When I began this blog, I began it with a team mate (then later PJ was added).
My beginning team mate was "Momma Twoop." I have the utmost respect for my friend. Besides homeschooling her children she finds the time to tackle one of the most complex, and yes, divisive issues of our time, the issue of illegal immigration and what should be done about it.
She is an activist, not a journalist, though she could be a journalist if she chose to because I've yet to see her fail at anything she decides to do, maybe that's a part of the reason the immigration debate is such a frustration to her. She wins the arguments but loses the battle time and again because representatives are failing to represent the majority of the people in this matter.
One of the most cherished compliments I have ever received came before I even met my friend online, another commenter said, "I like her, she reminds me of Momma Twoop." I have since met her in person, met her children, her husband, broken bread with her and I can literally tell you that if she was the only friend I ever had, even though long distance, I would be rich in friendship.
Twoop recently responded to the ongoing turmoil surrounding the recent immigration panel discussion hosted by the Metro-Republicans. I felt her response to a commenter deserved to be moved to the front of the blog. She articulated many of my thoughts that I have been unable to articulate, but she does so with personal experience, with personal "battle" scars. I can't claim to have the scars she has acquired because I haven't been that active in the "battle," but I can say I have seen many of the things she writes about play out right here in Springfield, Missouri, most particularly in the editorial section of our local, daily newspaper.
So, the debate and the discussion over illegal immigration goes on:
"...it is also difficult to stand behind someone that you know is factually correct on the matter, but has burned bridges and made the discourse more difficult by their actions."
Twoop's response, (very slight editing):
I respect your position and under normal circumstances, I would agree 100%. However, these circumstances are, in my opinion, anything but normal.
I have been active in addressing illegal immigration, its costs and impact to our country, for almost 6 years. There is not a racist bone in my body, yet for 6 years I have been called a Nazi, Klan member, xenophobe, racist, bigot, white supremacist, and just about any other vile name you can think of.
For years, I have been writing and calling politicians about this and, until recently, most of them told me, in essence, don't worry about it, "It's a federal thing. Don't worry yer purdy lil haid about it none. We're handling it."
In 2003, I took a more active role when I found out that two buses of illegal aliens would be stopping in my city on their way to DC to demand "rights." They were part of the Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride. I stood - 5 months pregnant with twins - on a sidewalk opposite the church where the buses were to stop, holding a sign that said, "Honk if you support ending illegal immigration." It would not be an exaggeration to say that 99% of the vehicles passing slowly by reacted in some way to show their support and agreement. Those supporting the "Freedom Ride," while waiting for the arrival of the buses called me every name you can think of, several suggested my twin fetuses would be better off if they died, and a few suggested I jump in front of passing cars to "make the world a better place." All this simply because I wanted our laws enforced, and people called me a "racist hater?!" That is NOT normal by any means.
Repeatedly over the past decade, the American people have made their voices crystal clear - they want illegal immigration stopped or, at the very least, slowed, our borders secured and no amnesty, and repeatedly our government has proven itself beholden to businesses that can make an extra buck and ethnocentric groups who support porous borders. The elected elite repeatedly present "comprehensive" immigration reform proposals until we, the American people who elected them to office, scream "NO! This is not right!" at the top of our lungs. At the same time, any meaningful legislation aimed at enforcement only is either watered down and passed or not passed at all. A majority of elected politicians openly supporting lawbreakers against the will of the majority of their constituents is not normal.
And throughout the years, the accusations of racism and bigotry fly without fail and without any supporting evidence. The ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two groups that are supposed to point out hatred where it exists, have, in essence, labeled every group that supports enforcing our laws "extremist hate groups." A local protest at the Mexican Consulate's office against the Mexican government's meddling in our political process was labeled an "extremist event" by the ADL. *eyeroll* (I was there. Nothing approached "extreme," believe me. Quite boring actually. :)
Yet, these professional professed seekers of hate give openly hateful, and at times, violent, groups on the other side of this issue a pass - groups that have consistently and adamantly tried to stifle debate and discussion of this issue by yelling "Racist!" "Hater!" at every opportunity. That is not normal.
It is in this context that Jericho and those who believe as he does are acting. For far too long, the people who claim they want to "openly discuss" this issue have made every effort to prevent that discussion by yelling "racist, bigot, Nazi, klansman," etc., etc. ad nauseum at the drop of a pin and when it is far from the truth. Yes, there are some racists on the anti-illegal immigration side, although I have never met one in all my years in working with border security groups. It has been my experience that anyone revealing racist tendencies is immediately kicked to the curb. However, no one will deny that those kind of people exist. For years, though, people like Messenger, my local op-ed writers included, have attempted to portray us ALL as such. Yes, there are some racists on the pro-illegal immigration/amnesty side, many of whom I have met, but for years, everyone has DENIED their existence and most still do, including those professional groups that are supposed to monitor and report hatred and bigotry where it exists! Seeing hatred where it does not exist and ignoring it where it does, is not normal, nor is it healthy.
My point in writing all of this is that, I WOULD stand in support behind Jericho because what I have listed are the realities of our situation. IMO, Jericho didn't burn a bridge with his actions. There was no bridge there to burn. That bridge was burned the instant the pro-illegal/amnesty supporters started calling people racists, nazis and xenophobes simply because they want our laws respected and enforced.
It is also my opinion that Jericho didn't make the political discourse more difficult. He merely acted in accordance with existing discourse, the tone of which was set by the pro-illegal immigrant/amnesty side and their supporters, not us, and one which they seem loathe to let die.
Jericho's actions, while viewed as inappropriate and over-the-top by some, are completely understandable in light of this reality, one wherein anyone who wants those who knowingly break our laws to be held accountable is mercilessly attacked. Then, when we take a stand and attempt to stop those attacks, we're chastised for being "divisive." That is our, and Jericho's, long-standing situation in the immigration debate.
As an aside, I don't have the testicular fortitude to toss tennis balls in someone's direction, but lately I have been thinking of mailing some to a few state representatives who seem to be lacking those appendages. I haven't figured out yet how to put a spine in an envelope. :)