This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. Our purpose is to advance civil society and the freedom philosophy and perhaps have a little fun while we're at it.

6/23/10

Immigration or Invasion?

Several weeks ago, while enjoying a great lunch and some equally great conversation with my favorite downtown Chicago mixologist Tina, I was asked what my thoughts were concerning the illegal immigration mess. I explained that I was currently involved in a back and forth exchange on the issue with an intelligent young blogger on another site and that I might publish that debate on this blog if it proved interesting enough. Unfortunately, although it interested us enough to continue it on, for several days, it quickly went tangential and devolved into an argument over terms. I decided most people would be bored reading it so it won't appear here. Heck, just telling about it is boring enough.

But ever since Arizona passed its new law I have been thinking about the issue quite a bit. That state has decided to address the problem which the federal government has been ducking. For their part, the Obama administration feels that dictating the health care decisions of its own citizens and pressing forth with the most unpopular and radical agenda in US history takes precedence over defending the borders and enforcing a federal law which is the mirror image of the state law they now threaten to sue over.

All of this has been the number one topic of conversation for weeks among people who dare to address the issue despite the fear of being called racists if they agree with the state of Arizona. But since I have already admitted to being a racist , (by opposing the government takeover of health insurance) I have no problem adding my two cents worth on the subject.

Most of the arguments for and against the new law are emotionally charged and miss the actual point, in my opinion. Whatever side people chose in the aftermath of the passage, most have something in common. They haven't read it. Unfortunately, at the time they initially criticized it, that list included the President, the U S Attorney General, and the vast majority of the media.

Some have since claimed they have read it, but I remain skeptical. I have read it, and I have copied it so you may read it as well. Find it here on this site. Or download the PDF file here.

Having read it doesn't make me an expert on it, and I readily confess my memory is as short as my golf drives, but it's not a two thousand page nightmare like the Obamacare tome, so it shouldn't have been more than a five minute read for media proclaimed legal geniuses like Obama and Eric Holder. I remain convinced that their opposition is calculated politically not rationally.

In fact recently, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has reported that in a private one on one conversation with the President in Billy Clinton's love nest (the Oval Office), Obama told him "The problem is, if we secure the border then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform."
Kyl went on to say, "In other words, they are holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless or until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.”

Through all of this, for me, the real interest lies not in the legality of the issue, but the conceptually inane nature of the illegal immigration debate. After all, unless there is a real movement afoot to outlaw the borders themselves, instead of the trespassers, the real focus should be on the question of whether we should be making laws which we have no intention what-so-ever of enforcing.

I don't think we would find too many folks in a post 9-11 world in favor of allowing undocumented, unlimited ingress across our borders by people from middle eastern countries or North Korea, for instance. And calling for turning a blind eye to such people already here would be preposterous. Not to mention "amnesty" for anyone clever enough to have eluded our Inspector Clouseau like immigration department.

The current situation strains credulity. It goes like this; if you are attempting to enter illegally and get caught at the border, we arrest you, give you a free meal, any immediate medical attention you need and then put you into a vehicle and send you home. (Seems downright hospitable treatment for trespassers to me. I must be old fashioned.)

However, if you are lucky/savvy enough to get away with your crime and get far enough inland, we reward you by letting you stay and asking no questions. Whoever could think up such a policy has a genius for the absurd. They would have a unique sense of logic which will escape me forever. Why not just put a line on the ground five hundred yards past the border and let everyone sprint for it at once, only allowing a certain number of the winners in? At least we would have the makings of a pretty good track team.

Now I'm going to venture into water which may be over my head. (Intellectual drowning is a possibility.)

It might be time to consider the character of the individual people themselves who are entering illegally. Since I like Mexican and Central American people I have met as least as much as anyone else I have met, it's a temptation to join those who would look the other way. After all, most are here to better their lives and merely want to work. My life is better because of their presence. In theory, these folks are an asset to our country. But the character of even these people is of some concern.

Are they courageous because they run the gauntlet under dangerous circumstances in order to feed their families and better their lives? Or are they cowards who desert their country by stealing away in the night to avoid confronting those who keep them in poverty and misery? You have to decide for yourself, but ask yourself this, how committed to America are people who flee their own country instead of fighting for their rights?

