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August 1st, 2006:

Guest post: Jessica Farrar

Let me tell you why the recent immigration issue has little to do with the immigration issue and why the anti-immigration rhetoric affects not only Hispanics, but everyone.

To begin with, today’s immigrants are to this year’s election what gays were to last year’s election, and what guns and abortion have been to past elections. This ploy is expected to drive the conservative voter base to the polls and dupe otherwise well meaning voters, much as the gay marriage issue successfully did last year. Given that proven strategy, we should all be concerned. What group is it going to be next year? Could it be African Americans? Or, will it be Asians? Maybe it will be non-Christians. Maybe it will be women since women’s health is constantly barraged by so-called morals over science and medicine.

Don’t be surprised when it’s your group. Conservatives have been extremely successful with wedge issues. Now, they’ve become emboldened to go directly after individual groups. The immigration issue is really genius because it divides us by turning African Americans and Anglos against Hispanics at worst, or makes them complacent at best because it’s not seen as their issue. This tactic alone should enrage everyone.

In last year’s elections, conservatives were highly successful with the “gay marriage” issue. Who would have thought that something that was not legal in Texas, was not only made illegal but also written into the state’s constitution writing off an entire segment of Texans? Same sex marriage had never been (pardon my pun) proposed. To my knowledge, a bill had never been filed in the State Legislature. Yet, conservatives convinced voters they needed to go to the polls to chisel it into the state constitution. It worked! Conservatives made up the numbers they lack in their voter base with Hispanics and African Americans and many other well intentioned people who don’t normally vote for their political party. Conservatives convinced these voters that “gay marriage” was a real threat and had to vote to do something about it. Consequently, more conservative politicians were elected in those elections to the detriment of too many of the issues that actually do affect people’s everyday lives, unlike their wedge issues. People have been convinced to vote God, gays, guns, and abortion while their ability to support their families or get ahead in life are being voted away by the politicians they’ve elected. It’s happening again, only this year’s wedge issue is immigration.

Another reason everyone needs to be concerned about the immigration issue is conservatives’ call to revisit birth citizenship. Our Constitution says that if you’re born in this country, you automatically become a citizen of it. But, what happens if this policy is changed? Then, everyone born in this country is affected, Hispanic or not. This tactic is really devious because it brings out the absolute worst bigotry in society. In the psyche of someone made to feel threatened by the diversity of this country, it’s the nail in the coffin to those that don’t look like them. It’s a way of stopping those people who are taking over everything, in their minds. Not only does this question not have any practical solution, the sole purpose of bringing it up is to pour lighter fluid on the flames of racism. I know, racism is a bad word to say. Interestingly, the people who think it is are usually those that don’t believe it exists or ever existed. Let’s douse those flames with a fire extinguisher not a fire igniter. It’s dangerous to allow those fires to spread.

I ask that we not be duped yet once again by the rhetoric of the Right. Don’t allow conservatives to continue to bring out the worst in us. Great leaders don’t incite fear. Instead, great leaders inspire courage and ask us to be greater than ourselves. Franklin Roosevelt, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, lifted us when he said that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. John F. Kennedy challenged us to ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country.

Though the qualities of hope, courage, and loving thy neighbor are absent in the political party in power today, create it for yourself on the immigration issue as well as with their future wedge issues. Have your own talking points. Arm yourself with actual answers to conservatives’ charges. Combat their myths with reality. Our country can only take so much. There are real life consequences to today’s voting patterns. The pendulum may indeed swing back one day, but many of their changes to our laws won’t find the political will to be switched back and we may not ever recover from their ravaging of our country’s resources and good will. Do what you can today to save our country’s future by sealing our borders against further recklessness. Migrate away from their poisonous fertilizer. Don’t allow conservatives to continue to use the tactic of divide and conquer. Instead, let us unite and conquer.

Jessica Farrar
State Representative
House District 148

Adopt a Sign in Fort Bend

Want to help turn Fort Bend County a little bluer this election cycle? Give Juanita a hand in putting yard signs where people will see them. Who knows, maybe Tom DeLay himself will drive past one of the signs you’re sponsoring. Adopt a sign in Fort Bend and you can make that happen.

Meanwhile, if the questions being asked by the fifth Circuit judges are any indication, it looks like DeLay will be the candidate on the ballot in November. Paul Burka has more. Unless, of course, DeLay acknowledges reality and makes his withdrawal official. Juanita has some speculation on that.

Richmond rail rally today

From in the inbox:

Richmond rail supporters to hold counter-rally at 9:00 am Tuesday right outside Culberson press event
Culberson presumes to “announce his decision” Tuesday regarding rail on Richmond

Houston, TX Aug 1, 2006 Congressman John Culberson continues to conspire with opponents of public transit to kill rail on Richmond. He will be the “keynote speaker” at their anti-Richmond rally and press briefing at James Coney Island on Tuesday at 10:00 am.

Show up at 9:00 am and get the other side of the story!
Richmond Rail supporters will hold a counter demonstration right outside at 9:00 am Tuesday to show our disgust with the Congressman and our support for rail on Richmond.

What: Richmond rail supporters’ counter-rally outside Culberson’s press event

When: Tuesday August 1 from 9:00 to 10:00 am

Where: 3607 Shepherd Dr. at Richmond Avenue (77098) on the sidewalk in front of James Coney Island

It’s time for John Culberson to answer some tough questions!
Why does John Culberson presume “to decide” the fate of the Universities line?!?

Why is John Culberson working with a handful of NIMBYs from just one or two neighborhoods? John Culberson took an oath to represent his entire district, and the Universities rail project will affect all Houstonians. But he’s here today with a small group of anti-rail leaders from Afton Oaks. Why?

Why is John Culberson pandering to fear mongerers?
Richmond rail opponents continue to claim that rail will hurt traffic while METRO has now shown that NO traffic lanes will be lost and nearly every left turn will remain. Rail opponents have personally terrified small business owners on Richmond with false claims that METRO has now refuted, but Culberson is standing firm.

Why is John Culberson suddenly a new champion of displaced businesses?
John Culberson personally oversaw the condemnation of more than 480 properties to expand the Katy Freeway — including Courtesy Chevrolet, Ciro’s, 90% of Spring Valley’s commercial tax base, and others — all to “improve mobility.” In contrast, METRO has now shown they can run rail down Richmond to bring urban transit to Greenway Plaza and the Galleria by taking only 8 properties, one of which is vacant and one an “adult” bookstore, but Culberson “won’t let that happen.” Why???

Why won’t Culberson support urgently-needed urban transit for central Houston?
Two weeks ago, Culberson’s House committee awarded $700 million to Dallas for another 45 miles of light rail, doubling the size of their system. But back in Houston, Culberson co-chaired Texans for True Mobility which fought the METRO referendum and he has failed to deliver the federal funds Houston is depending on.

Is anyone surprised that Culberson will pursue the anti-Richmond agenda? Didn’t think so. Click the More link for a press release from the Citizens Transportation Coalition.

UPDATE: The following is a press release from Jim Henley:

Jim Henley, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congressional District 7 strongly supports the development of light rail in Houston. Mayor Bill White, City Council, and METRO, recognizing the importance of transportation to the economic and environmental vitality of the city, have undertaken an open and inclusive evaluation process to determine appropriate locations for light rail lines. The current debate over the proposed locations of the University rail line is an important issue for our city and its continued growth and prosperity. Under Mayor White’s leadership the process to choose the final route of the University line should continue as started, at a local level. The interference of Rep. John Culberson in this process is suspect given his long history of opposition to rail in Houston and the proximity of the November election.