Towards A Good Samaritan World

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"A simple, unambiguous lie." That's what Rocky Mountain News columnist (and a former colleague of my dad's) Paul Campos calls the Republican ad campaign which claims that "Reid's Democrat allies voted to treat millions of hard-working immigrants as felons, while Republican leaders work for legislation that will protect our borders and honor our immigrants."

But no, it's not a lie; rather, it's two truths put together in a highly misleading way. Reid's allies voted against an amendment that would downgrade illegal residence from a "felony" to a "misdemeanor." Then they voted against the law with the "felony" language, to their credit; but, in the words of a certain Democratic leader, "they voted for it before they voted against it," and that makes the statement in the ad (misleading but) true. As for the second statement, "Republican leaders" is a diverse group. Bush is tainted a bit by the rumor that the "felon" idea came from his Justice Department, but given his passionate rhetorical support for immigrants I won't believe he's to blame for this unless we get some real proof. Bush is a "Republican leader." He's working for some sort of amnesty (though he won't call it that) and a guest worker program. McCain is also a "Republican leader." He's certainly working to "protect our borders and honor our immigrants."

I'd call the Republican ad, not "a simple, unambiguous lie," but perhaps a form of penance, expressed in the strange and sordid language of politics. We've turned the corner so quickly and decisively that now we're attacking our own law, trying to smear our opponents with the stigma of it! That's assuming that Republicans have really repented, or rather that the evildoers who spearheaded HR4437 have forfeited their influence within the Republican Party and that leadership is passing to Bush, McCain, and the other Republican good guys.

It even occurs to me... no doubt this is far-fetched but it's fun to speculate... that Bush DID slip the "felon" language into the law through the backdoor, for the same reason that the Democrats voted to keep it in the law: as a way to humiliate wicked anti-immigration hardliners... That would really be delicious. Assuming, of course, that the law (or rather, resolution) doesn't actually become law.

It might be even better if it DOES become law, and that a lot of do-gooder priests and teachers and other charity workers do jail time, get their faces in the newspapers and the history books, and stain the anti-immigration cause with the ignominy it deserves, forever. I'm starting to sound like Lenin: the worse, the better...

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