Lessons From The Painter

Yesterday afternoon a painter arrived to finish up the offices. Instead of a Mayan, it was a middle-aged white woman. She was very cheery and very chatty. While she was working, she mentioned to me that she is learning Spanish so she can communicate with the workers her boss keeps hiring. I noticed some resentment, but she did her best to mask it, as standing up for yourself in cultural matters is so forbidden.

She then mentioned that the Hispanics call her “punta.” She happily informed me it means “bitch” in Spanish. I was not about to correct her on the matter. What would have been the point? She was happier thinking it was a sort of grudging compliment and I was happy to have her pissed off at me for explaining it to her. Those interested in the real meaning of that word can look it up on their own.

Later she informed me that learning Spanish has led to some of employees using “mung” instead of Spanish. She meant Mam, which is a Mayan dialect. She did not say it, but I got the impression she was not happy about it. The whole point of leaning Spanish was to help these people and now they were deliberately throwing a wrench in the works. So much for the idea that these people want to assimilate.

Here’s something she mentioned that perked my ears up. This women had been open minded about these people coming here, despite the obvious cultural issues. What really changed her mind is this. It was ObamaCare. She said to me as she was leaving that it was ridiculous to let all of these people in just so they could “go on our insurance. That’s all they want when they come here, ObamaCare.”

There was no trace of resentment in the use of the term “ObamaCare.” My guess is she probably thought it was a good idea. Whether libertarians like it or not, most people are comfortable with the government making sure everyone can get health care. America is a socialist country and everyone is OK with it as long as no one says it. And that’s what bugged this woman. It was having to share this blessing with strangers.

It reminded me of the way Alaskans think of some new comers to their state. They are suspicious that the new people just want to start collecting from the Permanent Fund, the money from oil rights distributed to Alaska citizens. They have no reason to make that the default assumption, but they are covetous of the fund. It is their oil and their money. They correctly see that the more people getting a check, the smaller the checks.

Democrats have spent so much time convincing people that insurance is a natural resource to be shared by everyone, a lot of people believe it. As a result they are covetous of it. They are right to be. You cannot have a generous welfare benefits and open borders. Most likely, you simply cannot have generous welfare benefits under any circumstances, but you certainly cannot have them with open borders.

Another possibility is ObamaCare has put everyone in touch with the welfare state, thus making everyone more aware of it. “Our” health care system is now more personal than when it was just your insurance. A year ago, few Americans knew much about the welfare system, other than it existed. It was not for them, it was for those other people, but now it is for everyone, so people feel like they own it now.

Anyway, it was a bit of an eye opener. It could just be one crazy painter, but I suspect ObamaCare has unleashed a lot of strange currents into the culture that will begin showing up in the ballot box this fall. There’s a strong possibility that the Obama years will be seen as the unleashing of all sorts of cultural, racial and society forces that had been held in check for a very long time. ObamaCare uncorked a lot.