Where is Woody Guthrie

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Where is Woody Guthrie

It was hot. And dry. The wind blew and a dust storm raged. People finally just started calling it a dust bowl. The Midwest was overwhelmed with drought, the country overwhelmed with depression.

People got tired. They got hungry. They got desperate. They could not feed their children. But they heard a story, a story of a promised land. A land where you just had to plant a seed and the next day you would be picking fruit. They called the land California.

So they packed up their belongings. They loaded the old truck. They took what they could. What they could not take they left behind. They were going to the promised land.

Some walked, some hitchhiked, some stole away on a train. They slept wherever, under bridges, in alleys, in rough encampments of others like themselves. They had hope. Their journey was long and fraught with danger. But they were proud people; not willing to give up easily. They continued on.

When they reached the border of the promised land they were met by border guards. No vagrants allowed. No money – no entry. Some struck out across the desert. There were other means of crossing the border. They could not give up the dream. They found California. They found despair.

There were too many of them. The landowners took advantage of the labor supply. They paid little for hard labor. But people had families to feed. There were no other jobs. They were camping out of town with the other immigrants. They had come from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Tennessee. They could not go home – there was no home. Only more despair.

They were immigrants. Immigrants to a new land. Immigrants seeking safety and security and hope for their families. Immigrants willing to work; willing to do the menial work the natives would not do. Immigrants who would do anything for their families. But alas, they found only despair.

These were not Hispanics, not Latinos, not Mexicans. They spoke the language. They were the same color. They sang and worshiped from the same hymnal. They swore an oath to the same nation – that one nation, under God. They found despair.

This was the great migration out of the dust bowl of the depression era 1930’s. Prosperous people then were not so different than prosperous people today. They did not have the excuse of national borders, of race, of language. They did not need excuses – only prosperity for themselves.

The immigration excuses we use today are just excuses. The despair of humanity is the same. The greed of the prosperous is the same. This country was built on the backs of immigrant labor. Anyone willing to work was welcome. Anyone willing to participate was welcome. This was and is the land of hopes and dreams. This is our country, yours and mine. We continue to be proud to be an American.

“This land was made for you and me.”

Where is Woody Guthrie?

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There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. There is a difference between Americans exercising their legal right to relocate within the US and with foreigners illegally entering our country, therefor there is a similar difference between the legality and ethics of those that try to stop such migrations. I can understand why the Californians tried to stop the dust bowlers, but it was wrong under law; stopping foreigners isn’t.

    I would say it would be better all around to just round up all the illegals who are here and deport them. Then close the borders much more securely. After that you can start work on reforming immigration laws. Remember that these illegals won’t be exploited by US criminals (read as employers of illegal aliens) if they come here legally.

    There’s also the humanitarian issues involved in letting them sneak into our country. As long as we tacitly allow it the foreigners have little or no incentive to work to fix the glaring problems in their homelands.

  2. Jonolan,

    You make good points – my intention is to try to keep a human face on this problem. We get focused on economics and statistics and we lose sight of the fact that we are talking about humans. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
    Ohg

  3. South Africa, 2007
    Overrun by illegals from Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique all the countries up north where life is unbearable under tribal rule.
    I digress.
    The people sneak into South Africa, one of the last apart from Namibia who in silence endures, to have the remnants of a once thriving economy. They come accross the borders in large numbers, reside in sub-suburbian slums of tin-huts and fire for heat. They work in illegal jobs, for sub-wages, but over there, those wages are far far less worth than what you find here. So what is left. Back in their home countries life is absurdly dangerous and the despair of hunger and seeing family members die daily is too much to bear.

    So now, having found their own promised land at the Southern tip of the continent, they still wallow in despair, but this time, what happens. CRIME! Horrendous Heinous crime. Robberies, car hijackings, murders, you name it, it’s on TODAY’s menu, in Every subburb. No questions, no apologies.

    You complain so much about the immigrants Jonolan, and I love that you do, because you give a sometimes contrary, sometimes complimentary viewpoint to my own, one that I can debate and if only you would respond we can continue. Between Mr. Ogh Rea Tone, you and everybody else, we have so many points of view. But lets remember that in comparison to other countries filled with illegal immigrants, The USA still has little in the ways of crime to show for their despair.

    And to make it clear. I am NOT opposed to the idea of rounding up illegals all over and holding a mass deportation ceremony with a huge party for their departure. Seriously.
    All the hell and high water that we’ve had to swim through to come here, and stay here LEGALLY, to never make mistakes and never work when we’re not allowed, and always to stay within the law … and then STILL having to jump through hoops for our visa… I too have my fair share of bitterness about this Jonolan.

  4. tandula,

    I freely admit that US immigration procedures are screwed up; it is very difficult for many immigrants to enter legally and far too easy for others to do so. In some job sectors legal immigrants are a larger threat than illegal ones – the tech sector for example.

    I’d like to see a ground up reform of immigration. I believe the first step has be removing the illegal immigrants that are here though, and then securing our borders better.

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