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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

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10 Comments

  1. Cottonmather0 says:

    And yet, the amazing this is, us idiots still actually VOTE for that stuff… at least now I know it’s because we’re being tricked and not because we, that is, the majority of voters, actually care about the issues involved. How naive we all must be!

    Funny how the party in power seems to understand that elections are meant to represent the will of the people… But perhaps that’s why they’re in power? Because they get the most votes?

    Actually, if all the illegals started voting….

    Nah, I won’t be that cynical.

  2. Kts says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The Republicans are masters at using racist, incendiary fear tactics to get the public on their side. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have already began chipping away at the naturalization process for immigrants. When 6 in 10 Americans polled, believe that immigration is positive for America, its clear to see through the divisive policies of the Republican party.

  3. Cottonmather0 says:

    Kts,

    Please enlighten us to the results when polls refer to *ILLEGAL* immigration and not just the generic word “immigration”. Voters are smart enough to know the difference, despite attempts to confuse and obfuscate otherwise.

  4. Kts says:

    Cotton, poll results which generalize questions like “On the whole, do you think immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?” in no way attempts to confuse the lines between illegal or legal immigrants. Generally the public is supportive of immigrants whether or not you want to believe it. They view all demographic of immigrants as hardworking contributors to our society and whose impact benefits us as a whole. Representative Farrar’s comments hit the nail on the head. Compartmentalizing immigration in this way only serves to negatively embolden critics whose only purpose is to pit races and classes against one another instead of finding common-sense solutions to illegal immigration. Btw, here is the poll found at http://www.publicagenda.org

    IMMIGRATION: People’s Chief Concerns
    Survey Organization: Gallup Organization

    Question: On the whole, do you think immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?

    Good thing 61%
    Bad thing 34%
    Mixed [vol.] 3%
    No opinion 2%

    Sample: 2,264 adults
    Methodology: Telephone interview conducted June 6-25, 2005
    Note: Percentages may not add to 100 percent because of rounding.

  5. Dennis says:

    Cottonmather0 – thanks for making that point. I’m not sure which party does a better job of misusing the word “immigration”. Worse than that, I’m not sure the average voter is smart enough to make the distinction between illegal and legal. Is legal immigration, and the positive benefits it brings, really the issue here?

  6. Sergio D says:

    I am sure Dennis ‘Democrats need to reflect the views of the majority’ can educate the average voter on how to distinguish an illegal from a legal…they are the Hispanic looking ones.

  7. Dennis says:

    Sergio – thank you for proving my point.

  8. That’s Dennis “the life long Democrat” to you Sir.

    Funny. I have only been a 7 year Democrat and havent seen Dennis once.

  9. Bill says:

    I remember an illegal alien that used to come into my home every night . . . named Peter Jennings.

  10. Sergio D says:

    Go over to UofH, TSU or any college campus and you will see some…and they will not be the brown-looking ones that Dennis despises.