Friday, April 28, 2006

On Immigration, and Other Thoughts

OK. I get it. The immigration issue is a big deal for a lot of people. Frankly, I've been putting off posting on it because I'm trying to incorporate everything that's been happening over the last few months. I stand amazed at the lunacy that has taken over a lot of this debate. I'd love to tell you that both sides are equally extreme here, but honestly, the "anti-illegal immigration" crowd has earned a lot of the scorn here. As far as some people are concerned, if you're treating illegal immigrants like human beings, and not like felons, or if you recognize the unfeasibility of deporting 12 million illegals, you're for amnesty. If you think illegals ought to have a legal way of obtaining citizenship, you're a traitor to the laws. If you recognize that most of these people are hardworking, decent people who want a better life, you're for cheap labor. This debate has lost its balance. I know of no mainstream politician who has called for amnesty. I know of no mainstream politician saying that illegals shouldn't go to the back of the line. Yet all we hear about is how people who advocate a common sense approach want to reward criminals.

Let's be clear: The hardliners want to make these people into felons. They want troops on the border. They support uncouth vigilantes like the so-called Minutemen. They want to criminalize those who show compassion. Heck, there's even been a call for outright murder. THAT is what those protests were about. The Mexican flags bothered a lot of people. I get that, but I really think that was a cultural sign of solidarity, as if to say, "they're proud of the heritage."

Are there radicals amongst the protesters? Sure there are. Some do want amnesty. A radical few even want open borders. Many of the upcoming protests appear to be taking a more radical turn. I think that's the wrong approach. Let me say again, that is the wrong approach.

All I'm saying is that we need a common-sense approach to this problem. I don't think anyone's suggesting we do nothing. Most Americans regardless of Party recognize that there's a problem. We need secure borders. We need paths to legalization (not amnesty), and we need to punish those corporations who exploit undocumented workers and illegals. What we don't need is lunacy. What we don't need is self-righteous moralism. What we don't need is the unreconstructed paranoia of the likes of the John Birch Society.

Oh I can hear it now. I'll be called a left-wing smear artist, an open-borders advocate, a race-baiter, and an extremist by some. But I choose to take the position of that raving, America-hating moonbat named George W. Bush.

Oh, and in another related story, there's an uproar over a new Spanish version of the Star Spangled Banner. It's been done, according to the man behind this, to highlight America's immigrant heritage, and show support for the ideals of the anthem. The thing is, a lot of people aren't happy, and see this as a unpatriotic usurpation:

Some Internet bloggers and others are infuriated by the thought of "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung in a language other than English.

"Would the French accept people singing the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not," said Mark Krikorian, head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls.

An interesting point, but the French handle their language a lot differently then we do, and we have a different policy concerning Spanish and English. I suspect THAT's the heart of the criticism here. I fail to see how a translation undermines a work, as long as the main themes and design are preserved. If the Declaration was translated into Spanish, is that a usurpation? I suspect that politics of immigration are the real issue here, and if this were any other language (except probably Arabic-which would unleash an even bigger firestorm), this story would have fallen off the radar.

UPDATE: You know, I was thinking the whole Spanish anthem thing over, and while I don't impugn the motives of those involved (despite the obvious politics behind it), tradition does matter. I tried to understand part of their argument by considering the anthem in the context of other literary works (books, etc), but it really doesn't fit. The Star Spangled Banner is the anthem, and it was written in English. Many of the words are changed, including the title itself. I'm having trouble with it being changed. To be honest, I'm kind of against it being changed. Again, I don't think they're trying to incur the wrath of the people here, but I fear it's coming.

Oh, and in an unrelated story, Rosie O'Donnell is replacing Meredith Vieira on The View. Uh-huh, that's EXACTLY what that show needs.

What? I really mean that! I'm sorry if it sounded sarcastic.

Ok, it was.

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