Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Miami: Ciudad del Futuro


I've been slightly snowed under at work this past week, and until someone makes the canny decision to become my personal di Medici family and begin subsidizing my efforts here at Malcontent Central, the people who put a sizeable sum of money into my checking account every two weeks will have to take priority. I have New York City rent, assorted credit card bills and the overwhelming desire to upgrade to an XBOX 360 this holiday season to consider; ergo, if I have to put this little experiment of mine on hold for a couple of days at a time here and there, so be it.

That said, a news item came across my desk this morning which was simply too good to allow to pass without making some kind of snotty comment about it.

It would appear that U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado has found himself a cause celebre in his ongoing battle to rid America of illegal immigrants. During a recent visit to Palm Beach, he told a crowd of conservative supporters that to witness the dangers of unfettered immigration, it need only travel ninety miles to the south -- to my hometown. Miami, he said, "has become a Third World country."

Needless to say, this opinion was immediately decried as pinheaded and wrong by South Florida's own voice in congress, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a woman who resembles a yapping chiuhuahua both in stature and intelligence. Given that she and Tancredo share a political affiliation -- and that this particular affiliation needs all the party-unity it can get right now -- there probably won't be the usual contrived indignation and dueling press conferences to resolve the matter; instead, Ros-Lehtinen has already offered an olive branch in the form of an invitation to Tancredo. "I invite my friend, Tom, to visit beautiful Miami -- my hometown -- and experience firsthand our hospitality. Miami is a world-class city where diversity is celebrated. Here, people have the opportunity to meet folks from around the globe and honor different cultures," she responded.

I'd like to avoid picking apart the good congresswoman's rosy assessment of the only banana republic on U.S. soil, except to say that if you know anything at all about the way Miami operates, there's a good chance that some form of under-the-table payment from the chamber of commerce is now well on its way to Ros-Lehtinen in return for such kind words. Unfortunately, my level of experience with the city dictates that I, at the very least, elaborate slightly on the points she made.

Yes, Miami is beautiful -- which is precisely why it's become the official ostentatious playground of every worthless but loaded hip-hop star currently tearing up the TRL countdown. It's a place that's so hospitable that several years ago -- after a series of violent attacks -- a decision was made to remove any markings which might denote a vehicle as having been rented locally, lest unwary visitors be targeted and robbed at gunpoint five minutes after leaving the airport. It's a world-class city -- if you believe that the world ends at the southern tip of South America and the eastern edge of the Caribbean. It's a place where diversity has been "celebrated" with three deadly race riots over the past twenty five years. It is indeed a place where people have the opportunity to meet "folks" from around the globe -- and be shot by them.

Believe me, I could go on and on; I have enough stories about the place to fill twenty morgue drawers. But what I'll do instead is refer you to two past columns I've written which deal with the unbridled insanity of life in my hometown. While you read these, I'll just sit back on my couch and think about the image of Tom Tancredo being convinced how wrong he was about Miami by a day of salsa dancing, Cuban coffee, gator attacks, topless sunbathers, never hearing the English language spoken to him -- not once by anyone -- jailhouse visits with indicted city officials, a tour of the "Elian Museum," and a big pile of cocaine.

And that will make me smile.

8/03/06 High Fidel-ity

11/1/06 A History of Violence

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

And this is what awaits all of our fair cities if we don't wake the F up and build a giant wall to keep people out of this country.

Wen D said...

Representative chiuhuahua may have missed her calling in life and could help Philadelphia with their campaign to enliven tourism in their neighborhoods. I'd like to hear her catch phrase for Kensington, or she could branch across the river to Camden. Maybe you could get me her contact information since you're from the same town. It sounds like she'd get along fine with the corrupt dunces who run this city.

Stevie said...

Less of a comment on your item, and more of a comment on the 'anonymous' comment above....

Build a giant wall to keep people out of your country? How the fuck do you think 'your' country came about? There's a lot of people in the world that would quite like to see that wall, if only to keep some of you in.

Chez said...

