Go Back to Mayberry?

July 25, 2012

andy griffith showThis is a fun read and a great way to raise community awareness of the real story behind the economic crisis and racial inequality. A friend of UFE sent this letter to the editor of his local paper (The Winchester Star) in response to a misguided attack on immigrants. And it got published! If you grew up on The Andy Griffith Show, you'll enjoy this...

"One of the local malcontents wrote a letter to the editor about how we should all go back to Mayberry, before all these immigrants and freeloaders showed up. My response:

So I have good news and bad news.

The good news? You can go back to Mayberry any time you want. The bad news? That's because it's a TV show!!

But back in the real world, you seem to be disappointed with people who don't work hard, don't contribute, and don't go to church. So I know, despite your reference to immigration, that you aren't worried about Latino immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants. They all work, because if they don't work, they can't stay here, since they are not eligible for most benefit programs. They pay into Social Security at their jobs, even though they will never see a penny of it. And boy do they go to church.

Church membership is pretty high in the African-American community too, and most African-Americans have jobs if they can get em.

OK, so I know then who you are upset about when you write about folks taking advantage of the system. It's the large finance corporations that got the laws rewritten for them, and the Koch Brothers who are busy getting environmental regulations rewritten so they won't be held accountable when they cause deaths and disease. You're talking about the fact that the wealth gap has grown enormously (see www.faireconomy.org) and taxes on the rich have dropped since "Mayberry days," and that both Democrats and Republicans are in bed with the rich. So, welcome to Occupy Wall Street, Mayberry version!

By the way, you apparently didn't notice that the big banks and Wall Street took care of that immigration issue you are so concerned about. When they crashed the economy with fraudulent mortgage-backed securities, net immigration ground to a halt. Large numbers of immigrants lost their homes here, lost their jobs, and decided they were better off in their nation of birth. So I guess that's the good news for you. As our economy goes sour for everyone but the super-rich, we are less attractive to immigrants. Only healthy economies that are fair to everyone attract newcomers seeking jobs and creating businesses.

Sorry, Deputy Fife. We are not going back to Mayberry. But we don't have to keep going downhill either. Here's a good start -- ditch the Bush tax cuts for billionaires, reinstate Glass-Stegall, break up the biggest financial megacorps, and stop going to war for control of oil. Do all that, and you'll be surprised how things improve.

Heck, you will probably find yourself whistling down to the ol' fishin' hole."

(h/t to our friend and former board member, Larry Yates of Virginia)

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