Single-File, Please!

After Diff'rent Strokes was canceled, The Bird gave up on sitcoms as a diversion. Fortunately, this squawker lives in Phoenix, where politicians provide almost endless yuks with their foolhardy antics, so who needs TV? The Bird's new laugh riot came from none other than Mayor Phil Gordon, who announced his deep distress following that big, noisy pro-immigration protest rally.

After he reportedly took heat from business owners who found their day disrupted by the 20,000 illegal alien demonstrators and their sympathizers who marched up 24th Street from McDowell Road to Camelback Road on March 24, our Phil issued a statement that he was "incredibly upset" that protest organizers had "trampled on the rights of others" by not obeying city laws and ordinances.

Phil stammered that the huge march -- which was headed for the office of Arizona U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, who's co-sponsoring legislation that would give illegal immigrants up to five years to leave the country -- endangered public safety and wrecked a whole lot of commerce by shutting down the stretch of North 24th Street.

Apparently, Phil was pissed because alleged shifty protest leaders told him that about 3,000 people would participate in the march. The mayor claimed they vowed that each of these 3,000 would stay on the sidewalks and not spill out into the street. When seven times that many marchers showed up and dared to step off the curbs, Phil went so nuts that certain city officials couldn't understand the babble that was coming out of his mouth (oh, wait a minute, even when he's calm and collected, nobody can understand much of what our tongue-tied municipal executive's trying to elucidate; most Mexican immigrants speak more coherent English)!

The Bird's view is that even the protest organizers were a little surprised at how many undocumented workers would hit the streets in outrage over nutball anti-immigration hypocrisy in this country. No more passive Mr. Nice Gardeners. Folks from below the border are rightly angry that they do a butt-load of dirty work in this country for slave wages and get nothing but grief.

The protest organizers appeared the next day on Channel 12's evening newscast saying they were offended by the mayor's accusations and demanding an apology from hizzoner. Phil's been stuttering some stuff since, which may have been that apology. Nobody can say for sure.

Since then, local Latino students have staged almost daily walkouts (at one high school in the East Valley, a Mexican flag was raised on the campus flagpole by Latino students and then taken down and burned by white students), and poor-slob business owners have been hogging call-in radio shows to bitch about how the big, bad 24th Street rally screwed up commerce for that entire afternoon.

Boo-hoo. The hilarious thing is, many of these bitchers (natch) are restaurant proprietors who employ illegal aliens in their kitchens. The Bird's saying, come on, have you ever peeked back into the kitchen of most any restaurant in the PHX and not seen a throng of workers who probably didn't have green cards? Any restaurateur in the tony 24th Street and Camelback area (where the protest march concluded) who can prove that he or she's never employed an illegal alien, please contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service for an instant inspection.

This is one reason all the outrage over the big march is so rib-splitting.

White-bread fools like to go around pretending that illegal aliens are taking away so many jobs from Americans, when Americans don't want 95 percent of the jobs that the mostly Mexicans do. For instance, sources in the Phoenix-area construction industry say that many projects would dry up here if only Americans could be employed. Many companies would go bankrupt if they had to pay higher wages to Americans, but that isn't even the larger problem. There simply aren't enough Americans interested in low-level construction jobs to keep many firms afloat.

The Bird's got to give President Bush props for insisting that any sweeping national anti-immigration legislation contain provisions for making undocumented workers who're already here legal, which would be a step toward admitting their contributions to our economy.

The Bird caught clean-cut Anderson Cooper's little CNN story about our lazy U.S. Border Patrol letting in all those illegal aliens who're clogging up our health-care system, etc. First off, the least we can do is give undocumented workers health care, since practically every upper-middle-class working homeowner with a yard and a messy house around here is exploiting Mexican labor. Hey, you Bill O'Reillys, imagine what it would cost you to employ Americans to do your shit work (provided you could find many who'd be willing).

Phil, your complaints are just plain stupid. Did you really expect illegal immigrant protesters to act like a bunch of subservient maids and quietly march single-file down the sidewalk during a rally against federal laws against them? You did, didn't you? But it was a freaking protest rally! Remember those? Remember when black people staged huge protest rallies? Now, another disadvantaged minority's complaining. Come on, think back, Mayor. You used to be a liberal with convictions before you turned into the worst kind of kiss-ass politician.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela