This piece is first written in the mind.
Or read there before it is written.
Because it is about me, an immigrant, confronting the issues on immigration in the United States at this time that the immigration issues are as hot as the just laddled out mashed potato, without the E, without the S, in the spelling of a vice president of this country not so long ago.
I read the data on the Mexican presidential elections, this Lopez Obrador versus the Fox bet who represents capitalism and elite interest and I can only cry.
Accounts on Mexican migration during the time of the Fox presidency are clear: four million Mexicans left home during those years to find life in the United States alone.
We wonder how many more are in other countries, scratching out a life in strange places as well.
And here, in the U.S., they are talking about putting up wall to the 2,000 miles of border lands between countries, the lands of vast and murderous deserts whose wild winds howl like mad wild dogs in the evenings and whose desert sun could kill even the wilest of a fox, whether he is president of a pack or a lone ranger.
Many still die crossing these deserts; many still are being caught everyday just trying to cross the land with much promise just to get away from a land with no promise left.
The 'masa' canditate gives the prognosis: corruption and corruption, with the fruits of corruption ending in the hands of the opportunists, the elites who have no social conscience, the rich who always want to make a killing in order to corner the wealth of the nation.
The machinations are the same in the homeland.
The plotlines are familiar: the rulers robbing the ruled, the rulers ruling forever in the eternity of time, a time that they have even already owned up.
The class of evil that makes it possible for the idea of im/migration to be worth the pursuit is the same class that we have back there in the home country: the greed of the ruling elite, the greed for more wealth, the greed for more power, the greed for more of the resources at the expense of the poor--the greed in wild abandon, the greed boundless as all forms of greed are.
The Mexicans are leaving their homeland in droves, with or without the formidable deserts in those borders.
The Filipinos are leaving the homeland in droves, with or without the Pacific between the Philippines and the U.S.
You cannot catch the idea of im/migration unless you look into the root causes.
You cannot imprison the idea of making it better here in the United States even if in reality that idea does not happen to all.
An idea moves a mountain and may flatten it to become a valley--or the reverse, as is the case in this bus ride to Williamsburg.
There seem to be no passengers who are born here.
The accents, of various lilt and tone and timber, give away class, origin, ethnic loyalty, even occupation.
I look at them, all of them, all of these passengers on this Greyhound 7176 and they are all like me: migrant, immigrant, alien, stranger.
Some are citizens now but citizenship is a habit of the mind too.
The citizenship paper does tell you all what is in the heart, what songs are there silently being sung in the soul, what contour of a country your chest craves.
And so we take this journey together, we kindred spirits, among Hispanics, among Native Americans, among Blacks running away from themselves.
We are all pilgrims now in this bus ride to Dallas where there we will change bus, where in the changing of bus, we permit our roads to a real, if at all possible, American life, fork to other directions.
I am the only Filipino in this long bus ride.
I look, I look around, and I see, the seeing one of recognition.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 22, 2006