My housekeeper personifies the American Dream.  Her journey from rags may not have ended in riches.  But she now enjoys a solid middle-class existence after decades of backbreaking labor.  Born and raised in the Mexican state of Puebla, Laura married her first and only boyfriend, Daniel, in her late teens.  The newlyweds moved in with Daniel’s parents and four siblings right after their wedding, both to save money and to allow Daniel to finish college.  But the barren Pueblan landscape bore a metaphorical resemblance to the sluggish late 1980’s Mexican malaise.  Even if he were to stay in college to earn his accounting degree, Daniel saw a grim future in Puebla’s struggling economy.  With a naiveté that seems all the more endearing each time I hear the story, Laura loves to explain the plan she and Daniel concocted to escape their suffocating nuptial abode and lack of opportunity.  They agreed that Daniel would emigrate to the United States, work for one year, and then return home with unimaginable wealth.  To carry out her half of the scheme, Laura would stay in Puebla to locate a plot of choice real estate upon which they would construct their very own family compound while Daniel was stuffing cash in his pockets in the U.S.  Children, grandchildren, and a life of leisure would keep them busy for the rest of their lives.

Not surprisingly, six months into their grand plan Laura found herself en route to the United States to join her husband’s subsistence existence.  But their life did eventually improve.  Skip ahead 30 years and Laura is now the proud mother of two daughters, one of whom, Daniela, just completed her master’s degree, funded by her mother’s years of housekeeping, her father’s years of waiting tables, and her own labors as a nanny and cashier.  Daniela’s younger sister, Roxanna, is halfway down that exact same career path.  Laura’s eyes well up with tears of pride—and I will be honest, mine do, too—when she tells me in reflective moments, “Marcos, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be an American citizen and to have raised my daughters here.  The only thing I ever wanted was for my children to have a better life than I had.  And I did it.”

Daniela recently started her career as a grade-school teacher at one of the dwindling Catholic schools in Queens.  Laura’s and Daniel’s combined effort has paid off.  Now that her daughters’ careers have reached escape velocity, Laura dreams of the success her new grandson Daniel, Daniela’s son, will one day attain.  I take undeserved vicarious pleasure in the success of Laura and her family, knowing the wages I paid her have helped produce quality Americans who are making this country a better place.  And if this sappy story hasn’t turned your stomach just yet, then this tidbit will certainly make you reach for a slop bucket.  Laura’s professionalism and care during my six months of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments for Stage 4 throat cancer convinced me she deserves beatification.  Seriously.  She performed the miracle of reminding this cynical curmudgeon, every day as I suffered and snarled at the world, that my condition would improve and that my new life would be better than before.  She would tell me every Monday of how she and her sisters had prayed to the Virgen de Guadalupe and requested Mass be said in my name the preceding Sunday.  Best of all, to cheer me up she would entertain me daily with pictures and videos of baby Daniel, whom she nicknamed “León,” the Mexican lion.  If I don’t owe her my life, which I probably do, I certainly owe her my sanity.  She’s Clara Barton, Mother Theresa, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale all rolled up into one.  An angel flew from Puebla, Mexico, to New York City in 1988 and landed in my apartment.  I can’t express my gratitude to her except through money and grammatically imperfect praise en español.  If every Mexican immigrant were of the quality and humane disposition of Laura and her husband, I would drive down to the U.S.-Mexico border and tear down the wall with my own bare hands.

But Laura slipped in my estimation this past week.  One morning she arrived, fed the dogs before taking them to Central Park, and breathlessly asked me, “Marcos, did you see those pandilleros [gangsters] murdered someone on the subway yesterday?”  Crime is just one of the costs of living in New York, so I didn’t understand her concerned tone.  She went on: “The shooting happened at the subway station where Daniela lives.”  Now I got it.  A matriarch feared for the safety of her daughter, son-in-law, and toddler grandson.  The vicious shooting even registered with President Trump, who remarked in his State of the Union address,

The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border.  Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City.

