Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


The Servant Problem

The difficulty with the help these days is that so often they turn out to be illegal. What was once a “nanny problem” for American office seekers has spread out from the nursery and across the Atlantic, where it recently toppled Mark Harper, who was – and I am not kidding – the immigration minister of Great Britain . . . until he discovered that his house cleaner of six years was an illegal immigrant. He fired her and resigned in “embarrassment” from the cabinet – too tainted to continue as point man for the Conservative government’s “go home” campaign, whose mission to rid the land of undesirables is embedded in its name. If it weren’t for their power to do evil, the lack of self-awareness of so many political leaders would be comical: Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the sponsor of legislation for abstinence-only education, turns up on a hooker’s telephone log; Newt Gingrich carries on an eight-year affair with a staffer while leading the charge to impeach Bill Clinton; Larry Flynt outs the affair of Gingrich’s lieutenant Bob Livingston in Hustler magazine; Idaho Senator Larry Craig calls Clinton “a nasty, bad, naughty boy,” then gets arrested in an airport men’s toilet.

So as Speaker Boehner, under pressure from his Tea Party wing to turn back the “illegal invasion,” again jettisons immigration reform, I encourage our political leaders to carefully check their servants’ papers. For as Mitt Romney could have told Mark Harper, a good yard boy is hard to find.

Beyond Chocolate

Lords of the Lash