Traitorous Jeb Bush and Ken Mehlman have penned a piece in support of the current illegal immigration bill. I know, I know, they’re Bushies and not to be trusted, but I’m putting it out there for you to read, if you haven’t already.
I feel a rant coming on…and probably many de-linkings from the right. This may be a multi-parter.
Does anyone remember a while back, when “The Minute Men” were going to shame the nation and President Bush into building a wall and settling the problem of illegal Mexican immigrants pouring through our borders?
President Bush caught a lot of hell from the far-right for using the word “vigilantes” (and that was a perfectly precise use of the word, by the way – these people kept “vigil”):
“I am against vigilantes in the United States of America; I am for enforcing law in rational ways,” Bush said during a press briefing with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
I thought the movement was a good-intention that would not be able to make a difference, mostly because the folks at the head of it seemed a little too slick, a little too comfortable with the posture of a flim-flam fella. I also thought (and this won’t surprise you) that the President was correct – that any president would be correct – to discourage this “taking the law into our own hands” mentality.
Okay, please – stop now – don’t start sputtering at me that “President Bush hasn’t done enough to enforce the law since he made that statement“; granted.
But when President Bush had a congress and senate on his side and started talking about fixing the immigration problem, what did you do? You started screaming “no amnesty! Ship them all back! They’re criminals! Make them come in legally! If you don’t agree you’re a traitor!”. Then you killed anything constructive that might have occurred by scaring the easily-scared house GOP and listening to rabble-rousing and demagoguery designed by some to weaken the president, by others to promote themselves and by still others to pull the party ever-rightward into the pretend paradise of party purity.
A year later, you’re still screaming the same stuff, and accusing the president of treason. The Democrats are in charge, the president is appreciably weakened, probably a few 100,000 more illegals have come into the country while you’ve demanded solutions – and rejected all of them as unworkable – while holding out for perfection, offering only spiteful snark instead of serious alternative solutions.
You were offered porridge and threw that off the table demanding ice-cream. Now you’re getting gruel. Hey, don’t blame the first cook; porridge was at least nutritious.
Have you had enough stamping the feet? Are you ready to sit down, now, and be practical and pragmatic? It might be too late, though. The Democrats have the steam to push through a plan they prefer and they got some of that steam from you, and your tantrums. Yes, the bill from last year, the one you screamed down, was better than this year’s. You might be able to ring a few phones and demand from your representatives “something better than this,” it’s worth a try, if you are serious about getting something done.
But the legislators you connect with may well say, “hey, we were in a stronger position last year, with a better bill, and you took it out of our hands.” They might even get biblical and try, “We sang you a jig and you wouldn’t dance, now we have this dirge…and maybe we all mourn.”
Well, I doubt they’d say that last part, actually. But they might say the first.
Let’s start here and work our way backwards, if we must. Gerald at Closed Cafeteria – a legal immigrant (from Austria) who is by no means a “lefty” and who knows what it is to jump through the broken hoops of the INS- has written a very thoughtful post, jumping off of George Will’s recent plea for the right to face facts. Gerald is writing from a very Catholic perspective, which I know will irk those of you who have already written to me cursing the Catholics and insisting that we’re looking for “more asses in the pew and more money in the collection plate.” Thank you for that email, by the way. It must have pleased Jesus very much when you sent it to me.
Gerald lays it out in plain-speaking:
If you will not deport 12 million people, you have to offer them a chance to redeem themselves. Otherwise, you perpetuate the very problem you criticize.
Therefore, the current proposal…supports, makes sense – secure the borders and offer a chance of legalization. One reason why so many came here illegally is that immigration is bottlenecked – the supply of visas is far lower than the demand of people wanting to come here and businesses needing workers. In order to combat illegal immigration, a three-pronged strategy is needed – and this is along the lines of President Bush, too: legalization for people, combined with a hefty fine, who came here illegally and committed no crimes (crossing the border illegally is not a crime right now). A real border – obviously it will never be perfect – has to be established, and more efficient immigration proceedings would drastically lower the number of fence hoppers. Drastically increasing and improving the immigration bureaucracy to accomodate the need and desire for labor. Obviously, if 12 million people vanished over night, the American economy would collapse. [all emphasis mine - admin]
America could certainly use more taxpayers – without immigration, there’d be problems
similar to those in Europe. Therefore, instead of being (despite it being their fault) submarines, they should be allowed to ‘surface’ and contribute (more) money.
…if you are not going to deport them all, you have to offer an option to become legal. If they were good enough to clean hotel rooms, serve food, build houses, mow the lawn and babysit the children, they should be offered a chance to redeem themselves. The whole speech about ‘cutting in line’, ‘they broke the law’ and so forth may get the Republican base riled up, and it is of course true, but what’s the point of pointing out the obvious without providing a solution? Deport on a scale not seen since World War II, or offer a chance to legalize.
Immigration in the past basically meant showing up at America’s shores. Nowadays it is a bureaucratic nightmare that could use streamlining, since it does not accommodate the need for labor by American business. San Diego has a pilot project, where everyone gets an interview within 90 days which could serve as a model for the entire country.
Do give Gerald a read – put your best Christian charity hat on, ask the Lord to bless you while you read – and see if he doesn’t make some sense.
Getting back to those Minutemen…they seem to be coming apart at the seams and splintering off into smaller groups carrying bitterness between them. This is not a good situation. President Bush was right about the net-negatives inherent in vigilantism, and you were wrong. Hmmmm…what else might he be right about?
“But Anchoress, he’s insulted us; he’s questioned our patriotism! He’s presumed to lecture us about the state of our souls!”
Not a bit – he’s just doing his job as president, and challenging the people to get serious. Most of us don’t even realize that we make choices about how we’re going to receive the world and what’s in it, what we see and hear. If you choose to feel insulted by a challenge, well, fine…but remember, you hated the left for doing so – you hated the left when they accused Bush of “questioning our patriotism” when (as you know) he did no such thing. In your emotionalism you’ve decided not to take the president’s remarks in context, and consider them as a piece, but to instead accept the random lines-out-of-context offered to you by the press and those whose motives are far-ranged and often personal. The headlines were tantalizing red meat: Bush Betrays Base. Bush Worries for Nation’s Soul. Bush says You Don’t Want What’s Best for the Country! Out of context red meat, easily gobbled down.
And by the way, the press has noticed what sets you off, and they’ve been playing to your heat, and you’ve been responding to their bell-ringing like Pavlovian dogs, too.
Part II here.
Also writing about immigration and the tone:
Dr. Melissa Clothier
Captain’s Quarters Blog, who also has more on the weaknesses of the bill. Can it be strengthened?