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 To which the politician simply stated that he believed the laws are outdated and need to be adjusted to not leave behind a perfectly healthy sect of the population and demonize them for trying to follow the American dream.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.