Saturday, March 08, 2008

The immigration debate

Yes, it's complicated, yes, it's divisive

Some time ago I used to try to make the case that people who are opposed to illegal immigrants receiving amnesty and people who wanted to see the law of the land of America regarding illegal immigration be enforced are not bigots, but you know what? I realized that just as on any issue and just as in any group of people, people band together for different reasons. For that reason, I realized that while I am not bigoted against brown skinned, black skinned, yellow skinned, red skinned, or purple fingered people who come into our country either legally or illegally, and the majority of people against amnesty for immigrants who came here illegally and would like to see our border laws enforced and employers pay a steep penalty for employing those immigrants who have entered our soveriegn nation illegally are not bigoted that some people may be. I have come to the realization that the motivations of some are convoluted and complicated and bigotry against people of different nationalities or skin color may play a part in some people's overall reason for opposing illegal immigrant amnesty, supporting border security and stricter laws against employers who hire such illegal immigrants. So I don't argue anymore that bigotry is not a factor for anyone, I argue that it isn't a factor for me and it shouldn't be a factor for anyone.

What is your definition of rude and uncivil behavior? What is your definition of civility and respect?

If someone throws a pair of tennis balls at a man and says, "Here, this is the only pair of these you'll ever have," a crowd of civil and respectful people might suck in some air and deplete the oxygen in the room. Those people might later issue scathing reviews of such behavior as "disrespectful," as "rude," as "crude" and as "uncivil," and I'll even concede that they would have a point.

The exclamation of tennis balls at the end of the sensationalized sentence could certainly be justified as an act of disrespect accompanied by such a comment coming from a radio talk show host at an immigration debate. But, in fact, he might have done so because he's tired of back-handed newspaper editorials that generalize and oversimply the issue of immigration reform themselves by repeatedly and regularly implying that all those who oppose amnesty, propose secure borders and would like to see the law of the land enforced are either bigoted xenophobes or ill-informed ignoramuses or a combination of the two. That, you see, is civil, in their opinion. That sweeping characterization is respectful. That sentiment is neither rude nor crude in the opinion of such an editorialist.

Let me tell you something, two wrongs don't make a right, but personally, I would much rather see the knife welded by the villan coming at me so that I would have an opportunity to defend myself against it than have it sneak, stealthily and silently from behind, never seeing it before it is slid so back-handly between my shoulder blades.

How many tennis balls does it take when given an opportunity to debate an issue for one to agree repeatedly with one's opponent, for one to offer no research and for one to just talk about how the divisive rhetoric on the part of the country needs to end? Zero.

The one offered the opportunity to debate in a forum in Springfield on last Thursday evening didn't offer any real and tangible reasons to support amnesty, to keep our borders unsecure and open and to continue to allow employers of illegal aliens to hire them with no or a mostly un-enforced penalty. In fact, anything like that, in his mind, would do more good than harm (?) but we don't know why because neither at the debate or in a recent editorial at the Springfield News-Leader does the proponent of those ideas tell us why those sentiments would be more good for our country than bad.

How many tennis balls does it take to slink back to the editorial board to form a consensus view on behalf of the Springfield News-Leader that slyly characterizes those who oppose illegal immigrant amnesty, support border security and tough employer penalty for the hiring of illegals as ill-informed, ignorant bigots?

It doesn't even take two.

I agree with the News-Leader, immigration reform is a complicated issue. The divisive rhetoric needs to stop on the part of those who are sympathetic to the illegal immigrant population. Those who want to talk out of both sides of their mouths, on the one hand stating, "It's complicated," and on the other hand refusing to even entertain the opinions of those who disagree with their sentiment for tangible and legitimate reasons and they need to stop characterizing those who disagree with them with generalized slander and assumption.

