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The Arrrogance of the Right

I fear my little brother is lost. I don't know what happened to his mind, but sometime in his developmental years all of my father's skewed conservatism siphoned into him and now he is little more than an antagonistic parrot who apparently lives to jab people in the ribs to see if he can get a rise out of them.

He sent me to a link today to a radio show in which some loud-mouthed talking head was tearing apart some politician for attempting to tackle the issue of educating the children of law-abiding illegal aliens. As predicted, the usual garbage came out: stealing a spot at a public university that belongs to a true-blooded American, illegal means illegal means bad, rewarding a crime will only bring more illegals who will drain on our system, blah blah blah.

Interestingly enough, the first woman who called defended the legislation -- which would allow illegals who have been living in the state for more than 3 years and have been law-abiding and contributed to society to pay in-state tuition at public universities as long as they sign a waiver of intent to naturalize. Of course, she felt the need to remind them that she's a "Republican who bleeds red, white, and blue," unlike those black-hearted lefties working to hack away at the moral fibers of this country. Still, she felt that the immigration laws for citizenship are archaic and unnavigable, and need to be adjusted. And that for those who are law-abiding tax-payers and their children who work hard should be able to seek opportunity just like anyone else. I was shocked and relieved to know that there is at least one Republican in all of Wisconsin who seems to be able to get beyond the lowest common denominator of "illegal means bad!"

After a few more callers and general shouting, the actual politician who authored the bill called in to issue a "Hang on a damn second" defense. Of course, any time he tried to give any details of the bill the host would remind him that "he's not running the show." Asking him things like "what part of illegal don't you understand?" To which the politician simply stated that he believed the laws are outdated and need to be adjusted to not leave behind a perfectly healthy sect of the population and demonize them for trying to follow the American dream. Well played, sir.

This is the problem I have: the arrogance of the right wing. These people will jump all over you if you dare to suggest that "all men are created equal" applies also to those who live outside our borders, if you dare to imply that perhaps every single person on the planet has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They will shout you down about this so-called "entitlement mentality" and will insist that only those who pay actually "deserve" have an opportunity to reap the rewards of this country.

This idea, to me, is cruel and exclusionary and leads to a dangerous path. It feeds this notion that "America is the greatest country ever" and that our citizens are somehow superior to anyone who wishes to become a citizen of our country, that Americans deserve by right of their birth to come first, and that they must be protected from newcomers who are somehow less trustworthy than those born on American soil.

The oversimplification is disgusting. This notion that the law is law and is therefore right and true and should be followed to the letter is absurd. The law is meant to change to better accommodate the people. The idea that we're "rewarding bad behavior" when we change the law is inane. I don't understand how anyone can honestly look at a person who is working, paying taxes, and has demonstrated a commitment to living in a specific area and trying to improve their fortunes in life and say that that person is doing something wrong.

I also love that the "intellectual elite" are somehow evil people. Since when is critical thinking a bad thing? When did being educated become a con? I guess we should be reverting to rule by the down-to-earth folksy people who don't seem to know that Africa is a continent, not a country. That seems like an excellent idea. Then we can all sit around the proverbial fire, refuse to see shades of gray and shout that ILLEGAL MEANS BAD REGARDLESS OF CONTEXT.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 30th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Because God forbid that anybody be SMART.

(Or, at least, "smarter than ME.")
Mar. 31st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I know!

Oh, and since these are complex issues I don't really understand I'm going to boil them down to the lowest common denominator and repeat the same oversimplified argument until the world runs out of oxygen... or until I find something that morally enrages me, and then I can bust out my soapbox and bemoan disintegrating virtues!
Mar. 30th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Funny story about the government and being a "real" American... THEY DON'T DO A DAMN THING FOR ME!

That isn't a comment at all about whether illegals deserve it or not, I'm just sayin' that I've paid my taxes since I was 15, almost 10 years, and they refuse to do anything for me or my family. This "all men created equal" aversion applies to an entire realm of people living under a certain socio-economic boundary.

Also, I have a friend who lives in Texas and therefore has very strong ideas about immigrants, which is understandable since in his city they cause a lot of strain on the city resources and cause a lot of accidents. However, he believes that the history of this country provides that if you come to this country and are willing to accept its ideals (read, currently: naturalize and become a citizen who contributes to the overall well-being of society) then you are following the American dream. I hope that soon enough we come to realize all of these things and change the laws-- they are outdated and need to be modified, not just for the immigrants, but also for our country.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Well, my father (and therefore brother) would argue that the government isn't supposed to "do a damn thing" for anyone. They're supposed to defend our shores, deliver our mail, and get the fuck out.

"There you go bringing class into it again..."

I said something to that effect, and he accused me of being a "classist" and said that it was "sad I am so bigoted." Guess that applies to you too, hon.

