Eventually our sages in government will legislate something on health care and it will either be written into law or go down in flames, once again a failure of government to serve its people. Even amid all the turbulence, though, I feel fairly optimistic we will get a bill President Obama can sign into law and it’ll be something we don’t hate too much.
We’ve been told the next thing our country should turn its mind to is immigration reform.
I have to laugh. I really do. I’ve heard more than once that one of the reasons we shouldn’t prosecute torturers is that it would cause such a terrible uproar, the Repubs would think we were revenging ourselves on the Clinton impeachment, it would “tear the country apart.” Like it’s real woven together right now? Like we have great cohesion and unity? Anyway, that’s not where I’m going with this essay.
The Joseph Goebbels of political propaganda, Frank Luntz, wrote a rulebook several years ago on how to sell anti-immigration belief to America. Back in 2006, the great and wondrous pro-immigration blogger Duke1676 posted a pdf of Luntz’s virtual meme bible on this subject, entitled RESPECT FOR THE LAW & ECONOMIC FAIRNESS: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION PREVENTION (PDF), By, LUNTZ, MASLANSKY STRATEGIC RESEARCH The link to Duke’s blog, Migra Matters, has a link to the pdf.
Flash Forward to 2008. Several of the best progressive bloggers on immigration, and I mean progressive — all the real values that made me originally turn to the Democratic Party years ago — come together to form a group blog entitled The Sanctuary. One of the first things they did was to work up a tough questionnaire on immigration to present to both McCain and Obama during the Presidential campaign. McCain didn’t answer the questionnaire. Obama did.
I’m not going to link to it. These folks know every detail of every law that affects this issue and besides, that’s not where I’m going with this essay. You can check the site for it if you’re interested. They’re on our blogroll, btw, as is Migra Matters, kyle’s Citizen Orange, Manny’s … well you get the idea.
I am not about to be caught flat-footed on another big issue where the centrists are going to try to chop the head off of this DFH and grind it up in a grinder while I’m still alive and pierce me with knives … well, you get the picture. It’s not a pleasant experience – I’m willing to go through it but I no longer care to take a spork to this fight.
I want something more powerful than that. I recall the I-Ching, in the hexagram of “The Power of the Great,” to paraphrase, what is right must be great … there is no separation between the two.
OH! JUST HAD A FLASH OF HOW MUCH I AM THINKING OF LADY LIBERTINE AND HOW I HOPE SHE GETS WELL SOON — because I find I have been influenced by her writing in this very essay.
I’ll just give y’all a couple of examples of how we can eradicate the Luntz memes and produce our own far better, more passionate, yelled louder, intelligent, heartful and soulful message that Obama and the centrists will blithely ignore, as usual.
From Duke’s essay (also at Daily Kos) (and check out the website by the way, it has virtually every resource you could want when it comes to fact-checking this issue) How About a “temporary bail out” for immigrants. Fuck it, I’m going to reprint the entire post and if Duke wants to sue me I’ll gladly pay the fine, even if it’s getting groud up in some grinder … well, you know. I am not reproducing any links, so go to the blog for those if you’re interested.
On Thursday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and senior White House and DHS staff met with about 100 immigrant advocates and leaders from faith, business, law enforcement, and labor to reassure them that the administration is still serious about fulfilling its promise to enact immigration reform. So serious in fact, President Obama took time away from his battle for healthcare reform to make an unexpected appearance before the group and reiterate his commitment to getting immigration legislation passed in 2010.
And of course when all was said and done, those in attendance thanked Napolitano and Obama for again telling them that they have not been forgotten. Press releases and statements were quickly penned, each guardedly optimistic, yet appreciative of the attention paid the issue by the administration.
But for the thirty-odd-thousand souls held in detention each day …
or – those who will be stopped tomorrow at some arbitrary traffic stop, set up to single out those with foreign sounding accents or names, or a little too much melanin, and then subject them to interrogation and intimidation …
or – those waiting patiently for the government to reexamine a policy that deports children, who’ve lived here almost all of their lives, to countries they’ve never known…
or – for the millions relegated to the shadows where abuse and violence have become the norm…
There was little to rejoice about after Thursday’s meeting.
For them it just means more waiting, more worrying, more vague promises … more of the same.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When the economy began to crumble, and banks, brokers, and insurance companies began to go under due to gross mismanagement, incompetence, bad planning, and failed business models, the government JUMPED.
Both the previous administration, and the current one, did everything in their power to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. Trillions were pumped into the economy, billions to individual companies, rules and regulations were modified and changed ….all, because the government claimed million could loose their homes and fortunes.
When the auto companies started to go under after years of ignoring the obvious; that their business models were unattainable, and their practices unprofitable … the government again stepped up, and did everything in its power to prevent their collapse claiming millions of jobs were at stake.
Yet, when the government itself oversees policies that are every bit as flawed in both theory and practice as any we saw from Wall Street. or in Detroit, does it jump to action and attempt to fix them?
Does it recognize its own mismanagement or gross incompetence?
Why is it that when the private sector failed miserably, this administration could quickly jump to action, analyze the problem, assess accountability, and offer up solutions to stop the suffering of millions, yet, when the public sector is failing, they drag their feet, leave failed policies in place, and hunker down?
Just as they were willing to put temporary stop-gap measures in place to fix the economy… why can they not do they same now for those suffering from their inability to fix the immigration system?
It seems simple enough to me.
Call it what you want … “enforcement relief,” … “a temporary moratorium” … (let the PR people loose, I’m sure they can come up with a catchy phrase that will work). But the bottom line is it’s time to stop the arbitrary enforcement of laws all admit must be changed.
It’s time for this administration to stop asking migrants to suffer quietly and wait until the “political climate” is right before getting any relief.
If this administration can’t deliver on its promises now because Congress is too busy, or other priorities must be dealt with first, or the President has too much on his plate …. fine. But they can no longer bide time on the backs of those held in prisons for profit, or those being deported under laws all admit must change, or those waiting patiently to come out of the shadows.
Simply saying that you recognize that the system is failed and that the laws must change is no longer enough. It’s time for action NOW.
Nearly 40 years ago John Kerry asked “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”…Today we ask “Who will be the last migrant deported or jailed for a law that is a mistake.”
Now this is modern blogfare!
Imagine talking to your friends or family or bloggers or workmates and they bring up the conventional American tone on immigration. They’re taking our jobs! They’re illegal! It’s against the law!” and that kind of sophisticated stuff, think of writing like this, with facts behind it, knowledge of exactly the law that our delightful governmental representatives in the Congress and Senate and our delovely President are going to work on next, after they’re done with healthcare! Now that’s a charming thought, I say!
I am for human rights. I am for equality for all humans and the belief that if all are not equal, none of us are. I am for a way of looking at our body politic and our society that acknowledges that and the interconnectedness of our planet.
So here’s a heads up. It’s important we don’t waste more time than we have to on arguments and get to know the new jive to yell louder as those changes keep coming.
Bizarre week. Eternally grateful it’s over. Hope everyone is well. Hope Lady Libertine is well.
Here’s some lagniappe.