Going to go play consumer

After literally passing out last night following a crazy day of decorating (in the sun, no less) and bridal showering and running out of gas (a story for another blog post), I have even more to do ahead of me. I originally had plans to go rollerblading in Long Beach, but its a good thing those plans got postponed – my car’s acting funny.

Oh, but wait – there’s an immigration rally/march/boycott thing going on? You don’t say…

Yeah, that’s not stopping me today, aside from preventing me from going to my usual mechanic in Hollywood. I really don’t think that this boycott is going to work, and that’s not just because I’m not a fan of this whole illegal immigrant movement for amnesty/open borders (by the protesters signs, I’m not really sure which one they want).

The thing is, the real power of illegal immigrants is their consumer power. I mean, that’s why the State Senate decided to pass a resolution in support of the boycott – a move that incensed my husband, by the way. The sheer number of them and their decision to stay in Southern California makes them a huge political base and a huge consumer base.

If you think about it, one of the obvious reasons why immigrants from other countries want to come here is to be able to consume better things. You might call it “finding a better life” but let’s face it – its to consume better things. By better things, I am talking about better cars, better houses, better clothes, better food – these are things that, as a consumer culture, are important to us. (Me, I drive a beat up 1996 Honda Accord with more than 224,000 miles on the speedometer that’s now begun shuddering – which is why I have to take it to the mechanic.)

For this whole boycott thing to work, these immigrants and immigrant advocates would need to make a commitment. I mean, they keep comparing it to the civil rights movement (a comparison Trinity says is faulty, since the civil rights movement was for rights guaranteed under the Constitution, which last I checked, didn’t include any provisions for illegal immigrants). Now, according to Wikipedia, the U.S. civil rights movement began in 1955 and ended about 1968. That’s a long time, guys – how long are you willing to go on without your better things?

And if you consider it, that’s what it would take to really get the point across – at least a year of boycotting American products and consumerism to get retailers crowing in favor of you. Your labor is not the issue. Things will get done. But if you stop buying things – that would really worry those in Sacramento, wouldn’t it?

But see, I don’t think that these illegal immigrants and their advocates are willing to make that kind of commitment. The other day I asked a Latino coworker – so do you think they’ll be boycotting the Angels game on Monday? How about the Dodger game? He looked at me like I was nuts. But that’s just it. I don’t think these advocates are willing to go that far. Taking a day off work is easy and not buying things for one day is easy – all you have to do is postpone grocery day. But making a real commitment is hard for so many people these days, much less making a commitment to stop being an American consumer.

And so I leave you with these words from my buddy Moonie, who doesn’t often send out mass emails to his friends:

If you support the plight of the protesters, by all means stay home or even attend the protests.

If you feel that this is an insult to the many immigrants that came to this country legally and endured the long legal process to become resident aliens or naturalized citizens (like myself), then I have a suggestion for you to make a statement. Go out and buy something. Get some food, buy some clothes, buy some groceries, get some coffee… anything, just make sure to be an active consumer today.

I think you all know how I feel about this issue. To me it’s not about race but respect for following this country’s laws and respect for the people that have followed this country’s laws.