Misery Strategy

The good ole New York Times online editorial page has another gutsy editorial today called The Misery Strategy. It’s all about our determination to be tough on immigrants, and in fact, to be tough in general. Has the Bush-Cheney toughness mantra seeped into the American psyche? Here’s a couple pertinent paragraphs:

Toughness is now the mantra at every level of government. The Senate had struggled for years to erect the immense framework of bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform, coupling stricter enforcement with a citizenship path and an orderly future flow of workers. But restrictionists pushed the unwieldy structure over, and now even its architects have fled the scene.

Senator John McCain, trying to keep his presidential hopes aloft by jettisoning his courage and good sense, has leapt to the enforcement barricades, joining Senators Jon Kyl and Lindsey Graham in sponsoring a bill that is essentially a Minuteman’s to-do list of fence-building and punishments. He has shamefully repudiated his commitment to giving illegal immigrants a way to get right with the country. Senator Arlen Specter, meanwhile, wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post titled “A Less Ambitious Approach to Immigration,” in which he endorsed the creation of a permanent noncitizen immigrant underclass, saying it is the best we can hope for until “a more hospitable America” emerges.

The editorial concludes with the following two sentence paragraph:

The American people cherish lawfulness but resist cruelty, and have supported reform that includes a reasonable path to earned citizenship. Their leaders have given them immigration reform as pest control.

But I wonder about the first of the above two sentences. Have the American people supported reform in this instance, or has the seepage of the Bush-Cheney toughness mantra clouded our vision?

  1. Danielle’s avatar

    Specter’s comment is illogical to me. How can a permanent underclass be created and established within the American culture and there ever be a chance for a more hospitable America to emerge?

    I am still working my mind around the immigration situation and Mexico and find it outright amusing that Ron Paul supporters are so similar to Dennis Kucinich supporters of which group I am. The fine line in the sand is immigration. The rhetoric and prejudice in their arguments on the issue have created a gaping hole in our country.

    Let us all remember that the Native aboriginal first peoples of America share their country with generations of immigrants.

    As always

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for your comment, Danielle. Yes, I guess what you’re saying in regard to Spector’s proposal is that creating a non-citizen underclass is an inhospitable act in itself. But maybe what Spector is suggesting is that this would be less inhospitable than simply increasing enforcements, fence-building, and punishments. Clearly his solution is a wimpy one, as the editorial suggests.

    I looked up a Kucinich statement and a Paul statement on immigration and they don’t seem to agree, although I know they’re close on the war. I side with Kucinich on immigration, and probably the war as well.

    I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you write, “The rhetoric and prejudice in their arguments on the issue have created a gaping hole in our country.” It seems like you’re referring to Kucinich and Paul, but this can’t be right.

    The problem is that it’s not possible in the present inhospitable climate to establish “bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform, coupling stricter enforcement with a citizenship path and an orderly future flow of workers”, as the editorial says.

    So what can be done? Apparently not much in the present climate.

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>