Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ben Reyes: You Can’t Go Home Again, According to UH Sociologist

We enjoyed the coverage of the relaxed, remorseful and clear-eyed Ben Reyes’ release from a Houston halfway house on Friday, although we’re wondering what happened to that old-man’s ponytail he was sporting when he was cut loose from the Big House earlier this year. (Maybe it’s just us, but did we not detect a glint in the old boy’s eye?)

Whatever you think about the FBI-stung former councilman, you’ve got to admire the way Reyes manned-up and did his time, without whining about the injustice of it all (at least publicly, as far as we know---we weren’t his cellmate). We hope he lands that construction job he wants, although being a citizen of the United States may render him unqualified for the work.

The Houston Chronicle, in effort to invest the occasion with more gravity than it demanded, engaged the services of Nestor Rodriguez, the University of Houston sociologist and quote-generating mechanism who’s becoming known in some quarters as “the Poor Man’s Bob Stein” (y’know, he’s a liberal arts perfesser---a Hispanic one, to boot---and in the Chronicle handbook liberal arts perfesser=”smart” and “knowledgeable,” on any and all subjects) to add some supposed perspective. According to Rodriguez
"It's a different Houston than when Ben Reyes started as a councilmember … It's more of a global city than it was before. Almost half of our Hispanic population now is foreign-born. There are leaders in the immigrant community now that don't even identify now with the U.S. political structure" [emphasis added].
Whoa, daddy. What you say?

Now, we don’t necessarily buy the truthiness of that observation. In fact, we hope the perfesser knows jack-squat of which he speaks. But we fear that he’s indeed right, or thereabouts, and we assume the “structure” with which these immigrant community leaders identify is the one south of the border, the one that barely supports the underpinnings of a civil society, the one in the land of la mordida and beheadings and kidnappings and round-the-clock unrest in the streets and melees at the presidential inaugural.

And they wonder why we’re pissed off about illegal immigration.

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