I like that he does some of the math here. It’s indisputable that workers have to pay taxes and illegals can’t claim a refund, and illegals still have to buy food and gas and rent and so taxes are being paid all over the place without any of it having to go back to the payee. Industry has a ‘good thing going’ by keeping wages low and hiring illegals. Everyone knows it happens and nothing is done about it.
On one side there are people who are dying horribly in the desert, on the others are people who want to keep the desert pristine and free of towers that could save lives. At what point does idealism have to give way to the practicality of reality? Is saving the desert more important than saving lives? But also, how do we keep people from having to go into the desert in the first place?
“And God continued to flog his children with unusual fury” is a good way to put the madness of it all, though I don’t think it’s God but rather each of us doing it. As Malick asked in The Thin Red Line, “who’s killing us?” well, it’s us who’s killing us. At some point we’re going to have to take responsibility for each other.
Giving the survivors jobs and a pass to stay in America is the least we can do, but the price is so high. One of the men has extensive nerve damage and could easily hurt himself in the meat packing plant – and besides, who really wants to work in a meat packing plant – they’ve gone from being baked to being frozen. Though I’m sure they’re grateful for the work.
And that’s the most absurd part, that the $68,000 spent to deal with the dead could have been spent on the living.
There’s an allusion here (maybe unintentional) to Don DeLillo’s ‘Underworld’ when the airplane scrapyard is mentioned while the dead are escorted through town like celebrities. Something about the absurdity of American culture and priorities, but also the weird beauty of the world where so much emphasis is placed on the dead while the living struggle to not die, or at least struggle to be heard and taken seriously.
“The survivors were suddenly paid professional narrators.” “Like all good bards, they embellished and expanded their narratives.” Now they are not walkers, but government employees, star witnesses. The world is a silly, silly place.
It’s the absurdity I love the most here, “women held strange little pitchers to the ends of their [the walkers] penises and collected the dark fluid and whisked it away to peer at in stark rooms”. As if the bodily fluids were more important than the person, or is a person just a collection of bodily fluids, is this a take on Dr. Strangelove and ‘precious bodily fluids’ / ‘purity of essence’?
Ah, bureaucracy – “If an illegal was brought in and turned over for lifesaving purposes, and the Migra had not officially arrested the culprit, the bill immediately was the hospital’s problem.”
Even when they catch the walkers, nobody really wants them.