From the Left



More Important Than the President

Marc Munroe Dion on

Out there in Nebraska, where the air is clean and pure, up there in Minnesota, where they have those gosh darn cute accents, federal investigators found 30 teenagers working overnight shifts at meatpacking plants. The kids, some of them as young as 13, were alleged to be employed cleaning all sorts of shiny dangerous equipment. As a treat, the company let the kids handle caustic chemicals, too.

Suddenly, the air is not so pure, and the accents aren't so cute.

The kids had not-so-cute accents, too, by which I mean they were all Spanish speakers. If you want to start exploiting people in this country, a good place to start is with those damn foreigners who take all our jobs.

Without little 13-year-old Juan, you could have been on the graveyard shift, cleaning bone saws and playing, "Oops, my skin is gone" with dangerous chemicals.

Not that they could get you to take that job. I wouldn't take that job. And, since you and me were too proud to take honest work, it was necessary to rope in some knock-kneed skinny foreigners who hadn't seen the inside of a high school yet.

The contractor providing the, uh, labor, to the plants is pretty sure they didn't know about the situation. After all, a lot of Spanish people aren't nearly as big as regular white people, so a Hispanic 13-year-old can easily be mistaken for a burly white American working man.


Happens to me all the time.

I'm 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and pale in the complexion, but every now and then, when I'm standing around in a bar, someone will come up to me.

"Hey, Paco," the guy says to me, "Shouldn't you be in junior high right now? Habla Espanol?"

"No," I say. "I'm a 65-year-old white guy."


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