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