Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Les Rues de Feu (The Streets of Fire)

Special thanks to The Indigent Blogger for inviting me to participate on Vagabondia. I hope you find my writing interesting, but more importantly I hope you find it thought provoking.

The past few days I find myself intrigued with the events going on in France. I don't watch much network news on television or read the New York Times, so I don't know how the mainstream media is covering these events. But gauging by the conversations I have with people, I don't suspect it is getting as much coverage as a Hurricane Katrina or 2000 deaths in Iraq. You can always tell what the big stories are by listening to what people are talking about, and right now people aren't talking about Paris burning. It is getting coverage, but not interest. And I get the impression that when the riots end, they will be forgotten within two days.

I'm curious why this isn't foremost on our minds. Although I was in grade school at the time, I vividly remember the LA riots because they led the headlines for weeks. It was a sexy story of injustice and racism. It was an abuse of power. It was black America versus white America. It was David versus Goliath. The media eats up stories like this. America eats up stories like this. So what gives with the Paris riots?

I must admit, at first glance there is an urge to snicker at our French friends. They claim to be much more enlightened and cultured than us. So to see them struggle with racial issues is kind of like seeing the perfect married couple next door throwing the pots and pans at each other. But before we go having a good laugh at the expense of our dear "allies", we should keep in mind that we may be looking at glimpse of America 30 years from now.

For years now Muslims have been flooding into Europe, and in particular France. I have seen estimates that millions of Muslims have moved to France in the past decade. And France has welcomed them with open arms. France believes that trying to accept Muslims will result in understanding by both sides. They believe this understanding will lead to peace and stability, something all Europeans crave ever since World War II. That is their goal.

But here in America we have different goals. While we also seek peace and stability, ultimately the average American first seeks prosperity. Let's face it, what kinds are sacrifices are you being forced to endure in order to support the war effort? Unless you are in the military, not much. There is no gasoline rationing. No calls to recycle rubber and tin. The average American has not been affected at all by this war. Back during the election the polls indicated the economy was equally important as the war. The average American cares about having a good job, a nice house, a nice car, taking nice vacations, and having lots of Christmas presents under the tree. That's what's important to us.

As America grows in prosperity, the gap between the rich and poor is growing in step. As more Americans get out of poverty and enter the middle class, a vacuum is created at the bottom of the job chain. Middle class Americans don't want to take the $5/hr jobs that Walmart and McDonalds offer. They don't want to break their backs mowing lawns and cleaning toilets. But many immigrants are willing to do those jobs because they still represent a better life than having no job back home.

Like Muslims flooding into France, America is experiencing a wave of immigration from Latin America. Official estimates say millions of people live and work in this country illegally. These immigrants, also known as "guest workers" as politicians have taken to calling them, are willing to take the bottom of the barrel jobs most middle class American workers aren't willing to do. And they don't complain one bit because they are just happy to be in this country and supporting their families.

While these immigrants are thankful for the opportunities America gives them, I suspect the next generation will be a different story. What this generation views as opportunity, the next generation will view as oppression. Those born in this country will begin to ask themselves why they are sweeping floors and digging ditches for less than minimum wage and no health insurance while their white peers work in air conditioned offices making ten times what they do. While their parents look at white America and see people who need services, the next generation will only see people who seek to shut them out of the American dream. They will ask themselves why schools in their neighborhoods don't have the resources that schools in white neighborhoods do. Multiculturalism will soon breed a sense of injustice. And when that happens the streets of Paris will come to America. Viva la France.


Blogger blogawakening said...

France's unemployment rate is through the roof. It's hard to predict that far in advance, but I don't see it getting that high in this country. I wonder what the state of France's economy was when Muslim immigrants were flooding into the country as Latin Americans are in this country? Also, American immigrants have the opportunity to make it to the top in this country if they work hard and get an education and stay out of trouble, were French immigrants offered that same opportunity 20 to 30 years ago?

3:37 AM  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

Great post! Very thoughtful. You're right, the news is hardly covering the Paris riots. I wish they would do a better job so I could understand in more detail what's causing the riots.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Simple American said...

I don't think Latinos are recieving the same message of hatred in the Catholic Church, that the Muslim radicals are getting from the Imans.

But this still should call to Washington's attention that the borders must be closed. Otherwise we are susceptible to possible class conflict.

7:58 AM  
Blogger AlanK said...

One possible reason that riots in france not being covered as much, could be that simple reason people dont care as it is not in USA eg katrina or involving USA eg Iraq

although different here in UK as france right next door

could always take it as a sign that people instinctively know that the riots in france will have no effect as it is basically powerless to effect world in general

while usa is important and interesting as it is the main world superpower and has a role as world leader in a sense

8:35 PM  
Blogger The Indigent Blogger said...

Alan makes a very good point. U.S. media corporations are trying to break into the European and Asian markets with breathless reports of America's debasement and demise.

French rioters do not fit that marketing model. Neither French troops killing civilians in Ivory Coast nor France's failure to meet their Kyoto targets at any time is newsworthy for these expansion hungry media corporations.

9:19 PM  

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