A parody: Guess-who on guess-what

Frank Gannon

September 29, 1993|By Frank Gannon

I'd like to take a moment to talk about NAFTA.

That's the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Now you might not even know what this is, so let me tell you about it.

What NAFTA does is let everybody go to Mexico and stay there. Now I like Mexico. It's a nice place to visit. But what NAFTA does is send all our business down there while at home all our American workers stand around looking at each other.

But the way these NAFTA supporters are painting it, we'll all get new high-paying jobs to replace the ones that go to Mexico.

Think about that for a minute. Sure makes a pretty picture. I've got a pretty picture over my fireplace. It's the ocean. And here are all these sea gulls, and the sun is setting.

I like that picture. But if someone told me that the sun was setting on the ocean in there, I'd call the mental hospital.

Let me get out this chart. It shows what Mexican workers get paid vs. what American workers get. What this chart shows us is basically a question.

Do you want to work for a nickel an hour? I didn't think so.

I think that the big question right now is, Can things get worse, or are they already as bad as they can possibly be? If things are as bad as they can get, then what?

Are we going to stand around with our hands in our pockets and whistle "Sweet Sue" and look the other way and say tomorrow's another day, it's not my fault, I have to go out and buy alligator shoes? What then?

I want you to stop right now, get down on your hands and knees and creep on in and look at your children.

I want you to look at their tiny faces and think, Do we really want to give our tiny little children all curled up in their beds a world where things are gone to hell and all we thought about was alligator shoes and what kind of expense-account lunch we can get for our scrawny, miserable selves?

Let's stop fooling ourselves. We all know what time it is. It's way too late for pretty speeches and then we spend four more years scratching for fleas.

It's time to wake up, wash our face, get dressed, hike up our britches and get busy as hell.

Think back to when you were a tiny little child. Remember when the teacher would give you some problems to do.

And you didn't say: "Teacher, this problem is going to require further study, so we're going to form a committee and stand around with our hands in our pockets while flies buzz around our heads. It's going to take 10 years to do this problem what is two plus two."

You're damn right you didn't say that. I'm here to say that it doesn't take 10 years. Four. That's the answer. Next question.

It's time to put our house in order, time to sweep out the barns. Time to take out the goat and hang him by his neck until he's dead. Time to stop the willie-wallie Southern slang and get down in the trenches.

Time is no longer our friend. We used to be on friendly terms with time, but those days are long gone, my friend. Now time is big and ugly and it's ready to chew you up and spit you out like a peach pit.

Aren't you sick of being treated like a piece of play dough -- getting all balled up and then left out of the container to get all hard and useless?

And that's just what they want to do with this NAFTA thing. They're telling you that there's going to be candy and nuts, but what we're really getting is a bunch of Mexican workers who want to do your job for a nickel an hour while everybody in Washington gets nice new alligator shoes.

Where I come from that's not a good deal.

Frank Gannon is author of the forthcoming "All About Man," a collection of humor.

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