Support for Guest Worker Scheme Shows GOP Still Doesn't Get It

Dear Mexican: In President Bush's State of the Union address, he reiterated a need for a guest worker program. What is your opinion of such a program? UNA GUERITA POR UN MUNDO SIN MUROS

Dear Gabachita for a World Without Border Walls: Sorry I'm answering your question — what, five years later? ¿Siete? But the sad part about my laziness is that the question remains relevant, and what Republicans once dismissed as Aztlanista claptrap from the mouth of Dubya (who will remain the best GOP friend to Mexis we'll ever have — mark my palabras) is now the gospel they're preaching after the disaster that was their outreach efforts to Latinos during the 2012 presidential election. It's been absolutamente HILARIOUS to see Republicans wake up and smell the tacos, to see them lamely prop up Florida Senator Marco Rubio as a presidential candidate, to see gabacho pundits ask themselves what Latino voters want without having a Latino on their panels or asking said voters, and — most laughably — the idea of resurrecting the guest-worker program. Conservatives love the idea of having Mexicans work cheaply but not being able to become citizens, but for the last time, America: Mexicans are not just workers; they're humans who'll notice living conditions are better here and will want to stay.

I was with some cousins for a week in Lindsay, a major orange-picking city in Central California. They own a mini-market, and I'd go and help them every day and got to know some customers. Many of the Mexican customers would come in and yell "Agooshtoo" or "wey" to me and my cousins, and we'd yell it back and they would smile and get their beer. When they would leave they would say "a rato" and we'd yell it back. I asked my cousins but they didn't really know much except that the first two were probably curse words. Any help?


Ask a Mexican


Dear Gabacho: "Wey" is easy — they're saying güey, which is the "ass" of Mexican Spanish, even though it derives from the word for "ox." But it's not a fighting word, and you and your primos should be honored — Mexi men use güey as a form of endearment among each other. "Agooshtoo" sounds like a gusto (to be at ease), but it very well could be an indigenous language like Mixtec or Triqui, since the Central Valley is home to tens of thousands of folks from Oaxaca. "A rato" is the elided form of al rato, which means "later."


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