According to a congressman's wife who attended a Republican women's luncheon yesterday, Karl Rove explained the rationale behind the president's amnesty/open-borders proposal this way: "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."
Mark Krikorian went on to be appalled at the disdain for the virtues of hard work reflected in this point of view. That strikes me as a strange reaction. My first thought upon reading that statement was to be appalled at the disdain for reality. What mechanism would compel educated, English-speaking sons of privilege to pick tomatoes or make beds in hotels if all the bottom-of-economic-scale workers who are currently doing those jobs suddenly disappeared?
Karl Rove must be thinking of “Gone With the Wind” where the plantation owner’s daughters went from being belles of the ball before the Civil War to picking cotton after the slave’s were freed. The only way Rove’s statement makes sense is if he sees immigrants, both legal and illegal, as second class citizens serving the same function in our society as slaves did in the pre-Civil War south. In his view we can neither deport them or give them equal rights. If we did either we would end up like Scarlett O’Hara and her sisters, out there in the fields picking the crops.
Of course, that is nonsense. Even if we give everyone in this country equal rights Karl Rove’s kids and all the other sons and daughters of privilege with their language skills, education and social connections can easily out-compete other young people in the job market and avoid having to do bottom-of-the-rung manual labor jobs like picking tomatoes or making beds (although a summer or two doing that kind of work would probably be good for them.)
How did someone who thinks like Karl Rove end up in at the highest levels of our government? What has happened to our meritocracy?