Saturday, September 17, 2022

Islands of Hypocrisy

Before moving to Florida, Diane and I spent 25 years in a wonderful old home in Harwich Port on Cape Cod. A large 11-room home — what we liked to call “11 one-room houses hammered together over almost 200 years” — it was perfect for us and our four children. In truth, though, it evolved into a 25-year fixer-upper, probably why I got such a good deal when I bought it. But despite its shortcomings, it fulfilled all three of the real estate industry’s key priorities: location, location, and location. We were blessed to live close to the water so our children could take a two-minute walk to a beautiful, sandy beach on Nantucket Sound. Our quaint village’s downtown was also a short walk from our home, and the local library was just around the corner. Although it was a nice place to live, we could not afford to stay there in retirement, and so we made our way to Florida.

Across the water, almost due south of our former home, is Nantucket Island, made famous by Herman Melville’s brilliant 1851 novel, Moby Dick. Today, however, Nantucket is perhaps better known as the home of our younger son, Brendan, an electrician who helps the elites keep their lights on and power their Internet connections with their brokers. Nantucket is also the home — okay, one of the homes — of many so-called celebrities. For example, John Kerry, our nation’s climate czar, has a rather large home on Nantucket which he visits seasonally in his private jet. I can’t say for sure, but considering how much time he spends jetting around the world to ensure the peasants freeze in the winter and suffer heatstroke in the summer, I assume he must own the world’s only electric airplane. After all, if he owned a real jet that consumed thousands of gallons of jet fuel and polluted our upper atmosphere…well, that would be sheer hypocrisy. But as it turns out, Kerry is no stranger to hypocrisy, a trait he demonstrated  years before when he “served” on swift boats in Vietnam, shopped for medals, and then publicly denigrated has fellow veterans. If you want the truth about Kerry’s Vietnam service, read John O’Neill’s book, Unfit for Command. O’Neill, a true hero and my Naval Academy classmate, lifts the veil behind which Kerry tried to hide that truth. Today, though, Czar Kerry is a beloved Nantucket resident, a kind of town character who loves to ask the tourists such questions as, “Do you know who I am?” as he exercises head-of-the-line privileges at the local coffee shop. Always generates lots of laughs.

But enough about Nantucket. There’s another island across Nantucket Sound, this one southwest of our former home, and it’s called Martha’s Vineyard, or simply “The Vineyard” by those in the know. It too is the summer home of many of our nation’s wealthiest elites, and in this it surely eclipses Nantucket. If you’ve never visited the island, and think it might be nice to vacation there next summer, I suggest you first download the Zillow app, search for Martha’s Vineyard, and check out the home values in Edgartown or Chilmark. Then take a moment to check the summer rates for hotels and B&Bs. You’ll quickly discover that Martha’s Vineyard really isn’t for folks like you and me. The homes are both amazing and amazingly expensive, with very few valued under $1 million and many worth far more. The island is also home to those hard-working folks who must keep all those expensive homes running and beautiful. Other men and women provide the societal infrastructure that allows the wealthy to enjoy their summers. Because it’s not easy to find affordable housing, many workers commute on the ferry from mainland Cape Cod or live with others in temporary quarters provided by employers. Yes, indeed, Martha’s Vineyard is really for the wealthy elites.

Although it pretends to be an earthly paradise for the select, Martha’s Vineyard lacks one thing: undocumented migrants, those we once called illegal aliens. This is true of most wealthy communities, regardless of location. Of course, island businesses import plenty of foreign nationals every summer to staff hotels, restaurants, and landscaping firms, but they’re all sent home on Labor Day. Good heavens! If they stay any longer, they might just decide to settle in permanently. 

The difference between places like Martha’s Vineyard and the communities spread out along our southern border is striking. In the latter you will encounter thousands of migrants. Indeed, thousands cross the border every day and inundate these border communities which are far from wealthy. Many, probably most, citizens of these border cities and towns have Latin American roots and are not pleased with the local consequences of this border crisis. Interestingly, the Democrats now wonder why so many of these folks are deserting their party. 

Although the immigration policies of the federal government are the direct cause of our unsecured, open border, that same government has done little to solve its self-generated problems. Deadly drugs like fentanyl, that originate in Communist China and are processed by Mexican drug cartels, pour across the border daily and kill thousands of young Americans. The cartels also engage in widespread and highly profitable human trafficking resulting in the unspeakable degradation of so many woman and children. Closing the border would certainly help, but the Biden administration wants an open border, since it assumes these illegal immigrants will give thanks by voting for Democrats in future elections. Since many migrants come here to escape the despotic socialist governments of their native countries, I suspect they will be far more likely to vote for candidates who represent freedom rather than tyranny. The very fact that they’ve risked everything, even their lives, to get here shows they’re not stupid. And only stupid people vote against their own best interests.

Let me share a recent experience. I bought a new clothes dryer the other day and the two installers were immigrants from Venezuela. These two bright, hard-working young men told me they came here to escape the socialism that has all but destroyed their native land.  Both arrived only a couple of years ago. Both are husbands and new fathers and hope their children will grow up in freedom. I heard the same last week from a young repairman who came here from Cuba only last year. How they will vote is no mystery.

But the elites don’t understand this. To display their virtue, wealthy liberals, safely tucked away in their gated compounds and island retreats, like to describe their communities as sanctuaries open to all migrants, so long as none actually show up on their doorstep. (The Martha’s Vineyard welcome sign below is a popular yard sign on the island.)

This NIMBY attitude was clearly manifested this week when Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis flew 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Unlike President Biden, who has flown tens of thousands of migrants to destinations all over the country and has consistently done so under the cover of darkness, DeSantis and the other Republican border state governors hide nothing and fly or bus migrants openly. The reaction from liberals? DeSantis must be a Nazi and Biden is obviously a saint. Oh, yes, the city of El Paso, Texas, run by Democrat politicians, is also busing migrants to New York, but about this we hear nothing but silence from the northern Democrats. Go figure! 

Remarkably, Martha’s Vineyard’s civic leaders stated they simply don’t have the resources to care for these 50 migrants. This from one of the wealthiest communities in the country, an island with thousands of empty hotel rooms now that the tourist season is over. So, what did they do? The next day the governor of Massachusetts ordered the National Guard to remove these 50 migrants and transport them to a military base on Cape Cod. Problem solved! The pesky brown folks from Venezuela are now off the island and the elites can relax knowing their beloved Vineyard will not be contaminated by actual migrants. They seemingly prefer the virtual migrants who reside on their yard signs. Racism and hypocrisy remain alive and well. 

Just to emphasize this, NBC's media outlet posted the following tweet about the Florida governor's actions:
"Florida Gov. DeSantis sending asylum-seekers to Martha's Vineyard is like 'me taking my trash out and just driving to different areas where I live and just throwing my trash there," a founding member of a foundation that helps refugees says."

Oh, yes, those trashy migrants certainly don't belong on Martha's Vineyard. As you might expect, the backlash was significant, and NBC deleted the tweet. 

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