The Washington Post publishes an alarmist article today by Jonathan Weisman that makes a GOP electoral victory feel all but certain -- if it rides the back of a firestorm of ire over immigration. Weisman and the Post, however, do not deserve the bulk of the blame for the article's attitude. Their coverage reflects the visibility and aggression of anti-immigration factions among politicians, vigilantes, and a few people among the general populace, all of which garner -- as they intend to -- more attention than the voices of reason, moderation and humanity. And they do it all in the service of fear-mongering to keep themselves in their cushy government jobs, while the people they claim to represent get left behind in the dust of poverty by the same politicians' other policies.

Consider this from the article, about the House "hearings" on immigration:

"Last week, House Republican field hearings in San Diego explored the societal and governmental costs of illegal immigrants' use of health-care facilities and welfare. Another in Houston looked at 'the criminal consequences of illegal immigration.' One near here, in Sierra Vista, examined the nation's strained technical capacity to monitor 'the efforts of terrorists and drug cartels' trying to 'infiltrate American soil.'

"At a field hearing Tuesday in Gainesville, Ga., Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.) brushed off complaints by those who wanted a more balanced witness list.'What I wanted was witnesses who agree with me, not disagree with me,' he told reporters."

Those holding these stumping sessions under the guise of informational hearings on the public's wants need to acknowledge what they're really doing -- trying to shake up a hornets' nest of voters with misleading if not false propaganda for their own personal benefits.

Unfortunately, withholding the complete facts and making unfounded connections really works in a culture that values overarching "principals" more than active thinking. Consider this statement from the article, about an attendee of a political rally in Arizona:

"Ewing railed against Bush's immigration policies, saying he failed to deploy enough resources on the border, and against the war in Iraq, where '2,600 Americans have died . . . for nothing.'" Ewing favors building a huge border wall.

Now, to some, this might sound like Ewing has consistent principals: We need to be stronger. Really, though, it's a contradiction. If the man really cared about people dying for nothing, he wouldn't support militarization of the border. If he believed in blasting out the enemy with more troops, to defend the country, he wouldn't think U.S. soldiers had "died ... for nothing" in Iraq. The only consistency here is a self-centered fear, founded on false premises.

Says a woman named Sally Hawk: "I think they ought to shoot them. I don't have anything against Mexicans. I just want them here legally."

Granted, Hawk's statement is ridiculous, but it shows what results can arise from tactics like those of the House GOP. Does this sound like a person who uses rational thought or principal to guide her? I want people to cross the street legally, too, but shooting jaywalkers on the spot won't solve the problem (-- and, obviously, it's morally reprehensible). Also, we don't punish all crimes with the death penalty. This looks like another case of forcing justice to take a back seat to a misunderstood version of "the law", rather than having the law serve justice as it should.

"Mike Hellon, a former Arizona GOP chairman running in the primary here, said, 'Not since the Watergate year of 1974 have I seen an issue so dominant in an election.'"

In reality, Hellon is wrong. It's not that immigration that has become a focal point of politics this year: Rather, as for the past five years, a faltering regime of politicians continues to foster fears and wind them up into irrational politics, again, for personal gain. This isn't a debate on immigration and what we really need to do about it; it's a fantastic horror story to keep us from daring to leave our beds at night and seeing the bad things mommy and daddy are doing downstairs. Worse, it has had the effect of stirring up dangerous hatreds that are actually resulting in the deaths of human beings and discrimination against others, in sum, an erosion of the basic American principals.

Weisman knocks part of the problem on the head, though he does it too far towards the end of the article:

"Most of the Democratic candidates are confident that their broader assault on Republican policies will prevail in November."

"Democratic candidates", most of whom at least seem to side with a more -- though not fully -- rational point of view on this issue than many of their Republican counterparts, "are confident". They're not "taking action" or "holding hearings". And maybe they're right. Maybe just letting the fire burn out -- like I've chosen to ignore the publication of a new moronic Pat Buchanan tirade -- and focusing on Republican failures in other areas bests tossing lighter fluid into the flames. That is a fairly typical Democrat solution these days, especially if "some Democrats worry that immigration hard-liners may be accurately gauging the temper of the times -- and that the GOP has found an antidote to its woes". So is this:

"[Former Arizona state senator Gabrielle Giffords] said the GOP thrust can be parried with a tough Democratic response that blames Republican inaction for the crisis that illegal immigrants have visited upon resource-strapped schools, health-care systems and law enforcement agencies."

That might work well for the elections, and that's good for the DNC. (Weisman roundly ignores here the Republicans on the side of comprehensive reform.) But it sells out the cause of justice and won't help bring us closer to the immigration reform we so sorely need.

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