But no, I agree with you. I think "all men are created equal" is a luxury -- considering the tiny sect of the population that can truly experience that notion, but I don't think it should be.

And I do understand that in Texas or Arizona where there is actual violence to be seen from smugglers and whatnot, that there are very definite opinions on this. I'm surprised to hear that your friend holds that one, but it gives me hope. The general sentiment I've seen is "shoot 'em" which is disheartening.

Still, for my brother? This is friggen Wisconsin. They have one of the highest tax rates in the country, and yet these law-abiding people are still there, and have been there for years and are just trying to make it honest under a system that is archaic. Context.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was really impressed when Brent told me that considering where he's from. His mother is a social worker, and she deals almost exclusively with immigrant families, so she's slightly less sympathetic, but would be entirely happy if they were offered a way to learn English (which they actually are, but nobody takes it because there's no reason to-- the Mexican consulate offers ESL classes for free) and get gainful employment (as most of what she does is dealing with families who don't have any income and five kids) and become members of society.

It's the same in Wisconsin, I see, as it is half the rest of the country filled with working-class people. They pay their taxes to the government and support it (quite well, at that!) and don't expect anything but guns in return. It gets under my skin every election year.
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
amen sister.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Mar. 31st, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
While I agree with your points, I don't feel the issue is a completely "right wing" issue; I believe that any person who is too fundamentalist in their beliefs, whether they be liberal or conservative tend to get that holier than thou, arrogant attitude. I don't believe any one person can have ALL liberal ideas or ALL conservative ides, and if they do, they need to open up their mind a little more.
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
I would apply a different label to the fundamentalist lefty. Here's why:

In my personal experience, I have seen right-wingers try to force their morals and religion on others; I have seen them honestly believe they are "the only side with sense" and the rest of us are inferior college-brainwashed bumpkins; I have seen them take vocabulary to create demeaning hot-button words that cloud issues to illustrate some overarching theme of outrage or control (the actual meanings are beneath them); I have seen them tell people from other countries that Americans are "the best" when they haven't even left our shores; and I've seen them whine endlessly about the dangers of the leftist media when they patently refuse to even check if their right-wing propaganda is at all based in truth or whether they're just generating outrage to keep the cogs turning. Furthermore, they then have the gall to come up to me -- someone whose job it is to be the media -- and tell me I don't know what I'm talking about because Rush said this one thing. (even though they haven't done any research.) That is arrogance.

For the lefties, I would call them condescending. I've seen plenty of them who write off people who don't hold their beliefs as "stupid hicks." I know many who put themselves on a bit of a pedestal for their "compassionate beliefs" and then look down on others who don't for perfectly logical reasons. I know a bunch who -- for some reason -- seem to think that the masses are too dumb to take care of themselves and need government to do it for them. However, I have not known the left to be nearly as domineering, angry or as loud as the right. On a personal level, they tend to be more willing to see exceptions to the rule, even if they refuse to change their oh-so-brilliant opinion on the matter. It's the softer side of fanaticism, if you will.

Of course, on either side of the spectrum you do have closed-mindedness because no one really enjoys being told they're wrong. Unfortunately, I do think that this is largely a nation of sheep voting down party lines because it's easy and there's community in it. I think that may have started to shift, and I hope people really do start to take an interest in their government and the actual issues at hand... but I'm not holding my breath.
Mar. 31st, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
/me goes to hug the neighboring country with official goals for increasing immigration again
Mar. 31st, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
Because, you know, Wisconsin has such a high rate of illegal immigration. *rolls eyes*
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
I know, right?

Oh, but it could snowball! Snowball into what? Law-abiding people moving to your state, living there and paying taxes for 3 years before trying to attend a school where they would PAY tuition? Man. That's gotta be a bitch.
Apr. 1st, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
I'd have to say that as a liberal, illegal immigration is one of the few issues I'm "conservative" on. I think the proposed bill to charge out of state tuition and "intent" to naturalize is an OK step, but who know how long that "intent" will take! Granted, I live in California, so I'm probably more exposed to illegal immigration than most folks.

Essentially, I do believe in opening the borders to all that would contribute to our society by legal means. And I understand that PLENTY of natural-born citizens are lazy and milking our government, too. But for now, I am a believer in deportation (yes, even if it means breaking up families -- consequences must be endured for illegal behavior) BUT I also believe our nation must make legal immigration much easier time- and finances-wise.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Well, this is Wisconsin we're talking about. Illegal immigration is really NOT a huge problem here. And while I agree that the "intent" thing is pretty hazy, it gets them registered in a system, and it's really a fault of the government that the nationalization process is so ludicrous.

The issue I have here with deportation is that if someone commmits an misdemeanor or felony, I'm all for booting them back. But if the only crime committed is that they crossed the border illegally and are now living lawfully and contributing to society, I see no reason to tell them to get the hell out.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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