Islamofascists in the strawberry fields
I live in a farming community. If you have Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving or a stuffed artichoke in a restaurant, you’re eating from a field I drive past. If you ever buy Driscoll strawberries, think of me. Apples, lettuce, celery, wine grapes, you name itâ€”if it doesnâ€™t need weeks of high heat, we probably grow it. (And oh yes, sorry about that spinach thing, although really it was from the next valley over, not ours. Honest.)
And this season, height of most harvests, farmers are plowing their crops under. Apples are rotting, lettuces are bolting to seed, grapes and bush berries are being picked far into the night.
But by God, our borders are secure.
Farmers canâ€™t find workers to bring in their crops because the Bush administration needs a villain in this election year, and has chosen to create one out of the residents of our southern borderlands. Half the workers in our fields are here without documents, and honestly, so what? The kinds of young Muslims Homeland Security has in mind, the sorts who strap bombs to their chests in crowded places, are about as likely to walk across the border from Mexico as they are to swim across the sea from Libya. They could simply drive across from Canada, one supposes, but by God we have to make sure no terrâ€™ist gets into our country, and the border with Mexico is a nice picturesque target, and who will make more trouble if we intimate that they are swarming with murderous Muslims, brown Mexico or white Canada?
Considering our own record with domestic terrorism, maybe Mexico should close the border to us (and isn’t a nice twist that Mexico banned Californian lettuce…) Canada might want to seriously consider doing so, as well.
In the meantime, my neighbors had to call out friends-and-relations to help with their emergency grape harvest (two days of heat and–wow), and my ex-neighbor down in the valley had to plow under a quarter of his crops this year because he couldn’t get them harvested. Half the farmers in the Pajaro valley have had to watch at least a part of their yearâ€™s work go down the drain. It’s been especially hard on the organic farmers, who live on a very thin profit margin and whose produce is a lot more labor intensive than that of farmers who sterilize their fields before planting and spray them during the growing season. Organic farmers in the Pajaro Valley are seeing their crops choked by untended weeds, and paying their skilled workers for fourteen hour days, and losing ground every day.
Strawberries will be five dollars, and stink of the chemicals they receive eighteen times over the growing season, but by God weâ€™ll keep those Islamofascists from swimming the Rio Grande.