No, two wrongs don't make a right but lets at least recognize that there are two wrongs. Let's not pretend that when a debate takes place in the physical world and one party "rises above" disrespect and rudeness in that physical realm when he is face to face with his opponent and has the opportunity to make his case but fails to, then returns to his office, in quiet reflection and takes the hidden knife out of his pocket to carve away the credibility of those who feel so passionately about this issue for legitimate reasons and place in the cavity he has created the infection of generalized slander toward all is somehow more civil and respectful than the other.


Jason said...

Interesting post. You're takes a real man to stand up to someone you disagree with passionate rather than refuse to talk to them in person. It's much easier for someone to turn and run to the safety of the environment they control...whether newspaper office or radio studio...and say things (usually untrue) about someone just to smear them.

Let me ask, though...who are you defining as the one sneaking up behind in this: "Let me tell you something, two wrongs don't make a right, but personally, I would much rather see the knife welded by the villain coming at me so that I would have an opportunity to defend myself against it than have it sneak, stealthily and silently from behind, never seeing it before it is slid so back-handly between my shoulder blades."

Jacke M. said...

I must not have done as good a job writing this post as I though I did.

Are you telling me it's not clear to you who I was referring to?

Jason said...

Well, I think you're referring to Tony but in a sense it could apply to either one because both have made public statements against the other in an environment they completely control.

Jacke M. said...

In this case, I was talking about the one incidence when they were both on equal ground and both had the same opportunity to make their cases. One of them chose not to make a case for his position on that equal ground. Sure, they all answered questions that the audience asked but one of them tried to make a case for his position, the other didn't, the other just made general statements and then impugned the integrity of the whole group through insinuation two days later.

This is why the debate is divisive and this is why it will continue to be divisive. Neither side wants to budge an inch. Both sides think they are right, I'd just prefer for both sides to make their case instead of attacking the other side through such inuendo.

Jacke M. said...

Anyway, Jason, I repeatedly stated that two wrongs don't make a right. There needs to be respect in a debate forum and there needs to be respect when you are wielding a pen behind a closed office door or typing on a keyboard from your home. There needs to be respect period.

Jericho fights his battles differently than I do. Messenger fights his battles differently than Vince does, we all fight our battles in different ways and sometimes I don't even like the way I fight my own battles,second guessing them ad nauseam.

If I were 100% true to myself all the time I wouldn't complain about anyone's tactics at all because I think that's what makes the world go around. I don't tackle problems in the same way as anyone else on the earth. My way isn't like your way or Vince's way or Messenger's way that's what makes each of us special, that's what makes people interested in reading your blog AND my blog, because we offer different perspectives.

I've been doing a lot of introspection lately. Sometime maybe I'll share those thoughts.

Jason said...

"There needs to be respect in a debate forum and there needs to be respect when you are wielding a pen behind a closed office door or typing on a keyboard from your home" or when talking about issues on the radio.

"There needs to be respect period."

I agree with you 100%.

Anonymous said...

I became acquainted with a wonderful book a few years back written by Don Miguel Ruiz entitled The Four Agreements. He offers up four guiding principles that will allow us to experience true freedom and joy in life. According to Mr. Ruiz, these are ancient Toltec words of wisdom that I have excerpted below:

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity, say only what you mean
and avoid using the word to speak against yourself or gossip about others…
Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you…it is a
projection of their own reality..
Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express
what you really want…this can completely transform your life.
Always do your best. …you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret...”

I believe our Jacke has followed these principles when composing this blog. For those of you who attended the immigration forum, I think it would be interesting as well as enlightening to apply the principles above to the actions of each panel member and determine for yourself if they measure up.

Jacke M. said...

My, my, anon 9:15, that was a really nice thing for you to write and I really needed it. It isn't always easy being so brutally honest and working so hard to express exactly what I mean, it's nice to know that it's appreciated once in a while, thank you. - Jackie

Momma Twoop said...

