"Is life not a dream within a dream? I do recognize the relativism of the situation. What does “empty pockets and a dream“ really mean anyway. What is the true meaning of absolutely nothing? There are lies and then there are
A Mexican Response to Arnold Schwarzenegger
Posted October, 29, 2004
By: Francisco Frias
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger State Capital
Building Sacramento, CA 95814 phone: 916-445-2481 fax: 916-445-4633
Congratulations on delivering the greatest political speech I have ever seen. Undoubtedly you can become President. One day, the scrawny boy from an Austrian farming village who came here with empty pockets and a dream, who did not learn to speak English until his 20’s, may actually be receiving the nomination of the Republican party for the Presidency of the United States of America! The greatest country in the world!(Applause!).
Of course, I realize that one must be a natural born citizen to become President. Surely, you are encouraged by the fact that lawmakers from both parties favor amending the constitution to allow foreign born Americans to become President. You are so charming and electrifying I am sure that overwhelming numbers of lawmakers and American citizens will be willing to amend the constitution just for you!(More applause, but a bit more subdued).
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning. Why are you always lying about yourself? You know, “I came here with empty pockets and a dream.” You never miss an opportunity to mythologize yourself in such a manner. In the gubernatorial debate you expressed this. In your role as executive editor of Muscle and Fitness magazine you wrote, “I came from Austria with almost nothing except a few personal belongings and a dream to make my mark in the world of bodybuilding.” In your recent speech at the RNC you declared, “I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams.” And you had a gleam in your eye when you said it.
Yet, according to your authorized biographies, you had already won the professional Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest before you ever came to America. You arrived with an invitation and an endorsement contract from Joe Weider which provided you with an apartment, a car, financial compensation, access to nutritional supplements, and bodybuilding equipment. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people, from within the U.S. and without, move to the same metropolitan
area (Los Angeles) where you arrived. I seriously doubt that the vast majority of them would go around saying that they arrived here with “empty pockets and a dream” if they had similar circumstances to yours. You went even further during the gubernatorial debate. You said, “When I came over here to California, I had absolutely nothing. I had just one thing, which was a dream.”
Is life not a dream within a dream? I do recognize the relativism of the situation. What does “empty pockets and a dream“ really mean anyway. What is the true meaning of absolutely nothing? There are lies and then there are LIES. It’s not like you said, “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” Perhaps we can refer to what you’ve said as prevarication.
Regarding George Bush Jr., I lament for his soul. He brings to mind Revelations 21:8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
It is incumbent for George Bush Jr. to repent, lest he suffer the most severe of condemnations. I believe that you are still capable of achieving grace in God’s eyes. You just need to go to confession. Or apply yourself to your biblical studies. Or burn incense. Whatever it is you do in your religion. Do more of it. Make God the center of your life. (Polite applause).
To my brethren who may think otherwise, I say, there is no way that you can be a racist.
Even though in the past you have supported racist legislation. You are much too egotistical to be a racist. You love yourself too much. A person as full of self love as you are, is in a perpetual state of bliss which does not allow him to act or even think in a harmful manner towards others. You embody an essential teaching of all the great religions of the world, expressed by Christianity as, “Love thy neighbor,” because love of others presupposes love for oneself. You are right to praise the police, the firefighters, the nurses, the doctors, and the teachers, because the professional organizations of all these people expressed their opposition to the aforementioned racist legislation, Proposition 187, in 1994. Racist because it would have capriciously subjected a group of people to inhumane treatment. Racist also because the arguments in favor of the proposition were based on lies. Apart from this, it violated the laws of our country as embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps you were suffering from a temporary lapse of immense love for yourself because you voted to deny prenatal healthcare to pregnant women and to kick an estimated hundreds of thousands of children out of school, many of them American citizens, and the majority of Mexican ancestry.
Today such behavior on your part is inconceivable. Immigration is a subject you stay very far away from. And you will not even use words such as “illegal immigrant.” Has anybody ever heard you use such a term? During the gubernatorial debate the candidates were asked a very pointed question. How much money should the state of California spend on the healthcare for the children of illegal immigrants? Here is how you answered.
“Well first of all, I think it is important that we take care of our children. We have to make sure that every child in California is insured. That is the most important thing. I'm very passionate about children's issues. I think we have to take care of our children and we have to take care of our seniors. This is very important because they cannot fend for themselves. The children, we have a healthy family program here in California, and it is a very, very good program. It’s supposed to be to insure people to get healthcare for children and also for their parents if they’re low income people. The only problem with the program right now is that only two-thirds of the people that are eligible are not having the healthcare(sic). And because the government has not done a good job in reaching out and finding the people and letting them know to sign up and find easy ways for them to sign up. Two-thirds of the people that are eligible do not have the healthcare and that is really terrible. If I become governor here I would immediately go out there and promote it. Promote and market it and get it out so everyone knows about it and every one signs up because we must insure our families, the low-income families, especially the children.”
