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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Immigration and the Bushies
I Just Can't Seem to Let it Go

"It's a highly emotional issue,"
-President Bush on immigration

It wasn't a "highly emotional issue" until you and your band of dividers decided to use it as you've used so many other issues: As a divisive one. We have seen the Bushies take on the tough decisions such as writing a law for just one person (the late Terri Schiavo) or blasting the "Liberals" on "moral issues", such as abortion and women's rights, without ever bringing a bill to the floor of either house of Congress which they controlled.

Come to think of it, the Republicans, in complete charge of all this is DC for the better part of President Bush's entire time in office, have done little to nothing for their stated "base" (the Religious Right, which is not to be confused with their actual "base" of "haves and have mores") other than to offer them rhetoric, promises and words designed only to divide us as a nation. Immigration, they had assumed, would be one of those issues.

It isn't.

For example: The President and his advisors thought they could put their hate on the illegal immigrants at first, realizing that, as a non-voting segment of the population, their voice would remain silent. What they failed to realize is that the large Hispanic population of the US would rally behind their Latin American brothers and sisters and would make their voting-voices heard. By the way, what language do Cuban-Americans speak in Florida? President Bill Clinton lost their vote during the Elian Gonzales affair during is presidency and it appears that GW is attempting to alienate them now.

President Bush also drove a wedge between his far right supporters - the ones he thought would follow him through hell or high water. You see, he seems to have forgotten, or merely never even realized, that immigration effects different areas of this nation differently. Border states have a much different view of illegals crossing the border than those of us in many of the middle states. so what it is rhetoric for some is life for others. It's what has brought the Minutemen onto New Mexico's and Arizona's porous borders with guns, dogs and attitude.

Where many businesses have flourished because of the cheap labor brought in though illegal channels, many more businesses are hurt. If Americans are out of work, how can they afford the things they want, much less the things they need?

Securing the border as the first line of defense was the last thing that the President and his band of cronies thought of. Somehow they fell that cheap labor is what we all want. In fact, Immigration was a lot like gays in the military: Don't ask; Don't tell. We all knew that there were many, many illegals in this nation, but no one was really talking about it, that is, until President bush decided it was time to put it on the national stage as, in my opinion, another WMD (Weapon of Mass Distraction) to take our focus off his horrible war in Iraq; as a divisive issue to shore up his "base"; or both.

And many of the Democrats are in step with the President on this issue, believe it or not. Wanting so desperately to get a bill done, and thinking that this will help solidify their stance with the vast majority of Hispanic-Americans, Democratic lawmakers are willing to go along with this "compromise" bill. Too bad that they are the only ones compromising. The bill calls for the separation of families and an almost indentured servitude to those immigrants wanting to place a foot into the US. The Democrats should insist that any bill which they might even consider keep families together, protects the rights of these immigrant workers and offers them a real chance to succeed, whether it be here as contributing citizens or back in the country of origin. No man or woman should be separated from their spouse and their children just to make a buck. And I'm embarrassed at the Religious Right, and those who pretend to support their values, for allowing these families to be separated in such a callous way. I guess keeping families together only matter when they are American born and bred families.

I wonder what former senator Rick Santorum (REPUBLICAN-PA) would say if he had any relevance left at all? Maybe the title of his book should have been "It Takes an AMERICAN Family"?

-Noah Greenberg

The Great White North, Immigration

Good for the Canadians! As for the United States, what happened to the open-armed passion we can read in Emma Lazarus's poem, "The New Colossus", which I expect a lot of us memorized in Sixth Grade? (I did.) We need to remember her words and think about the plight of our own ancestors. My dad used to talk about how poor his immigrant ancestors had been back in 1790--a young boy and his widowed mother. He'd say, "They let the Fultons into this country before there were any restrictions, otherwise we'd have been turned back to Ireland."

Immigrant-bashing is a form of imperialism, and both phases of it, conquest and restriction, were emergent in United States policy even in Emma Lazarus's lifetime, although perhaps she didn't realize how pervasive they were. In the first few lines of her famous poem, The New Colossus", she denied that our Statue of Liberty was

. . .the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land. . .

But even then our nation, east to west, had been settled by bloodshed--Canada, too. In Lazarus's own day Theodore Roosevelt succumbed to the conqueror's drum-roll and to the worst of all evils: elevating abstract "manifest destiny" above the sanctity of life, which is just another way of saying "imperialism". As long as conquest is the focus of our country's policy, in the public mind exploitation will prevail over stewardship, abstract nonsense over reality, hatred over love, paranoid fear over honesty and plain speech. C. Wright Mills, historian and sociologist--and a Texan who knew the worst in his own home state--called it "Crackpot Realism" and knew that it is gradually sputtering out the torch of human freedom and hope.

Most of Emma Lazarus's poem reflects not the ugly, downhill-skidding America of the selfish haters, but the "patriot's dream" America of her (and our) exalted vision. Not quite true, not yet true--but we can make it so!

...A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name:
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

-Jenny Hanniver

In response to, "While I would prefer Hillary Clinton to any of the Republicans, that does not say much. I would prefer Edwards, Obama, Biden, and Gore to Clinton," Victoria Brownworth writes:

Is that sexism, or just not paying attention to the others? Gore isn't running. Edwards has a lot of good ideas. Obama has a lot of charisma and not much else. Biden is, well, a joke. Clinton has hands-down won every debate so far. why? Because she's the smartest. Do I wish she were more left? You betcha. Do I want a Democrat to WIN in 2008? More than anything except an immediate end to the war on Iraq.

It's so easy to bash Hillary Clinton without actually paying any attention to what she says, what she's done and what she's capable of.

Considering how she's the ONLY Democrat able to slap down the Republicans at their own game and with a double handicap--she's a woman and she's despised by the Right--it would be a good idea if we started actually paying attention to what she says, instead of what she doesn't have between her legs.

I disagree. Whereas I'll have absolutely no problem with Hilary Clinton as President, my support is for Edwards, the first of all candidates to offer up a real health care proposal. I have always said that health care is my number one priority and I believe I is his as well.

I admired then-First Lady Clinton's bold foray into the health care neverworld. Too bad that it help to remove the Democrats as the majority party in the House of Representatives. But if we're really talking resumes here, perhaps we should look at new Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. There is no better candidate on paper (as they say in the sports world) than the former ambassador/ negotiator/ cabinet member, even in spite of his NRA positive rating.

Perhaps there are those who won't support Sen.. Clinton because she is a woman. But I think it's wrong to imply that those of us who aren't supporting her are looking at the lack of a bulge in her pants. -NG

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-Noah Greenberg