For the average New Yorker, the truth behind the shooting took days to emerge, like a child slowly opening progressively smaller Matryoshka dolls.  The first news reports mentioned a generic deadly shooting on a Queens subway platform.  Later, police informed us the shooter was wearing a scarf, a key clue to help the public identify a cold-blooded murderer.  Finally, they announced the shooting was gang-related, a surprise to no one, least of all Laura.  Each of these reports only served to inflame the shrinking remnant of New Yorkers who don’t like crime, whether it be violent attacks or immigration law violations or, as it turned out in this case, both.  A video of the shooting had gone viral.  Forget about the irrelevant scarf.  Anyone with an Internet connection could discern the obvious criminal profiles after one viewing of the graphic tape.  By the time the NYPD fessed up and unveiled the final little Matryoshka doll of truth, the details followed an all-too-recognizable pattern.  The shooter, Ramiro Gutierrez, a Salvadoran national and member in good standing of MS-13, illegally roaming the streets of America, was out free on $2,500 bail.  Last December, authorities had indicted Gutierrez and 11 other MS-13 members “on various charges including attempted murder and conspiracy, in addition to drug and weapons charges,” according to ICE, the archenemy of Alexander the Great Ocasio-Cortez and Spartacus Booker.  Gutierrez had 13 previous arrests in the United States.

I doubt the Queens shooting registered with my neighbors on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, except for their umbrage at President Vladimir Trump’s mention of it for what their lizard brains tell them were obviously demagogic ends.  Why should they care about a shooting on the 7 Train, the subway line John Rocker immortalized with his supposedly racist quotes in Sports Illustrated?  After all, Queens is that yucky place where we Manhattanites board planes to fly over the rest of the United States.  Queens is where our nannies go after they’re done telling our children we really do love them, but we can’t be there for dinner, ever, because our career ambitions take precedence over their happy childhood.  We try to coach our nannies to dissuade our children from correctly concluding their caretaker functions as post-natal birth control.  But we can’t find anyone to translate that message into Tagalog.  And as TV history teaches us, Queens is that horrible Alt-Right wasteland where Archie Bunker, the proto-Trump, tortured his enlightened son-in-law, Meathead, who probably would have been more comfortable on the even-more-liberal Upper West Side.

So I wish Laura would “dummy up,” as Archie used to shout when reprimanding “Dingbat,” his wife, Edith, and stop pestering me about crime in her daughter’s hood.  No one’s getting past my two Upper East Side doormen and doing me any harm.  As one of my enlightened friends remarked when we discussed the crime and I suggested New York’s sanctuary-city policy might have played a part, “So you are against states’ rights, and [a] federalist jackboot should be on the neck of all state citizens?”  Sane observers will note that illegal aliens aren’t citizens.  But undeterred, he chirped in quicker than an ACLU lawyer, “The courts have consistently ruled that the law applies to all persons, not just citizens, in these cases.”  For New Yorkers who write texts like that, crime is a mere abstraction, a social problem that provides fodder for dinner-party debate.  They don’t experience violent crime firsthand.  Hence, crime in New York doesn’t exist.  Laura can go suck an egg.  Upper East Siders, too busy tallying up the days on their calendars to ensure they spend at least half the year in Florida in order to avoid paying New York city and state taxes, could not care less about crime that affects New Yorkers who don’t play squash.

Maybe it’s my chronic chemotherapy fog, but paranoia seems to have set in after Laura’s intersectionally insensitive and politically incorrect reaction to the shooting.  Now I fear she might show up for work one morning carrying the New York Post or, even worse, wearing a MAGA hat.  Let it be known that I, as her employer, will not put up with such insensitive behavior.  Should she be so bold, I will retaliate.  I plan to buy a Native American elk-hide tom-tom that I will beat with one of my dog’s leftover bones, all just six inches from her face.  If she stands there impassively in her unsafe red hat and has the gall to smirk while I chant local Mohican incantations, I will bring my two dogs into the fight.  I will cover them with wolf skins and order them to circle her during my mesmerizing mantra.  I will tranquilize my two cats and stack them one on top of the other to create a talismanic feline totem pole.  And if need be, I will call in the Black Israelites to shout misogynist curses while I call down the Native American spirits of social justice upon her and her offensive headgear.  No legal immigrant concerned about “undocumented” murderers out on bail is going to turn my wigwam into Trump’s 2020 Manhattan Election Headquarters.