I agree with you 100%, Jackie. You know, those of us lobbying our state representatives to pass a bill that would hold employers of illegal immigrants accountable, mandate the use of the government's E-Verify for all new hires beginning next year, and execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal gov't. so local law enforcement can receive training to assist them in immigration matters, have been smeared beyond belief by the bill's opponents as "reactionary racists, Nazis," and other ridiculous labels. And this spills out in spite of the fact that: 1) The bill never mentions race; and, 2) None of the bill's supporters have shown or espoused any racist tendencies or words.

A couple of people, in testifying in support of the bill, said the words "Mexico, south of the border, Latin America" and other general terms directed at that region, and you could almost hear the gasps from the opponents of the bill in the hearing room. Opponents referred to those terms as "racist," while at the same time basing their entire opposition to the bill on one issue - they suggest it MIGHT harm HISPANICS. That is racism, too, yet it's not viewed as such by them. They can talk about Hispanics coming here for a better life (while ignoring how much their pursuits cost citizens), and no one bats an eye. They single out "Mexicans, Hispanics, Latinos, etc." and people nod their head in agreement, as though Hispanics are the only people here illegally. They can point out that Hispanics comprise the majority of illegal immigrants in this country and make suggestions that we ignore our laws based on that fact, but you let someone like me, who wants our laws enforced for ALL illegal immigrants regardless of their nation of origin, mention the "southern border" and people look at me like I just molested a child or something.

It's bass-ackwards! I'm not surprised you've witnessed the same kind of intellectual dishonesty from those in your state who prefer that we continue to ignore our laws.

Recently, the author of the bill I referred to above was attacked for being a "pretend Christian" in local blogs and publishings after he responded to a statement made by local religious groups, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and members of the state's Black Caucus, asking "What would Jesus do?" in this situation. They made a big show of it all - praying for the benefit of the photogs and reporters attending the PC, and then blasting Sen. Delph for authoring this bill. Sen. Delph responded with a press release, probably the shortest one in the history of press releases: "Jesus followed the law." Poor Delph has been attacked mercilessly since he offered the bill.

tom said...

Imagine my surprise this AM when listening to said radio host I was informed that I was a flaming liberal in terms of political positions. Apparently someone is either medicated or needs to be in some manner when a person that fights for liberty, freedom, & justice is considered a liberal over the airwaves.

Jacke M. said...

"someone is either medicated or needs to be"

That's funny coming from you, Tom. Which mental disease that you *DO* believe in is affecting him, I have to wonder?

Let's see, bi-polar would be ruled out, it can't be a case of adult onset ADHD...whatever can it be???

Anonymous said...

The radio did get a little warm this morning,
usually he is more of a
"mild mannered talk show host" for a great metropolitan radio station..

tom said...


Where oh where did I say he had a mental disease ???

I would say that perhaps he is affected with all the medicines in our drinking water but I know that isn't his case.

If bi-polar truly does exist it is being co-opted by the lunatic fringe as the ailment that affects everyone going through rough times. I was listening to a psychologist the other day on the radio trying to proclaim that people that can't say no to gambling are bi-polar, soon people who can't quit smoking will be diagnosised the same if this continues.

Vincent David Jericho said...

Tell me Tom are you still planning on running for a Democrat?

tom said...

NO !!!!! Sheriff is beneath me since I wouldn't abide by all those handed down government mandates which would cost the county untold millions of dollars.
Perhaps I should run for Mayor under the communist banner. Based on the voting record around here I might win in a landslide. The S-n-L would be sure to mention in every article that I was a 'libertarian' running under the communist party flag which would increase my exposure.

Or perhaps I should just be satisfied in knowing that I fit the mold of a FLAAPL based on the definition given the other morning on the radio and that my kind is dangerous to the longevity of America.

Anonymous said...

I agree overall with Jacke's view of Messenger vs. Jericho...

I would add this -

- If illegal aliens were taking newspaper editor jobs

and driving down journalists' salaries -

- we'd get entirely different coverage on the problem in our print media...

Anonymous said...

Bagdad Messenger "Mugged" out of Springfield