DRM in Mississippi
My shirt was sticky with sweat, as were most of the other shirts I spied around me. This included the shirts of 3 guys with microphone recorders, 3 large professional cameras, 2 smaller amateurish cameras and no less than 2 pretty women with microphones, heels digging deep into the dirt, being followed around by a guy with a large camera on his shoulder. It was Mississippi, a notoriously sticky place, and we were all in the sun on some grass, across the street from a country club. There were signs and chanting, which quickly turned into one DREAMer feeling like she was going to pass out in the heat. We were on a small, green hill, surrounded by roaring highway. Across the street, Romney’s latest country club fundraiser was being held.
A reporter for the SF Enquirer once told me that to make local news, you need to do something different. For example, a pro-immigration rally doesn’t garner much press in San Fran, however, the Westboro Baptist Church coming to town will get every camera from FOX News’ best to iPhones to colonoscopes. This may be why we were able do draw so many cameras, while an occasional redneck driving by flipped us off, screaming obscenities which I imagine are common in Mississippi.
While Willard was inside charming a few million out of Fifi, Miffy, Lexus and anyone else
who has either owned or purchased a chihuahua damned to spend its life in a purse, DRM and local DREAMers were outside demonstrating. We were on the opposite end of the street, but the chasm was obvious: it was a bunch of undocumented immigrants standing opposite a country club full of rich white people. One of the demonstrators, Jacky, helps to give a stark contrast about the characters on each side that is often neglected at the debate.
Jacky was brought to the U.S. from El Salvador as a child, and is, having just turned 18, working in a restaurant to support herself and living on her own while trying to save a little for college. With the death of her aunt, she’s been on her own now for the past year, and will be moving back to Alabama for a job and inexpensive place to live. Ask her what’s fun to do in Mississippi and she’ll tell you she has no clue, she’s working all the time.
Inside the country club, Lexus, 27, is cutting a hundred thousand dollar check with money he didn’t earn because daddy thought it would be a good opportunity, and the photo will look great on his desk. Lexus hasn’t quite found a job since graduating from business school, but whenever he was between jobs his trust fund always took care of him. He’s never had to actually dip into “his” money to pay for his apartment because he’s got enough to get by in some decent style with the trust fund, in addition to some cash here and there his parents and grandparents give him, so every last penny he actually earns goes to pot, travel, hookers, blow, etc. His sweet crib and newest car cost more than most of our educations.
Lexus, both in this country club and every country club across the country, wants to make sure his grandfather can leave all $20 million to him without taxes. Not everyone in the country club will actually benefit alongside him, but they’ll all sign on and donate, it’s “their team;” GO TEAM COUNTRY CLUB!!! Jacky, meanwhile, wants the opportunity to continue to provide for herself as a young woman with nobody to depend upon for support.
Outside, while our shirts stick more and more, a man in a pickup flips Jacky off as she sits down, a bit faint from the Mississippi sun and humidity. It’s the strongest, heat and humidity I’ve ever felt it. Inside the expensively chilled building, they eat cake. It’s not hard to figure out who Romney’s trying to help, and it’s neither Jacky, nor the redneck flipping her off.