You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

Blinding Light News Flash: The Occidental Rug

Gary Schoichet
August 22, 2014
by Gary Schoichet patriotic-area-rugsWITH MORE THAN 60,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the borders of the United States in Arizona, California, and Texas, congressional representatives and senators of all stripes have been calling for the expulsion, and quickly, of these refugees from gang violence and other dangers coming from the Central American democracies of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. (Only Nicaragua, the poorest of the Central American countries and the one with the least violence, has not seen its children traveling north for safety. Of the 63,000 children detained, only 194 have been from Nicaragua.) Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota proposes setting up camps for the children where they could both work off their keep and go to school. “We’d love to have them in Minnesota. They could work as minors in the defunct iron ore ranges and help bring back an important industry. But the winters here are too cold for these hot-blooded kids to be comfortable. Besides, as everyone knows, our own kids are above average and these ones might not fit.” Although most Republicans want to send the children right back from where they came, others have come up with their own innovative plans to keep them in the United States. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who accused the Obama administration of bringing in “these undocumented Democrats because immigrants tend to vote for the Democratic Party" and who likened the immigrant invasion to “D-Day” while warning that the United States and Texas are “being invaded and we’re in danger of violence like we’ve never seen and remember, this is Texas and we know violence, we practice it daily,” has now softened and seen the economic possibilities of 60,000 young workers with nimble fingers. “Think of these kids not as immigrants, not as refugees, but as imports,” Gohmert suggests. “When I was an exchange student in Ukraine back when it was an actual part of the Soviet Union, I took a trip to Pakistan and I saw children weaving rugs. Okay, they were chained to the looms, but they did great work because their fingers were small enough to tie short tight knots. And no one seemed to care that they were children, and there were no laws that prohibited child labor. The children were the family breadwinners.” That vision stayed with Gohmert for more than forty years. How to achieve it in America became his governing “raison d’etre.“ Louie does know French. As a Republican and Tea Party member he has no problem with regulations: “Let’s just get rid of them all,” the lawmaker says. LOUIE'S VISION IS RUGS: American-made rugs with designs depicting great moments in American history like the Mexican victory at The Alamo. They will be known as occidental rugs, the oriental rugs of the west. “And the children who cross our borders shall make them,” Gohmert said, “and they will be the best quality rugs money can buy. We’ll house the kids in the old internment camps and teach them to read directions and when their fingers get too large we will send them home.” Gary Schoichet is a prize-winning labor journalist, editor, and photographer. He writes and photographs what he sees. He nevertheless still has a sense of humor.