The Martha's Vineyard sideshow
Let's be clear: the open border, the "immigration" crisis, the entire brouhaha around and about this issue, is the orphan child of a bipartisan failure of our government, primarily of the Congress, but ultimately of the entire elite, entitled, self-seeking individuals endowed with the power — if not the desire or intelligence — to create a solution.
This utter inability to govern in a reasonable way has percolated down to every level of our wounded society with deleterious effects just as pervasive. But the instant problem is how the current commentary and debate has been muddied by warped "facts," misperceptions, and the usual spin from the legacy media. On most of these, there is little I can add to the conversation. However, as a longtime resident of the island (not to be considered an "islander," as my grandfather had not been born here, according to real islanders), there are some actual facts that can be substantiated.
Firstly, this was a stunt by Gov. Desantis to make an obvious point. If these people are to be foisted upon Florida, why not the island? Why not Kamala Harris's sidewalk? Why not tony (a word quite ubiquitous in this discussion) M.V.? Indeed, why not?
The answer is obvious: there is plenty of room here for multifamily slums or shanty towns or tony apartments, as one may choose to build. Significantly, those who would have to make room, change their zoning laws and regulations, and rub shoulders with Venezuela's castaways are truly — at least 70% of them — the ones who are supporting this program by their vote and their advocacy.
Instead, they congratulate themselves for being so opening, so welcoming, so accommodating as someone with the governor's cell phone number quietly asks him to solve the problem — which he does, with (reportedly) 125 National Guard soldiers and a couple of buses, encouraging another campaign contribution, no doubt. Isn't that what it's all about?
Yes, there is a very real housing crisis on the island, as no house can be had here for less than one million dollars, and the ones unoccupied by their absent owners are either wealthy enough to hold it for their occasional use or access the extremely remunerative option offered by Airbnb, which has decimated year-round rental availability. Thus, working-class individuals are forced off the island, either for good or to a burdensome and unreliable commute. The island's top-down solution of affordable housing cannot touch the extent of the problem. Consequently, and as a result of the government handout culture that has been engendered by the same folks who cannot regulate immigration, workers are impossible to find for those of us seeking them.
There is an extensive immigrant population here, mostly Brazilians and Jamaicans, largely illegals, who fill the dire need for labor at the margins. They form separate communities, housed by the industrious ones who were the first to arrive and use their prosperity to acquire housing before prices skyrocketed and now pack them with their well paid countrymen. But that opportunity has now mostly closed, except for the ones who circulate to replace the ones who follow their remittances back home. There is very little integration as they keep their own language, company, and community.
The problem in this whole approach to immigrants is a lack of any love of country, as they are here only to milk it for the benefits and return home relatively wealthy. Without their assimilation, the exercise for those of us who remain is suicidal. We are burdened with a ruling class who have been schooled to hate our great nation, a hate they channel for their own aggrandizement alone.
Yes, we are lucky, we are tony, we are privileged to live on this beautiful island; we are the ones who arrived long ago with very little and through effort and persistence earned a place here to call our own. It is a gift I had hoped to give my children with no apologies. Yet it is a place slowly degrading into woke virtue-signaling and cancel culture, where is it hard to find an open mind to exchange ideas with. The myopia, the self-congratulating entitlement of those quite used to getting their own way that has so recently been on full display to the embarrassment of many of us, makes me unsure if such a gift would not be more burden than benefit.
Image: Norman Einstein.