When the question was asked, I immediately thought of Cruz Bustamante. The chubby, laid back Mexican in the race. Most illegal immigrants are Mexican. The moderator said, “Who wants to go?” Cruz in his soft spoken manner said, “I’ll go. Sure, I’d be more than happy to deal with that particular issue,” and proceeded to answer the question. What he should have said was, “I think you should go first Arnold.”
It is encouraging that you maintain a philosophical difference between yourself and the rabid anti-immigrant lunatics such as Pete Wilson who was your campaign director and is one of your chief advisors. Perhaps you can bring him over to our side. I’m sure that we can convince him as well as legions of your supporters, that allowing illegal immigrants to legally drive is a good idea. Your spokespeople, such as Luis Vega, have expressed that you are not against the idea of illegal immigrants driving legally. You have your security concerns. Quite a difference of position from that of your base of support which is, “Illegal immigrants don’t deserve a license.” Such a position would render you unelectable. However, the view of law enforcement, including LAPD chief William Bratton, is that allowing illegal immigrants to legally drive is a good idea. They don’t have the security concerns which you have.
Illegal immigrants are in violation of the federal government’s laws, as are the people who employ them. Let’s keep this in perspective. Illegal immigrants are in obedience to economic laws which results in a mutually beneficial economic relationship between native residents and themselves. In the process they sustain the most lucrative, most productive agricultural economy on the planet. Agriculture is the foundation of the economy of California. It is not hyperbole to state that the labor of illegal immigrants sustains California, not just because of their involvement in agriculture, but numerous other industries as well. The distinction that many people make between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants in economic terms, the former being beneficial and the latter being detrimental, is ridiculous.
Perhaps, illegal immigrants shouldn’t be sustaining the economy of California. But since they are, perhaps the people who work for its ports where billions of dollars of California’s agricultural products are shipped every year should say thank you. So should restaurant owners in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. And let’s not forget about restaurant owners in Santa Monica. As well as the owners and workers of grocery stores. How about the financial institutions that extend credit to growers and sell insurance to them. The companies that manufacture farm equipment. The companies that manufacture chemicals that are sprayed on fruits and vegetables. The trucking industry that transports agricultural products. How about the oil industry that sells the gasoline that fuels the trucks that carry the produce that was cultivated and harvested by illegal immigrants. How about the growers themselves who depend on illegal Mexican immigrants, and have been doing so for decades. How about the average citizen who economically benefits from the labor of illegal immigrants, knowingly or unknowingly.
I’m an average citizen. Allowing illegal immigrants to legally drive will result in lower car insurance rates and safer roads. I have pondered why I would want to pay higher insurance rates and drive on more dangerous roads by taking the contrary position. Why would I take a position that is going to make my life harder, while at the same time make somebody else’s life harder? An essentially sadomasochistic position. Because I believe in the Governor of the great state of California! The greatest state in the greatest country in the world! Arnold Schwarzenegger! The Commando! The Barbarian! The Terminator! California Uber Alles! (The crowd erupts, “USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!…USA!USA!” I look upward. Unblinking).
As an environmentalist who drives hummers and a longtime resident of the Los Angeles area, I’m sure that you can appreciate the dire need for developing excellent mass transit in Los Angeles. We have the worst air quality and the worst traffic in the country. Obviously, the more people that use mass transit, the more these problems will be alleviated. The logic of capitalism suggests that in order to achieve this, that people be offered a better product than driving. This better product is a fast, reliable, extensive mass transit system of world class standards that will dissuade people from investing thousands of dollars in a vehicle that will pollute the air they breath, or at least cause them to drive less often.
Developing excellent mass transit, not just in L.A., but throughout California, is also vital to the economy. In 1998 gasoline was 99 cents a gallon. Now its $2.39. If the same rate of increase continues, gasoline will soon be $3 and $4 per gallon. People can’t help but complain about the cost of gas, and newspapers pander to these sentiments by printing headlines such as “RIDICULOUS!” “FUMING!” Yet, major indications suggest that the trend upwards will continue. According to the Wall Street Journal, there were 40.6 years of consumption covered by proven oil reserves in 2002. Of course, more oil will be found, but there’s only been one major oil find in the last 30 years. If the cost of gas is what it is today with 40.6 years of consumption left, what will it be at 35, 25, or 15, in the absence of an alternative fuel?
Next, enter rising global demand for oil which will deplete the supply faster than in previous decades. India and China each have populations exceeding 1 billion people and are rapidly expanding their economies. Compound to this the disruptions caused by terrorism and the war in Iraq, which are likely to persist. Saudi Arabia, the home to roughly 25% of the world’s oil reserves, has demonstrated its vulnerability to terrorism numerous times.
