Off to the "Third World":

We're off to Miami to visit family. We should need passports for the trip, according to nativist congressman Tom Tancredo, as he believes Miami is a "Third World country." (I suppose he's writing off the southern Florida vote for his presidential run.)

Contra Tancredo, I find Miami to be wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan. It's an asset to our nation, although I could do without the hurricanes and sauna-like summers.

chrismn (mail):
A popular joke in Costa Rica (according to a Costa Rican friend) is

Friend 1: "Miami is such a nice city."

Friend 2: "And so close to the United States!"

So I guess that makes the population of Costa Rica worse than Tom Tancredo.
12.22.2006 8:48pm
Lindsay (mail):
As someone just completing a clerkship in Miami (today, in fact), take it from me that Miami is, in fact, less cultured than most Third World countries. Any attempt to find decent music or an independent movie theater will prove futile. The hurricanes aren't nearly the worst of it.....
12.22.2006 8:59pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Just arrived in Miami, and had a great dinner. I always have a good time, but I have a good time in the third world too.
12.23.2006 12:16am
A lot of Third World cities are wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan! So what? Is this an argument for the unlimited importation of the population of the Third World?
12.23.2006 12:26pm
Miami resident:
Miami is a place where there are pockets of wealth that are very nice and lots of areas of dire poverty. I was just at dinner with some very nice rich people who were telling me they had no problems with crime from their gated community.

If your implication is that it is only "nativists" (what is wrong with looking out for the well being of those born in America over the well being of those not, exactly?) who say Miami is a third world country, you are quite wrong. I know plenty of quite left-wing people living here in Miami who state that their view of immigration is that: all people in the world have the equal right to immigrate here, and that the point of American immigration policy is to benefit as many non Americans as possible without any thought to what is good for current American citizens. Guess what they say about Miami? "It's just like a third world country!" What they don't do is talk about immigration in the next breath. Because it's not the statement that Miami is like a third world country that is the problem. It's the statement, coupled with a call to stop immigration from third world countries in the idea that America will become more like a third world country if it continues, that is so very offensive.
I also wouldn't count on statements like this writing off Southern Florida altogether. I was watching the local news the day he said it, and they said, do you agree? Go vote online. I did and when I looked over seventy percent voted: "I agree with him!" (I know very well that's not representative sample, just a sign there are indeed local watchers that react positively) There actually are people who live in South Florida that don't like being in a third world country MORE than they don't like the people who speak the truth about it, and want to take steps to stop the rest of America from becoming a third world country too.

I've had several cab drivers complain to me lately for speaking to them in English. What they tell me is, you're in Cuba now, speak Spanish!
12.23.2006 1:44pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Mr. Adler, I think you and Tancredo are both right when it comes to Miami.
12.23.2006 4:57pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Well, 2006 had fewer than average hurricanes, so I suspect you won't be walloped by one over the holidays.
12.24.2006 1:02am
Alas, all residents of Florida were "walloped" by hurricanes this year. Sure, we didn't actually get a storm, but the insurance companies delivered their own nasty 'storm' that is wreaking its own kind of havoc.

Conversation at neighborhood dinner parties this year switched from the cost of rennovations in our historic district to cost of insurance. One neighbor placed his home on the market because the triple-digit increases pushed his mortgage payment out of his budget. Another is selling half of her (double) lot to finance insurance payments. My taxes and insurance are now roughly 1/2 of my principal and interest payments and I've only owned the home for 6 years. I've been notified that my insurance will rise another 70% this year and I live inland on high ground. I cannot imagine what it's like for people in the beaches.

$5,000 per year for homeowner's insurance on 1000sqft homes in lower-middle neighborhoods is one heck of a wallop.
12.26.2006 9:54am