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Me, I generally get a little cranky amid the festival of national self-congratulation and consumerism that is the Fourth of July.

So an hour ago, I lost it. I had posted a perfectly innocuous little "status" on Facebook about how, when we read about grownups launching attacks on young kids on buses, it's never radicals or liberals doing it, it's always reactionaries. White reactionaries doing it to kids of color, to be exact, whether in Lamar, SC during the Civil Rights Movement, Southie in the '70s or Murrieta, CA this week.

A young woman "friend," whom I actually rather like, tried to argue that this time it's different:

I think there is some racism, but most of it has to do with the undocumented status of the people and the fact that they keep on coming with no repercussion.
My dad was an immigrant and he did it legally. So should everyone.
Like you, I've heard that a time or two too many, so I went into rant mode.

I call bullshit. Not on your father, about whom I know nothing. But permit me to point something out about an awful lot of those forebears said to have "come here legally." Actually, they didn't. They lied under oath and they lied like rugs--about having family here, and job offers, about clean records and no medical issues back home, about their religious and political views, about what fucking country they were from, about the fact that the documents they proffered had been purchased from forgers in Rotterdam or Pireaus the week before they embarked.
They might not have been caught, but that doesn't make them any different from the guys mopping the floors tonight, down at the local mall. Then, lest there be any unclarity, I went on:
And don't get me wrong. that's a good thing. The US is way more interesting and maybe even more progressive than it would have been had they all been caught and turned back, even if too many of them did produce future generations of standard white americans.
I'm a union guy, for instance, and I'm glad all those IRA fighters got away and slipped into the US after the traitors who sold out the patriot game won the civil war in Ireland in 1923. Many got jobs in the NY subways and went on to become the core (along with some good old US-born Reds) of the organizing drive that created the Transport Workers Union.

I closed with a devout wish that every one of those kids stays here, in the most diverse and cosmopolitan country the world has known so far, and a pledge to do what I can to insure that hate-filled cries of "Go back where you came from" are not the only white voices they hear as they grow up.

Happy Fourth, I guess.

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