he took his dimwitted child down the path.
"When they get rid of the illegals and have to hire replacements, the businesses will say 'I can't pay minimum wage! I'll go bankrupt!', and so the government will make a slew of 'exemptions' so that they can stay in business."
But, that's crazy, I say...no one working minimum wage will jump ship to take one of these jobs. Businesses will have to pay more to get people to apply...right?
"You're not thinking like them," The Old One said with a chuckle.
"What the Conservatives are saying is that the illegals are taking jobs away from Americans, when they are really taking jobs no one else will. Their logic is that you remove the illegals, then Americans will be able to work, but notice that they never, ever say at what kind of payscale."
Suddenly, the logic of his thinking began creeping in on me...so I asked just exactly who it was he thought would fill the vacuum of the illegals.
"At first, its probably going to be prisoners; those are the people that no one will question working the fields. But then, they have to fill the jobs inside the cities, so the biggest pool of available labor is..."
Children. The homeless. Forced apprenticeships or internships.
"Now you get it. The one thing our society is missing is the permanent and institutionalized underclass which is not beholden to any structure. Child labor will be allowed first, then the homeless will be given the choice to work or lose their campsites, and when that is exhausted, we'll hire people for a cot and a meal with no money changing hands.
"It makes the perfect Conservative paradise!"
So how do we stop it?
"We can't unless we turn Arizona around. As much as I loathe Sharpton, he is correct...civil disobedience is the key."
How is that going to accomplish anything?
"Well...they haven't repealed Miranda yet, try as they might, so we need to use that against them in a civil manner. The law requires you to identify yourself to an officer when they have probable cause, right?"
Well, yes, I said, though "probable cause" is vague of and by itself.
"True, but that's it. You are not required to tell him where you were, where you are going...you aren't even required to take a roadside sobriety test, though you'll likely lose your license for it."
So what should be done?
"Simple...give them your name and your ID as required by common law. When they ask for anything more, say 'I refuse to answer without counsel as I am innocent until proven guilty and a citizen until proven not to be under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.' Easy, no?"
Will that work? Is that even legal?
"I don't know. All I can tell you is that unless the officer is a failed shaved head Green Beret wannabe, any intelligent officer will either send you on your way with a warning, or call for the shift supervisor rather than spend the next six or seven hours writing the report it will generate.
"At worst, you get shipped back to Sweden like Moroni was. Still, it's worth a try and should get the courts backed up real fast."
I sat back to digest this latest while he went in for more cheese dip, and I had to admit that while his logic may be a bit conspiratorial, it had that hint of truth to it, enough to start me to watching the rhetoric a bit more closely.
But his advice? I think that The Old One has nailed this:
I am innocent until proven to be guilty.
I am a citizen until proven not to be.
Let's see if we can put this to use, shall we?
The Old One is a Korean War vet who was barely a teenager during WW2,but made the extra money for pop, movies and funny books working the fields with the braceros. He came out of Korea with a passel of skills, was a Union man through several employers as he went from machinist to detective in a police force, all to provide for his family. Alas, it was his gardening skills that did him in and forced him to retire early...a story involving a dog, a tree branch, a pair of pants and a hot shower that I'll tell...someday.