3/02/2009

The Commute Part 1 - The 'Sign' of Good Service

My new commute from the east side has been so much more entertaining than the commute from Antioch that I drove for so very long, and my drive from Old Hickory was down right boring compared to the entertainment these days.

The highlight of my morning is reading the giant electronic Interstate AC sign on I-40 west at Briley Parkway. The owner has been using it as a bully pulpit for a good long while now. I've seen 'Drill here, drill now. Drill baby drill' and last week it was 'Now playing: The Wizard of Oz ,staring Congress as the Scarecrow.' I assume that one was a comment on how he thinks the vote on the stimulus bill should have went.

All other fun stuff aside, his pet issue seems to be immigration policy. Last week I noticed '12 million illegals in the US, 11 million Americans out of work. Anyone see a solution here?'. The exact wording might be slightly different, but I think I captured the spirit of it. And apparently it's important to the owner, because I first saw it last Wednesday, and it was still there this morning (Monday).

In some worlds it's as simple as that. Kick out all those illegal types and let the suffering Americans get back to work. I'm sure the out of work bankers and highly trained folks who worked in car factories would be happy to do the low level back breaking work available to someone in the country illegally. I'm not trying to impugn the skills and abilities of anyone, but your career choices are pretty limited if you don't have proof you're in the country legally. You're probably going to end up doing something hard. The whole reason an employer takes the risk of giving a job to an illegal immigrant is because they're more willing to do it than someone with more options.

Now it's going to sound like I'm contradicting what I just said, but the other issue here is can the out of work Americans reasonably do the jobs done by illegal immigrants? Maybe I'm exhibiting some racism myself, but I'm going to use landscaping and construction as examples. Those are pretty highly visible in my neighborhood where new houses are constantly being built, and the gentlemen doing the jobs mostly look like they're from the same part of the world that anti-immigration folks seem to be the most worried about. Construction and landscaping are back-breaking hard work, but they also require a fair amount of skill. You can't just throw a tree in the hole and expect it to live, or put the nail in the wood and expect it to stand up. You have to know a little about what you're doing in order to get it right. At the very least there would be a huge learning curve and nothing would get done for awhile until all those hard working Americans figured out what the hell they were doing.

It makes me a little sad. The first thought I had when I first saw one of his more unkind captions was "I suppose he can stand to lose the business from that." But then I realized he probably actually gets extra business because of things like that.

I poked around online because I know I've seen video of the sign before, this 'best of' video kept popping up. I don't care for the guy's thoughts on immigration, but he does write a good tag line.

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