Recently, the Southern California Auto Club was encouraging Californians to save two gallons per week in order to keep prices down. Perhaps 2 gallons per week per driver is wishful thinking, but inherent in such a suggestion is the acknowledgment that a person’s choice to drive affects the lives other people, through increased costs for goods and services as a result of higher gas prices caused by high demand and tight supply, by creating more traffic, and by polluting the air. Such behavior should be made part of the solution through increased taxation on gasoline that directly funds mass transit.
According to the California State Energy Commision, California consumes 45 million gallons of gasoline per day. A modest 10 cent increase per gallon would result in 1.6425 billion dollars per year. A 20 cent increase would result in 3.285 billion dollars per year. However, in California, individual counties can apply their own taxes on gasoline. So if such a scheme is not adopted by the state, a densely populated, car dominated metropolis can adopt such a scheme of its own accord. In order to fund mass transit, there are also the options of increasing taxes on the incomes of the wealthiest Californians, and increasing property taxes. According to your friend and advisor, Warren Buffet, it “makes no sense” that he pays less property taxes on a $4 million home in Laguna than on a $500,000 home in Omaha. Taxes on his home in Laguna increased $23 in the year prior to his remarks. We can also wait for the federal government to kick us down several billion dollars, which is highly unlikely to happen under George Bush Jr., and perhaps not even under John Kerry, considering the deficit.
We can simply whine and complain and watch the price of gasoline soar and sink our economy, or we can organize our society to deal with the challenge. We can truly reduce our dependence on petroleum and by the very logic of the Southern California Auto Club, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, advocates of the interests of drivers, affect the supply and demand relationship concerning gasoline prices and keep prices down.
It would appear imperative to act now, but for the fact that such a plan violates the third tenet of the Republican philosophy, which is, “Taxes are bad.” TAXES ARE BAD! TAXES ARE BAD! TAXES ARE BAD! Dear father who art in heaven, please free us of taxation, give us the patience to be able to tolerate traffic, bless us with good health so that the polluted air we breath won’t harm us, stave off the greenhouse effect until we are old and on our way somewhere else, and let our children and grandchildren deal with it then(with your guidance of course), help our investments in the stock market pay off handsomely so that we can comfortably retire. Amen.
Ladies and gentlemen, Arnold Schwarzenegger has passed a budget with no new taxes!(Applause!)
It is also worth mentioning that investment in mass transit will result in increased economic activity. Money used to purchase gasoline creates wealth for oil companies directly, perpetuating the cycle of concentration of wealth which we observe in society. Money that would have been spent on gasoline, but isn’t, has the ability to go to diverse sources. It would be recycled within the local economy many more times.
Movement is freedom. As a citizen, I should be able to move about with the purchase of a pass from a transit agency, in a fast, efficient, reliable manner, like millions of citizens of other societies can. Our government’s policies compel us to invest thousands of dollars in a vehicle that pollutes the air we breath, and in L.A., said vehicle does not even allow us to move about in a fast, efficient, reliable manner, much of the time. So there we are. Stuck in traffic. Paying $3.00 and $4.00 per gallon of gasoline soon enough.
I have recently learned that in 1998, the electorate of Los Angeles overwhelming passed a law which banned the future construction of subways in the city. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In our society, there dominates a view of the government which is very unproductive and unempowering. In this view the government is seen as an overpowering, all reaching, oppressive entity. Oh! Get the government off my back! Its weight is crushing me! In this view, the individual is inevitably subservient to the government. The government has moral authority over an individual, such as is the case with abortion. The right promulgates this view and plenty of people on the left succumb to its insidious influence. Expressions of hopelessness and cynicism abound. “Who says we have a democracy?” “Our democracy is broken.” “Republicans and democrats are the same.” We are powerless against the almighty government.
The government is the instrument which society uses to organize itself and solve its problems. It is subservient to the people. It is subservient to me. I am bigger than the government. The individual has the supreme moral authority over his or her body, not the government. The government has the moral uprightness of the people who comprise it. We can change it. Alter it. Make small modifications or large modifications. Elections in our country are fair and square, and the true victor, the true will of the electorate as embodied by the winning candidate ascends into power. Of course, the 2000 Presidential election was an exception in which George Bush Jr. got less votes in the state of Florida than Al Gore under any recount scenario, and his campaign disenfranchised thousands of African-Americans.
We can also view it as the victor gets the job. They have power over us because we allow them to have power over us. They ascend because we imagine them ascending. We should imagine ourselves ascending. Particularly we who have been produced by the very soil of California. Let the woodcutter awaken. Let him discover his own genius and realize that he grasps within his hands the lightning bolt of transcendent knowledge.
The most famous mythological symbol of the Mexican consciousness is that of an eagle devouring a serpent.
Copyright 10/27/2004 Francisco Frias. Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged, so long as Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California.