Veteran U.S. Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) invited derision last week when, in answer to a question about how technology is reducing the need for human workers, he told a radio audience, “My father had a ranch; we used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.” Young soon tried to walk back his bigoted reference to Mexicans, but you can guarantee that during the 2014 election cycle, rival Democrats will use his statement to tar Republicans on a national scale. Even Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), said that “slurs” such as Young’s “do nothing to elevate our party.”
(So much for Republican outreach to Latino voters, eh?)
Maybe it’s only because I have written recently about the death of renowned American illustrator Mitchell Hooks, but the first thing that came to mind when I heard Young’s offensive statement was the 1956 Dell release, Wetback. That edition of William O’Farrell’s “strong, moving story of a woman beyond the protection of the law” featured rather powerful cover art by Hooks, don’t you think?