Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mainland Chaos



I was an hour early for my appointment so I figured, lacking my navigator-who-must-be-obeyed I might as well stick to the chain eatery on the main road. I was on a mission and good was fuel. IHOP Homestead it was. What an experience. 

My first hint should have been the sign indicating available parking ... in a neighboring field. My mission to the mainland required the use of the car so I had four wheels to park and luckily I don't mind walking so I took a distant patch of grass for my Fusion. Once inside the restaurant I thought I was in some new form of hell. 

I was squeezed into a corner after giving my name to an Official Person with a clipboard and suddenly an inundation - there is no other word for it- of people poured into the restaurant. I clung to my iPhone like a castaway clinging to a rock, unable to read my book as utterly diverse America swirled around me. It is my observation Trump cannot win the Presidency, and if he does there is no wall he could build to keep America white middle-class and mid-western any more.  That ship has sailed. 
Across from me two generations of African Americans are at two tables. Mom and daughter exchanging giggles and smart phones at one table, shy young lovers glancing at each other at the next. At the table to my right a Latina mother kept two youngsters fed and in order. To my right my people, a family of Anglos sat prim and restrained eating the weekend breakfast out. As long as I keep my mouth shut  I look like I belong to the entrenched power structure, I don't look like a wetback. But twenty years ago I went through the same excruciating unimaginable process of legal acceptance. 

Were you to ask me today what color my wife's toothbrush is I would be forced to admit I have sbsolutely no idea. In 1985 in San Francisco my then wife and I rehearsed my immigration exam together, going over the minutest daily details of our actually shared lives. In addition I learned how many amendments there are to the constitution (27) and how many senators there are in the US senate. And Google wasn't a gleam in anyone's eye back then, not publicly at any rate. So when I hear people talk about sending people "back" I wonder how my Jew second wife and my Italian self will continue to be married in a country where Native Born Americans cheer Trump's nativism. A hundred years ago our confines were narrower than they are today. Hungarians, Italians, Irish, none of them were wanted. 

So I take heart in the appalling crush of humanity in IHOP and remind myself that must be why it is international by name and in aspiration and today at least in scope. 
I'm voting Bernie because I can vote. Native Born  Americans who stay home  are the ones I'd rather see sent back. Somewhere, preferably next door to Trump.