There are several simple solutions to Laura’s concern about her daughter living in MS-13’s line of fire.  Thanks to her new first-grade teacher’s salary, Daniela could move out of her one-bedroom Queens apartment and into a three-bedroom doorman apartment on the Upper East Side.  Prices have weakened of late, so we’re only talking about three million dollars for a decent pad where her mother could visit León during her lunch breaks.  And if Daniela prefers space for León to play outdoors, then she might consider the leafy suburbs of Westchester County.  Chappaqua is particularly nice.  And particularly safe.  The town benefits from the 24/7 armed Secret Service agents protecting the Clintons’ walled compound.  An MS-13 gangbanger rampaging around the streets of Chappaqua would stick out like a taxpayer at a Kamala Harris campaign rally.  For seven million dollars Daniela could settle into an 11,000-square-foot, new construction McMansion in The Land of Uniformly High SAT Scores.  Honestly, all my friends from my days on Wall Street do this.  Why doesn’t she?  And if she opts not to move, she should just take Uber to work so her mother can perform better in my household, free of the worries of crime plaguing her daughter’s new neighborhood.  My friends and I take Uber everywhere.  Even with surge pricing it beats bumping up against dust-covered construction workers or sleeping fast-food restaurant employees as they make their way back to the Bronx and Queens on the plebeian subway.  And if you game it right, sometimes Uber Luxe is cheaper than Uber’s economy line.  How can Daniela not know that?  What exactly is she doing during her lunch breaks at the little struggling Catholic grammar school if she’s not looking at high-end real-estate listings or gaming Uber’s tech platform?  Everyone I know is doing it.  Surely my neighbor and fellow Chronicles writer Taki can teach me how to deal with uppity, preoccupied staff and their silly familial concerns if they don’t resolve this before I get my tax refund.

Perhaps Laura needs a good talking to from Nancy Pelosi.  “Crumbs” could lecture Laura that her worries about crime are not just overblown but culturally insensitive, before the Speaker scurries past the armed guards manning the entrance to her office in the Capitol.  Or maybe New York’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio can repeat his January 29, 2017, ungrammatical remarks to Jake Tapper, when he whined, “Let’s say someone went through a stop sign, they could be deported for that and their family could be torn apart.”  No one in the history of the United States has ever been deported for going through a stop sign.  Not once, ever.  Imagine a prosecutor asking a judge, “Your honor, the people of the State of New York request that Mr. Myles Standish be deported for running a stop sign.”  I can picture the judge descending from the bench to slap the prosecutor for felonious stupidity.  Deportees get sent back for breaking our immigration laws, not for running stop signs.  DeBlasio has mastered the lawyerly art of inferential lying, and he didn’t even attend law school.

But what if the next gangbanger at that same subway stop misses his target and mistakenly kills Daniela?  Who would step in to help the poor, almost entirely immigrant, students Daniela has made it her life’s mission to educate in order to escape the nightmare of their local public schools?  Who would tell León his mother died because certain politicians, and even more so their aloof, wealthy constituents in New York’s richest precincts, didn’t think crime in their neighborhood mattered?  The number of my Upper East Side neighbors who have ever ridden the 7 Train past Daniela’s stop in Queens is probably as infinitesimally small as the number of Hillary Clinton voters who ever played a contact sport.  But worst of all, who would comfort Laura for the rest of her life as she lamented that her American Dream had now become her American Nightmare?