If the number of Mexican people who regularly march in huge numbers (hundreds of thousands at the minimum, maybe millions) in this country demanding rights they do not have, instead stayed home and marched in Mexico City demanding the changes they deserve, they would have no reason to flee to here at all. They won't fight for their own country because it is hard? Do they take the easy path here instead? Hard questions no one is asking.

And what to make of the curious practice these folks have of carrying the Mexican Flag while marching in the U S to protest not being allowed to stay? They carry the flag of the country they fled from because life is intolerable there, not the flag of the country they value above all others. I find that bizarre.
There are other questions which need to be contemplated. One of them is whether we want people in the country whose first act upon entering is to break the law? That disregard says something, I'm not sure what.

The next question is, what do they want? That may seem an asinine question, but ponder it for a moment. Do they merely want to work? If so, the answer may be as simple as reinstating some version of the Bracero Program of the 1940s-60s era.

Do they want to live here permanently without becoming citizens but using all the social programs which will soon relegate us to "Grecian" status? If so, we don't need/can't afford them.

Do they want to become U S citizens, with all the rights and responsibilities? Then, I for one, would welcome them as long as they can enter in a rational, measured and orderly plan which won't sink the country in a flood of refugees. It's not about jobs IMO, it's just that, illegal immigration and welfare statism are incompatible concepts. The real debate ought to be about the number of legal immigrants, with all sides being heard.
We need to love all our neighbors, and they need to love us.

6/14/10

Wrestling With the Issues

That's a phrase that is used a lot by Congressmen and other politicians who want their constituents (future voters) to think they weigh each issue very carefully, even tediously, while they take both sides into consideration and finally make a decision based on what is good for everyone even if it goes against their political impulses. It makes for a good fairy tale for the perpetually gullible. For the not so gullible it's a phrase that goes in one ear and out the other without converting from "ram" memory to the hard drive variety.

This morning, readers of the Drudge Report got a different perspective on wrestling by thoughtful elected representatives. At least by one congressman, Rep. Bob Etheridge (D.- N. Carolina) took it to a whole new level last week while walking on the street after attending a Nancy Pelosi fundraiser. He didn't like a question he was asked on the street by a citizen so he started wrestling with him instead of the issue.

Actually, he attacked the person physically. (Not to mention committing a crime.) Seems like ole Bob is somewhat of a tough guy who has a temper and delusions of being a policeman or someone else with the authority to demand identification of people on the street. (Last time I checked even the police must not attack someone when asking who they are.)

It's a different twist on the Arizona illegal immigrant controversy. Many, if not most of those in his party, oppose the new Arizona law on the grounds that maybe (possibly and even probably) people who are in this country illegally will be asked who they are by police for no reason other than racial profiling. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that the law itself prohibits that practice, that is their position.

Ole Bob's website does not address that issue so it's not clear what his position is on the issue. (For my part, based on the treatment citizens get from Bob, I think I'm more comfortable with Arizona's treatment of their residents.)

In any case, he seems to think he has the power to ask for identification (by force if necessary) of anyone who asks him a question about his positions on public policy. In this case, the citizen who asked (self-identified as a student working on a project) was inquiring about whether or not the Representative supported President Obama's agenda. It was at that point that Bob took the issue under consideration by wrestling with it, or at least with the person who asked it.

I have never been a big fan of "ambush" interviews, but democracy is not always pretty or polite and the Representative was under no obligation to answer the question or even acknowledge the person's presence.

The video below shows the incident. It is not possible for us to know if the video has been edited in any way, but it looks pretty clear to me that Bob was never threatened or attacked. You can judge for yourself.

I do have a few questions of my own for Etheridge as long as I'm here in my home and out of his physical reach.
1. Bob, do you feel at all lucky that you have not been arrested for assault so far?
2. Bob, do you think you will win re-election in the fall?
3. Bob, do you ponder whether or not you will be forced to resign because of this crime?
4. Bob, do you think you might call Jack Nicholson and ask him if he can give you the same treatment he gave Adam Sandler in "Anger Management?"

5. Finally Bob, do you support President Obama's agenda?



Addendum:
The following message just appeared on the website of the perp. You can decide whether or not it addresses the issue adequately. It should be noted that my questions were not answered.


Washington, DC, Jun 14 - U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) released the following statement on the viral video which appeared on the internet today:

“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”

Rep. Bob Etheridge (NC-02)