Tags: Amnesty | Any | Other | Name

Amnesty by Any Other Name . . .

Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM

Call it by its right name.

It's not the "immigration bill" or the "attempted immigration bill" or the "failed immigration bill" or the "immigration bill in need of amendment."

The American government tried to pull a coup against its people. It failed.

It did, however, succeed in giving me a feeling I'd completely forgotten. I was 5 years old. My mother gave her younger sister Margie enough money to take me, Margie, and her friend Harvey to a special kids' show which was five cartoons end to end; no feature film which 5-year-olds find boring.

On the way to the movie, Margie and Harvey were walking quite a distance ahead of me. I didn't know the word "plotting" but I could see they were plotting. Their heads were close together and they were speaking softly to each other. Finally Margie turned around and waited for me to catch up. The odor of adult manipulation was high in my baby nostrils.

"Barry," she said, "Harvey knows all about those five cartoons and he says they're all bad. There's another movie not far away that just has one cartoon but Harvey says it's the best cartoon in the world. Why don't we go see that one instead of those five bad cartoons?

I simply wasn't old enough to stand my ground. Realizing I was being rolled by my own aunt, I mumbled a weak "OK." Margie and Harvey's coup succeeded. The single cartoon was undistinguished and the feature was a typical love story of the period after which I wished my boredom could have been surgically drained.

Both parties and all players are treating the American people in the sordid tradition of Margie and Harvey. "It's not amnesty." "We need these illegals." "They're the same as our immigrant grandparents." "They buy goods and pay taxes and enrich our national life." "Americans won't do that kind of work." "We simply can't deport 12 million." "Quit being a selfish, racist, mean-spirited xenophobic pig." "And, dammit, quit saying that. I told you, It's not amnesty."

All the battlecries of the attempted coup add up to a commodity not uncommon where bulls congregate.

What makes me pitchfolk-toting and musket-loading mad is the accusation that those of us who most bitterly oppose this legislation are somehow bigoted, nativist, or otherwise not quite there as Americans. Up to the 1960s, immigration worked.

It's not widely know, but President Eisenhower repelled an earlier invasion of illegals from Mexico by slashing the cosy political connections between the border authorities and the politicians serving the cheap-labor-hungry ranchers. He exiled the border authorities to other parts of the country and put one of his tough West Point buddies in charge of the southern border.

When I say "It worked," I mean we had a sense that there was a legal way to immigrate to America and obviously not everybody who wanted to come could be allowed but abuse and inundation were not an issue. Every January every alien had to go to a U.S. post office and register. Every single alien, legal; mind you, had to have a sponsor; someone with finances sufficient to guarantee the alien would never be a burden to American taxpayers.

Then we bigoted, mean-minded haters noticed something. Our immigration quotas favored white European Christians. Most Americans at that time were white Christians of European origin and seeking to maintain your nation's demographic make-up isn't exactly a war crime. Nonetheless we didn't want to be oerceived as a country that favored white Christian Europeans. So we junked those quotas and made new ones favoring those who'd previously been slighted.

Then the dam broke and the riptide of illegal immigration surged. Too much is enough! A wise man once said, "It's not whether you win or lose but where you place the blame." I neither know nor care who's responsible for that demographic dam-break.

I say, to hell with the cheese; let's get out of the trap.

Promise you won't tell France's new pro-American president you can't deport massive numbers of people who belong elsewhere on the planet. France is busy doing exactly that.

What we need is a wrenching national excruciation. Wrenching national excruciations are nothing new. Turkey is the world's role model for national wrenching excruciations. Turkey was on the losing side in World War I. After that war, a young officer took over named Mustafa Kemel. History prefers his nickname, Ataturk. Ataturk looked around and said, "Turkey is in the 15th century. We've got to get out of here!" And get out Turkey did.

Under Ataturk's rule, Turkey changed its alphabet! Can you imagine America changing over to the Arabic alphabet tomorrow? It's just as impossible to go the opposite way, but that's what Turkey did. They transitioned from the Arabic alphabet to the ABCs as the first move to join the modern world.

Then Ataturk said Turkey would be a modern secular state, the fundamental Islamists would have to go back to the mosque and stay there. And there they still remain. There's more, but you get the point.

Sweden needed a national excruciation and pulled it off beautifully. Sweden always drove on the left-hand side of the road. That may have been OK for an island like England, but Sweden bordered other countries. I remember the odd sensation of crossing from Norway with right-hand drive over to Sweden and changing sides of the road.

The Swedes knew the longer they waited the more excruciating the shift would be. In the 1960s they bit the bullet and did it. There were predictions of hundreds of terrible accidents. There wasn't a single one!

Finland, a democracy with a population of three and a half million, lost World War 11 to the Soviet Union. They were saddled with a war debt of 350 million dollars. They paid it. And they proceeded to zoom upward economically surpassing the standard of living of the victorious Soviet Union within a year or two after the war.

There's an intellectual and emotional weakness in America likely to equate deporting illegal aliens back to their homeland with jamming Jews into boxcars and sending them to Auschwitz. That's what the "Margies" and the "Harveys" of today want us to believe.


America is the country most people in the world would prefer to live in. It's a marvelous national compliment, but we can't accommodate them all.

What we can do is help the Mexicos of the world be more like America. The formula for Coca-Cola is a secret. The recipe for Heinz Ketchup is a secret.

The recipe for American prosperity is no secret; democracy, rule of law, the Bill of Rights, the market economy, and the eternal struggle to elect the worthy and reject the corrupt. All that's easy to translate into Spanish.

America built the Panama Canal. America made the atomic bomb. America landed on the moon. America can cut through the cant and con of the open-border pimps and deport as many people as deserve deportation. Excruciating? Yes. Appropriate? Also, yes.

If we could muster the will to pull off only half a national excruciation it would be enough. If we really landed hard on the employers of illegals there would be a massive self-deportation.

A country that cannot control its borders does not deserve the respect of those who cross those borders illegally.

In the past there were differences between Democrats and Republicans. There may someday be differences between them again. But for right now, on this immigration matter, our two parties are just "Margie" and "Harvey."


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Call it by its right name. It's not the "immigration bill" or the "attempted immigration bill" or the "failed immigration bill" or the "immigration bill in need of amendment." The American government tried to pull a coup against its people.It failed. It did,...
Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM
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