The Green Wall, a Modest Proposal
The following is an email exchange from last year.
I write this as a kind of cleaning-out of my intellectual attic. Saturday was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; so as follow-up, today I'd like to confess to you my ideological sins. I was tempted to plan solutions, and I fell; the resulting big-government fantasies on second look were not so good; beware the dork side of the Farce! But for proper critique I need fresh eyes; yours. I share this with you because I know you'll hate it right away. Like I said before, sock it to me.
You've heard the first: the Green Force; a hybird military/WPA program. Its dual function; to plug American military bases into renewable energy, and to employ and train masses of immigrants/undocumented/indigents. The former is a national security issue, and also as a technology driver. The latter is New-Deal-ish. Mixmaster assimilation. Also consumerist stimulus. Also it's a way for the army to keep any hothead immigrants/indigents under watch. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
As a seed program for the Green Force, I propose giving the Syrian refugees green cards, and front of the line for applying to the Green Force. Promise also English, math and civics education. Also job placement in the civilian solar sector.
This feeds into a bigger fantasy.
Part two: The Law of Escape. The name satirizes the "Law of Return", in Israeli law, which says that any Jew can move to Israel and claim citizenship. However this is, in practice, dependent on the ability of the State of Israel to secure the land. On the off chance that it might someday not, I (modestly) propose an American "Law of Escape"; that any person in the land known as Israel may apply for a green card (and may volunteer for the Green Force) provided that the person's land has been invaded, or is under threat of immediate invasion, and subsequent oppressive rule.
This would act as a population insurance policy for Israel in the event of future wars; but it would have a curious 'unintended consequence'. The invasion-and-oppression scenario is a hypothetical future for the Israelis, but a present reality for the Palestinians; and the First Amendment forbids establishment of religion; therefore every Palestinian could, under the Law of Escape, apply for a green card on the Green Force.
Quote, unintended, unquote; for the Israelis would finally have someplace to ethnically cleanse Palestine _to_. So I forsee that as a consequence of this policy; the Israelis grab the West Bank, America get a new omega dog; the Palestinians. But they'll be the cream of omega; the smart, the lucky, the strong will get out, the stupid or luckless or weak will stay in Israel or Gaza.
So I imagine, as a result of the Law of Escape, a new ambitious immigrant group. They'll follow the usual trajectory; generation 1 is disoriented, impoverished, trouble-making, hard-working; generation 2 knows both cultures and languages, and monetizes meme exchange; generation 3 attains a share of honors and power. America has done this before. It's called assimilation. The stone that was rejected shall be the cornerstone; therefore resistance is futile!
The Israelis would get a complicit partner in the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, and an insurance policy. But I think they will eventually have to cash in that insurance policy; and then America will have another batch of ambitious exile immigrants.
Well, there you have it, my two sickest let's-solve-everything big-gummint fantasies. The Green Force, and the Law of Escape. I offer them to you to tear apart. Have at!
We sort of kind of already have loads of Israeli immigrants and Palestinian immigrants who have already done the math and said to heck with "the Promised Land" and come to the TRUE promised land. (all this is really weird because when I got into Amarillo last night I was watching Anthony Bourdain's program which was about visiting Israel and the Gaza Strip and some of the food they have, but it was also a good politics lesson, since he pointed out he was part Jewish but pretty much an atheist, etc., and even though it kept me up to 3 AM and I get up at 7 AM, I watched the whole thing and even texted my email the name of this one Palestinian woman's name and cook book item since it looked so good).
I got to meet a Palestinian grocer when I was campaigning in Tampa. I guessed that he was Palestinian from the Arafat portrait he had in his grocery, so I naturally said that I was for getting out of Iraq, was against the Patriot Act, and was for ending foreign aid to all nations, including Israel. He said to me very angrily, "I do not CARE about Iraq....and I do not CARE about the Patriot Act" (gee, buddy, I wonder what you're about to tell me? and sure enough....) "When I came to this country from Palestine in 1970" blah blah and Nathaniel, I swear within five minutes he was saying something about how Bush "is kissing the Jews' asses!"
It all just sort of reminds me of the Gilbert Gottfried joke about how an old Jewish man is on the beach, finds a bottle, a genie comes out and will grant him ONE wish, and he shows the genie a map of Israel and Palestine and wants peace there, and the genie says even I can't do that, but I'll grant you any other wish, and so the old Jewish man says, I've always wished that my wife would give me oral sex, and the genie says, "Can I take a look at that map again?"
Given my true fears about terrorists crossing our borders, yes, sounds good. Perhaps for ANYONE who comes from EITHER Israel or Palestine, they should have a mandatory 2 years of service of building the walls with Mexico and Canada (one year) and then guarding it (another year). I also think that putting them into TSA at the airports would be good since both the ex-Israeli Jews and ex-Palestinian Arabs would be SO ruthless in going over people's luggage that it would bankrupt almost ALL the airlines except for Southwest and then all of them would finally have the excuse to get rid of unions forever and reorganize, get rid of the stupid long-term pilot contracts, etc. Putting them in at our aquatic ports would also be good since the UAE was going to do that anyway, so why not the Palestinians and Israelis? First, they can keep an eye on each other, and secondly and most importantly, can "out" and get prosecuted the Mafia guys who control the union appointments on the waterfront. I can't think of anyone else who would be less afraid of the Mob than Israeli Sabras who'd done their two years of military service in Israel, or Palestinians who have considered being suicide bombers and have very little hope, etc. Perhaps Gurkhas would be more gutsy and tough, but few other groups would scare me more than those two except for the Russian and Albanian mob, but I'm pretty sure the waterfront is still an Italian job.
All right Bob, how about a compromise. The big money-spending projects to keep the refugees busy can be _both_ building a long wall on the border _and_ putting up solar panels for military bases. 3 year mandatory minimum at wall-building or panel-raising, fine; anything to get them working for the Great Satan; a decisive turn away from the politics of the Old Country.
As for TSA, no. Putting Middle Eastern refugees in charge of making rich American's airflights miserable will not promote interfaith harmony. We both want to disband the TSA anyhow. Also, flying is paranoid in any case. Once I was flying and the plane hit an air pocket. A few seconds of free-fall. Very, very long seconds. Everyone gasped in unison. I let loose a ticket stub in front of my eyes; it hovered there, in zero-gee. Then we got back lift, and the ticket fell into my lap. Isn't science interesting?
The _ports_, now... also interesting. Setting FOB hotheads against Dis Ting Of Ours... fine, but only if they keep the fight to themselves, or else the Feds come in like a ton of bricks, right? But the trouble nowadays with longshoreman work as entry to the middle-class is that those jobs are scarcer now, due to automation and shipping-container technology. (In fact shipping containers have made the _Middle_East_ obsolete, considered as central nexus of Eurasian trade. When you've got your goods in a shipping container, it's about the same price to anywhere else in the world on the ship/truck/train grid.)
Assimilating political refugees is what this country is good at. We get the cream of the rejects. The lucky, the smart and the ruthless find their way here; fine material to breed Americans from. Of course that means we have to keep them busy. The Devil makes work for idle hands; so the Devil is the true employer of last resort; Big Government is the employer of _second_ last resort. If business-friendly policy keeps the Old World's employed, fine, but business goes through cycles, and we have to make sure.
Hey, how about that long wall being _itself_ solar powered? All those fancy electronic sensors will need off-the-grid power. And didn't Sarah Palin want to electrify the fence? All right then, even more solar power - plus batteries for night. So a solar fence; that'll combine the two projects. The "Green Wall"!