Yesterday was a mess. Once again, the problem of millions of illegal nationals in the United States gets tempers high and patience thin. Many claims were made by readers, some of which were considered and thoughtful, but others were repeats of bald-faced lies and hysteria. This is the way of things along the fringes of both sides, where only extreme action is considered tolerable. Other readers suggested what they wanted to see done, but the devil is in the details, and details in the plans were few and lonely. Now that a day has passed, I have examined the comment logs and would like to note these points from the fracas:
• No one likes the bill currently before us in the Congress. But stopping the thing is going to require a lot of pressure from everyone. Knightbrigade hit that nail on the head;
• Assuming the present bill is shot down, the problem will still need attention. To my mind, the status quo is unacceptable, but will be the default position of the politicians. And attacking everything which comes down the road just because it’s not 100% of what you demand, plays into that position. If you’re not backing a specific proposal, you’re part of the problem, wounded ego or not;
• The media, old or new, cannot be trusted to do its job on this issue;
• Hysterical demands do not help, and do not convey a sense of considered thought to people trying to get the straight data;
• One extreme wants to give “rights” to foreign criminals, while the other wants to treat millions of people in an identically draconian fashion. Neither set of extremists has a functional plan for dealing with the real conditions;
• The problem, ultimately, must be separated into its component issues and each addressed, sanely, without the inflammatory rhetoric of demagogues like Kennedy or Tancredo. None of the noisemakers who get the most press contacts Border Patrol veterans for their information, or Immigration and Naturalization experts who have many years of direct experience with the people who directly react to government initiatives, or the Justice Department officials who can tell us how to best reduce the threat of violence from foreign nationals entering illegally. We should wonder why so many politicians sell spin ahead of the facts.
I went into yesterday’s column well aware that the factions on the border and immigration issues are many in number and character, are hostile even to discussion, and are soiled by members unable to maintain a basic attempt to find a solution. The results, sadly, were predictable from the start.
Are you satisfied with yelling at someone else and calling that doing your part, or do you intend to work towards a solution? Up to you, but mobs won’t solve this one. No matter what your bumper sticker says.