Saturday, March 03, 2007


The yahoos and rednecks win yet again

Give us your poor
Your tired
Your huddled masses
We'll piss on 'em
That's what your statue of bigotry says
- Lou Reed

I just finished reading an interview in the Riverfront Times, St. Louis' uneven attempt at alternative journalism, with Valley Park Mayor Jeffrey Whitteaker, who defends - hell, revels - in his hardline stance against illegal immigrants in his community. Whitteaker, who came out of nowhere last summer to champion a city ordinance to run out all the Mexicans, makes no bones about his feelings regarding the Great American Melting Pot:

"You got one guy and his wife that settle down here, have a couple kids, and before long you have Cousin Puerto Rico and Taco Whoever moving in," Whitteaker says in his profanity-laced interview. "They say it's their cousins, but I don't really think they're all related. You see fifteen cars in front of one house — that's pretty suspicious."

Some will say Whitteaker shows the guts to say what everyone else is thinking. He's certainly in good company these days. Michael Savage, railing on the subject last week on his show, blamed America's problems on the "Turd World," declaring, that these people are taking America "from the Metlting Pot to the Chamber Pot." Neal Bortz, neglecting to cite the slightest attribution, said that illegal immigrants murdered more Americans last year than the total number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks.

OK, then, let's talk immigration.

First of all, here's how I feel about the matter. Illegal immigration is a danger to our national security and places a strain on social services. Our federal government's refusal to do much about it for the past 30 years serves as the ultimate deriliction of our government's most basic responsibility. Nobody should cross our borders and live illegally in our country, and I'm all in favor of stopping people from doing just that. We certainly have the right to decide who comes and goes from this country, and I don't care what the politicians in Mexico say. Build the biggest damn wall from Brownsville to San Diego, and that will be just fine with me. Find and deport those living here illegally, and then once we've decided who does get to live here legally, let them know they should learn to speak English and integrate into our community.

So there. I share the same feelings as much of the rest of America. But I was hoping this would be a constructive national discussion filled with thoughtful conversation on how to balance the protection of the integrity of our borders with consideration for our nation's economic needs and a compassion for those from other places who simply wish a better life for their families.

But as usual, no such luck. The Jeffrey Whitteakers of America have once again won the day, drowning out any reasonable conversation with openly racist and xenophobic invective. We all know that such tendencies are sadly a natural part of the human psyche, and our society has worked hard to repress such speech. But increasingly it's OK once again to hate foreigners and immigrants, and I wonder how long it will be before this mutates into a hatred of anyone with brown skin, regardless of immigration status.

You see, a discerning, rational person is able to comprehend the dangers of unchecked immigration and wish to do something very real about those dangers without signing off on a campaign of hatred and suspicion of people who look, act and talk differently from those of us in the majority. But not many among us wish to be discerning or rational. That's for wimps in an age of hardline, draconian, black-and-white get-toughness. Most folks would rather not consider that most people who illegally enter our countries are otherwise honest, law-abiding folks who weren't as lucky as we are to have been born here and who simply wish to live better lives.

Instead, the Whitteakers in our midst wish to lump these foreigners in with the small percentage of illegal immigrants involved in criminal activities. Law-breakers! the get-tough types proclaim, in an attempt to equate swimming across the Rio Grande with murder or robbery or any number of truly serious crimes. Such distinctions are unimportant to xenophobes as they provide the rationalization they need to strip immigrants of their humanity and any sense of empathy the rest of us might feel for them. Just like rational discourse, empathy is for wimps and liberal marshmallows. Real men hate their neighbor.

So congratulations to Jeffrey Whitteaker and his talk-radio buddies. Once again, a tremendous opportunity for substantive, positive change in our country has been squandered. Instead, facing the prospect of such hardline madness demanded by an increasingly vocal group of haters, Congress will back down on the issue and illegal immigration, a very real problem in our country, will again go unsolved.

It appears that the yahoos and rednecks have won yet again.

Ann Coulter sucks !!!
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