Monday, March 27, 2006

[Theme of the Week]


If you're a liberal, immigration is a weird issue. Yeah, it's a security risk, but no where near as serious as the ports. There are a host of social and economic justice issues, trade issues, and environmental issues, but they're relatively slow-burning. A liberal can turn her mind to the issue, but it doesn't seem particularly juicy. Righties? Immigration is the issue. I was watching it emerge through the labyrinth of conservative talking points until it seemed like a real issue (issues on the right often seem to flare violently from nowhere--remember Terri Schiavo?--before vanishing into the ether), but I didn't really understand it until this week that immigration had ascended.

On my other blog, BlueOregon, the Oregon Secretary of State's communication director, Anne Martens, posted her thoughts on immigration--"Brown is the New Black."
There has been more and more anti-immigrant sentiment lately. And by anti-immigrant, I mean anti-Mexican. I'm sick of it. It's time to call this what it is: racism.
She posted it on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21, and it got 21 comments that day--robust but unextraordinary. The next day, another 35 comments came in (again, unextraordinary). Somewhere along the line, the righties got a hold of it (Victoria Taft, a local screecher, other nuts, also here, and apparently a mention by local--and national--Limbaugh wannabe, Lars Larson), which ultimately led to a state Rep (Linda Flores--R, Clackamas) holding a rally at the state Capitol to rail against illegal immigration. This created a nuclear explosion on the thread, which has at this writing 151 comments--a record for BlueOregon.

Intelligent responses to Anne's critique included the usual misogyny:
"Where did they find this little small-minded left-wing bitch?"

"Can you believe she lives alone with her cat?"
And also beyond-the-pale jingoism.
"She is an arrogant fool. That you haven't been fired for your anti-AMERICAN statements is no surprise. It confirms that Oregon law and U.S. law mean nothing to liberals."
Clearly, there's something going on here among the righty crowd. This week, in coordination with the Senate's consideration, I'll look into immigration, including the right-wing fascination with it and why Anne was right about one element of the debate being deeply racist. Even for liberals, it should be an interesting topic.


iggi said...


Chuck Butcher said...

Funny, there are some actual principles at work that go far beyond racism. You'll have a tough time explaining to a blue collar worker why his wage should be depressed so people who have come into the country illegally can have a job. It looks particularly bad when the economic benefits of a flood of cheap labor all go to the rich and powerful. This worker bears no responsibility for the condition of any other country but he'll get to bear the cost. It's going to be real interesting to be a Democrat trying to win back some of the blue collar vote with this albatros around my neck. Just because the illegals tend to be Hispanic does not make the arguement against the continuation of "in sourcing" racism. Sure there are some racists involved, but arguements against doing something based on racism are also racist, rather than logical.

Terrorism is a red-herring, a terrorist is a determined foe, he will figure out a way to get in, but this doesn't address the common criminal element that just walks in. Yes, they're a minority, but I think we have plenty of the home grown variety already.

Progressives pride themselves on the ability to think vs. the conservative knee jerk, this race card is just knee jerk, study the numbers and speak facts and you've done something, but it will make trouble for the "let them alone" arguement. I run and work on a small residential construction crew, my people make about 50% what I made as a crew member 20 years ago, while there are other factors at work, the biggest and most addressable one is cheap illegal labor. Neither my crew, nor I can afford much sympathy that doesn't address our plight. If that sounds hard, try making a living doing this.