Monday, February 27, 2017

But in the Case of Carlos...


I live just about equidistant between Chicago -- where I called home for 25 years -- and West Frankfort -- which I have never visited.

In other words, about halfway between Il Douche's Terrifying Cartoon Municipal Hellscape and deepest, whitest Trump Country.

And now federal immigration agents have done what no other force on Earth has been able to do: crack the heretofore impenetrable barrier of Hate Radio and white grievance behind which so much of Rustbelt America walls itself off from the real world, and inflict a little reality on the good folks of Pleasantville West Frankfort.

And they did not like it.  No sir.  Not one little bit.

He’s a Local Pillar in a Trump Town. Now He Could Be Deported. 
By MONICA DAVEYFEB. 27, 2017

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. — Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants “to get rid of the bad eggs.”

But then they took Carlos.

Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. And, yes, he knew their children by name. But people here tick off more things they know Carlos for.

How one night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.

“I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” said Lori Barron, the owner of Lori’s Hair A’Fairs, a beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.”
...
Yes indeed.  Heck of a guy is Carlos.  Just the sort of person that breathes life into a little town whose glory days of coal and more coal have slowly shuddered to a halt. And letters of support came pouring in from all the best people.
Tom Jordan, the mayor of West Frankfort, wrote that Mr. Hernandez was a “great asset” to the city who “doesn’t ask for anything in return.” The fire chief described him as “a man of great character.”

The letters have piled up — from the county prosecutor, the former postmaster, the car dealer, the Rotary Club president.
But here's the thing.  This 98.55% White community is typical of the little towns that make up Franklin county.  Aging, insular, coal county folk.  Redneck, although they'd hate to use that word...
“With everything that’s gone on — we’ve had years of unemployment rates that are skyrocketing — I would like to see some of the people that I know go back to work before I worry about people from other countries coming here and making a better life for themselves,” said Audrey Loftus, 38, a bartender at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. 
But Mr. Hernandez, Ms. Loftus said, has left her “on the fence” about what should happen now. “I hate to use the word rednecks, but this is southern Illinois.” she said. “This is the definition of a good old boys’ club, and you don’t have a lot of people of different ethnicities that are in this area.“And then there’s Carlos,” she continued. “You will not find a single person that has anything bad to say about him.”
...who went for Trump by an almost 3-to-1 margin.

And now, too late, the people of West Frankfurt are learning the lesson that everyone at the local VFW hall would have been able to recite by heart 70 years ago.

That fascism does not make exceptions.  

Not even in the case of Carlos.  

13 comments:

Yastreblyansky said...

"But he's one of the good Jews!"

"Sorry, you know if we let yours get away we'll have to do it for everybody."

Jim Butts said...

Breaks my heart. Great telling, DR.

Neo Tuxedo said...

According to Wikipedia, Chambersburg, PA, where I hang my head, was 86.43% white according to the 2000 census and 6.38% Latin@ (overlapping). I suspect that second number has gone up, even if the first hasn't gone down. Chambersburg is also located in a Franklin County. Whether a larger percentage of Latin@s will teach locals the present lesson faster, I couldn't say, but I doubt it. When I quote the Waco Kid about "people of the land", it is informed by dealing with these people, of whom I have written before:

Until I moved here from what I now recognize, by comparison, as the enlightened liberal paradise of Mississippi, I thought farm people knew in their bones the difference between the stuff that comes off the side of the bull that you put in your mouth and the stuff that comes out the back end of the bull that you put on your fields. But it seems an awful lot of the good people of Franklin County have some sort of bone disease that not only causes them to eagerly swallow the bovine end product spewed by Fox News and its political arm the Republican Party, but mistake it for filet mignon combined with the most exquisite sex in the history of history itself.

Jimbo said...

Although I live just outside DC, we have a farm in the beautiful Shenandoah County in VA. represented by Bob Goodlatte, who is definitely not a good cup of coffee. Needless to say, this largely farming area was mostly Trump country (with notable exceptions, all of them towns like Harrisonburg, home of liberal James Madison U.). And yet, a sizable Hispanic community, mostly Mexican provides a lot of services, especially skilled labor of all sorts that keep the generally older white population going since a lot of the younger generation has up and left. Now, the ones we know are long since citizens but there are undoubtedly many that aren't and the Orange Monster's undocumented policy are going to cause a lot of chaos in Trump voting country.

beemer said...

I'd like to feel badly for these people, but they need to learn that they're the damned problem.

wibble said...

Idiots. They =never= account for the collateral damage from their lunacy...

Lit3Bolt said...

What the common farm folk want from Fox News et al. is to "feel good." They want their culture celebrated, their whiteness celebrated, their religion celebrated, their ignorance celebrated. And Democrats are the "bad Mommy" party, while the Republicans are the Fun Daddy party.

And Fun Daddy lets you get away with anything.

freshsideofhell said...

No exceptions.They voted for this demon seed,they have to fix it.

trgahan said...

and what will be the reaction when the rest of the West Frankfort's of America crime rate doesn't change (or gets worse), coal mines don't hire/reopen, local service industry has labor shortages, and their Mexican restaurant closes....turn Rush up to 12 of course!

And as a worker in coal country (along with oil and gas fields) I constantly see the people who want to make a living on these extractive industries and have ZERO idea how the industries economically work. So whenever one hits hard times. It is because of liberals, regulation, and corporate taxation, period, full stop.

Also I read a review of an upcoming book that details a small Ohio town's decent from the American Dream when Anchor Hocking Glass Works was bought and carved up by the Mitt Romney's of this country. The reviewer pointed out the irony that the book points out, a town that went overwhelmingly for Trump, categorically REFUSES to blame the financers who robbed them, "free market capitalism," or political party that made the Leverages Buyout craze of the 1980's possible.


proverbialleadballoon said...

Ah, Southern Illinois, Little Egypt, it really is beautiful down there. Shawnee National Forest, camping, fishing, hunting, there is a lot of outdoors-ey stuff to do down there, in probably the nicest natural surroundings within the borders of Illinois. But what they don't have down that way, are jobs. The highest unemployment rates in IL are in the counties in this area. It used to be coal country, but it's dirty coal, I think that there is still a Continental Tire manufacturing plant in Mt. Vernon. Lots of empty little towns. West Frankfurt's population peaked in the 1930's, at 15,000, now the population is 8,000. Anecdotally, I used to date a woman who was from the area, and when we visited her folks, the town they lived in had one family-owned restaurant, and literally no other employment opportunities. Her dad had one of the peach jobs at the Continental plant.

The median income for a household in West Frankfurt is $25,000, per capita income is $15,000. Demographically, the racial makeup of the town is 98.55% White, 0.13% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.12% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population. (wikipedia) With a little back of the envelope math, Carlos was one of the 62 Hispanic people who live there. Obviously, those 62 Hispanics took all the jobs, caused the area to be half as populated as it was 80 years ago, made the coal dirty and not worth digging out of the ground. At least the fishing is good.

Randle Aubrey said...

Yup...the whole "but he's one of the good ones!" mentality is the exception that proves the rule: people in places like this are as shortsighted and bigoted and cow-dumb as they deny the mainstream press makes them out to be. "Don't take OUR Mexican! We LIKE him!" And they wonder why people like you and I want to drive them into the sea...smh

Davis Statton said...

As has been pointed out before, they don't give a shit abut the consequences of policy until it hits home. Let Nick Kristof give them a shoulder to cry on. I won't.

Robt said...

Just want to say after reading your posts,

Your " TONE " was so much better...........