I get the feeling he was dealing in ice-cold sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

In your High-Fidelity blog, you mispelled politican.
I think much of the world claims ignorance and apathy on most issues. They don't know and they don't care. As long as their tandom and peonic world isn't jostled, they are content to sit with jocose lil' smiles. These consequently are the same people I tell to put alimunium foil in the microwave. Darwinism at it's finest.

Chez said...

Thanks for the heads-up -- and for the small but worthwhile dose of irony.

choenbone said...

i have to agree with stevie, unless you are an american indian, you a fucking immigrant to one extent or another...get over it thats how it is, and if you don't like it move to Canada-

VOTAR said...

Choen, accepting that this is a "nation of immigrants" and celebrating the resultant diversity that arises from that process is noble, until you begin to notice that every aspect of your culture and lifestyle has been slowly, systematically replaced with an unrecognisable alien version with which you have no affinity or understanding.

Mr. Tancredo is one of the few, and the most recent, to have the balls to voice an observation that many here in South Florida feel. The sentiment is kept safely silent for good reason. A few years back, there was some discussion here concerning the prudence of encouraging the citizens of Dade County to improve their knowledge of the English language in order to make it easier for everyone to conduct business with government agencies. There were practically riots in the streets.

Try to imagine attending traffic court or applying for a building permit, or asking for an appointment to meet with a city commissioner...or just trying to put $20 of gas in your car... surrounded by hundreds of people speaking to you and to each other in, oh say, Mandarin Chinese. What? You don't speak Mandarin?! Why not? Don't you like diversity? *Sigh....* All right, we'll dumb it down for the ignorant American.

Now just substitute Spanish. This is no exageration, I deal with it every day. Spend five minutes at the City of Miami Municipal Courthouse, you will think you woke up in Caracas or Bogota. Except louder.

What is happening here, and certainly also in the American Southwest, is a slower, quieter version of the violent diaspora inflicted on the native American population a hundred years ago.

Every major metropolitan city has its share of ugliness (class and race tension, idiosyncratic politics, crime and drugs), and Miami has a lot going for it, to be sure. The platinum-encrusted crumbs from Diddy and J-Lo's party tables keep our economy booming. I jest; Miami HAS come a long way in the 25 years I have lived here (there are fewer gun battles with automatic weapons in the streets than before, and the good drugs are a little harder to find)...but I can't think of anywhere else in our country, aside from small ethnic neighborhoods in some major cities, where it is impossible to communicate or exchange even the most basic services without being obligated to adopt the language and mannerisms of a foreign culture.

Miami is, simply put, occupied territory. And before the term "racist" is leveled at me, I'll also mention that I date latin women and celebrate learning from their heritage. I also spent the first 18 years of my life in Tampa, Florida, home to a large and very well-established latin population that, from the start, chose to assimilate, rather than insinuate.

But everything else aside, I'm just waiting for the last violent spurt of Fidel's bleeding ass cancer. There is going to be a PARTY here the likes of which the world has not seen before....

Chez said...

Love the Santa hat.

slouchmonkey said...

Votar (aka "Reece," that Alien comment gave me a belly laugh!) You mean the picture of Miami I get at 10pm Monday nights is not accurate?

VOTAR said...

If you mean CSI:Miami, shit they don't even film that here. Except for the occasional stock filler footage, the really discerning viewer might notice the California palm trees in some scenes (subtle, but they don't grow here in abundance naturally)...or of course the occasional accidental mountain in the background. The only mountains we have here are the landfills.

Matt said...

It perhaps was not the most tactful way of describing Miami, but the man did have a point. There is nothing you tell someone about living in Miami that will do it justice (which, of course, can be purchased in this town by trading out your old car). Unless one lives in Miami (off of Miami Beach) for at least a couple years, he/she can never understand the sheer joy of being an ex-pat while still living in your own country. But don't let anyone say Miami isn't diverse - it is! Not only is there a large Cuban population, Miami is also home to a large number of Argentinians, Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and current citizens of about 800 other Latin American countries.