Wednesday, December 12

dia de la critica

The Greeley Tribune and her spawn provide a bulky package of stories today on the anniversary of the Swift meatpacking raids in Greeley. And yet not one comes close to relaying the immigrant experience since the raids.

Sure, some of the pieces carefully skim the surface of skepticism, and some Latino leaders have been interviewed, but a deep look into the impact this has really had on the immigrant community is absent. And given all the supposed promise of the emergent Swift publications (no known connection to the meatpacking plant), and the strength of the Trib under former editor Chris Cobler, this is sadly disappointing.

What's more, not one of these stories questions whether the raids were necessary; under what political circumstances the local conservative establishment felt pressured to not only support but encourage them; nor the continued and historic inability of the city of Greeley to integrate and progress their community, whose image has been marred not because of their immigrant population, but because of their longstanding racism toward those populations and the moron majority that holds the area's elected officials and newspapers hostage.

Back in November, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Congressman William D. Delahunt proposed that ICE look at more humanitarian detention of undocumented immigrants. That action was prompted by the many immigrant stories that have come about since the meatpacking raids tipped off a year of cracked-out ICE raids, big and small, with shameless newspapers running scandalous photos of workers being hauled away in heavy chains — the large majority of them on non-violent, non-criminal charges.

From a Denver rally organized by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Courtesy of Erin Rosa, for ColoradoConfidential.

Greeley's socially conservative political establishment — which recently incited the ouster of the city's ballsy former mayor, Tom Selders, on "the immigrant issue" — is, it's safe to say, suffering a bad case of Tancredoism, which Ryan Lizza defines in the current issue of The New Yorker as a "hard line on immigration...abetted by an absence of Party leadership and by Bush's unpopularity." Given Greeley's combination of Bush loyalism (embodied by Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave) and the hard-won election of Democratic state Representative Jim Reisberg, Greeley just might be the cradle of Tancredoism.

Greeley's entrenched, embarrassing inability to embrace civil rights has bore the cross of its image problem more than the smell of its toxic feedlots since, well, the civil-rights era. Many parallels can be drawn between the longstanding Latino communities who suffered through those years and the newly arrived immigrant community that's being scapegoated now. To be clear, these two populations don't have much in common (a frequent media error) and aren't likely to have much daily contact, but a look at then and now might expose how moronic the moron majority has become. No person truly concerned with economic growth and a healthier image for Greeley, regardless of their politics, wants to be perceived as ignorant.

What Greeley needs now more than ever is to reconcile with its past and disassociate from the morons, who I'm beginning to believe include the actual newspaper publishers themselves for allowing such non-constructive drivel onto the comments sections of its webpages.

December 12 is also the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Thanks to the raids, it's now symbolically tied to Greeley, which may need a miracle of its own in order to convince those of us who are looking over from across the interstate that the city has anything at all to offer.

No comments: