Carol Platt Liebau: Misunderstanding the American People

Friday, April 28, 2006

Misunderstanding the American People

Over at Real Clear Politics, Peter Brown notes that the illegal immigrant May Day protests are quite likely to backfire both on the illegals, and on the people who wish to see them legalized.

Here's the reason: The sort of protest that has been planned fundamentally misjudges and misunderstands the American mind. It's a threat -- see how you can't get along without us. The problem is that Americans don't respond well to threats. We're not a people that cowers and backs down, and if you don't believe me, check in with Osama Bin Laden (if you can find him in his little hidey hole).

Rather, the illegal immigrants and and their political sponsors would be much better advised to appeal to the heart of the American people -- because most are generous and fair. Dr. Martin Luther King knew it, and advanced the pace of the long-overdue civil rights movement exponentially by appealing to our better natures.

But the kinds of tactics people choose to prove their worth or resolve a disagreement tells us a lot about who they are. Why, exactly, should any of us believe that the illegals who are willing to threaten a walkout either love this country or want to become one of the people that they believe they'll hurt by their absence?


Blogger COPioneer said...

Well Carol, America has survived an annual walkout on Cinco de Mayo for years, so just having back to back 3 day weekends probably won't cause much of a problem. Uno de Mayo could become another national holiday. I'll remember to drink a cerveza in their honor, except it'll be brewed in America.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I've been very much a fence-sitter on the immigration issue. On one hand I appreciate that the legal and security issues must be addressed. On the other hand I appreciate our nation's history as one of welcoming immigrants.

You're point has described my reaction exactly. The recent protests have taken the form of confrontational demand. That just doesn't sit well with me - especially when the illegal protestors are honoring their own countries over the United States of America. That just doesn't seem to be the way to appeal for legal residence status.

The protests have knocked me off the fence. I now count myself among those who demand strict enforcement of immigration laws and serious protection of our borders. Illegals need to be treated like criminals. I know that sounds harsh. But after all, they are illegal.

Those who wish to enter the United States should do so legally. I know it may be inconvenient, but it's the right way.

We have the right to decide who we allow into our own country. We should use that right wisely and screen all applicants so as to only allow those who desire to assimilate into our society to enter our country legally.

Thanks to the "in your face" nature of the recent protests, my position on this issue has become much more clearly defined in my own mind.

9:51 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Let the pearl-clutching begin! Sure, the Republican base is trying to pass a law that will make it a felony to be in the country illegally, presumably leading to the jailing of 11 million people -- but if the friends, relatives, neighbors, and spouses of those 11 million dare to do anything more than timidly ask for consideration, well, by golly, that's over the line!

Just like those uppity Negroes back in the 60s. After all, it's not like the Southern states had anything against civil rights -- they just hated those noisy, unnecessary protests!

10:43 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

Hmm, I believe it was Abe Lincoln, a Republican that truly began the freedom for those "uppity negroes". Again, wrabkin is an uninformed ranter. The protests in the 60s didn't include trying to create a new African nation. There is a HUGE difference between then and now, and you trying to grab at pearls of wisdom are eluding your liberal mind. Open it up!

11:15 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

If Lincoln is the last Republican you can find who believed in civil rights, you might want to accept that there's something wrong with your party.

And if you believe that the protestors are really attempting the "reconquista," then you migh want to accept that there's more than a tinge of racism to the reponse to the protestors.

It's so funny, I keep hearing people talking about how bad these illegal Mexicans are for all these economic reasons -- many of which are serious and need to be debated. But about two sentences in, the complainers start talking about how annoying it is that they speak Spanish all the time... that they smell bad... that their music is terrible... that their radio stations are awful.

There are serious issues regarding illegal immigration, no doubt. But on the Right, it's all so tied together with nationalism and race-hate, you won't be able to accomplish anything besides guaranteeing yourselves the same percentage of the Hispanic that you have of the black vote.

2:02 PM  
Blogger dstark said...

Nice response, wrabkin:

You managed to give a supposed rebuttal without including one single fact.

Here's a historical fact: A higher percentage of Republican Senators voted for the Civil Rights Act than did their Dixiecrat colleagues. No amount of name-calling will change that reality.

You then continue on, presenting a strawman argument (I paraphrase): all of us crazy right-wingers hate immigrants cause they speak Spanish and stink something awful. Very intelligently argued.

If you don't believe that the United States should defend its border, have the courage to argue your position. Don't make a chickensh*t attempt at smearing those who disagree with you. The fact is, ILLEGAL immigrants are not the "boon" to this country that both Republican and Democratic political idiots would have us believe. Sure, some of the people illegally entering the U.S. are wonderful people who want to work hard and contribute to America. However, some of the people coming over the border are full-fledged criminals who are helping to fill are already over-crowded jail cells.

Either way, allowing ANY group of persons to enter the U.S. illegally is incredibly damaging, not only to our social welfare and justice system, but also to the whole concept of American citizenship.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Indeed. The only people I've ever heard take a racist position were those who were racist already. And guess what? The ones I know would vote Democrat if they decided to vote at all. Certainly not representative of all Dems, but it makes the point that wrabkin's accusation is empty. I don't understand why people like this wrabkin person ignores the illegality of the situation and prefers to make accusations of racism. No one's calling for all of Mexican heritage to leave. No one's calling for anyone to leave due to his ancestry. We're only concerned with those who've invaded our country, entering illegally. They're trespassers and don't belong here. All those foreigners who came through proper channels are welcome as full citizens because they did it properly. Lies, like those wrabkin spews, don't make the situation easier.

7:06 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

I love this Republican chant that more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats.

You know something? You're right! Back in the early 60s, there was a large group of racist Southern Democrats. Then the Civil Rights act passed.

And what happened to those racist Dems?

Come on, guys, think real hard.

Got it yet?

I'll give you a hint:

Jesse Helms.

Now are you remembering? Those racist Southern Democrats who were furious about the passage of the Civil Rights Act?

They LEFT the Democratic Party. And gosh, where do you think they wound up?

Oh, yeah, they all became Republicans.

And thus the birth of Richard Nixon's Southern strategy.

So don't come claiming moral superiority because your party historically wasn't opposed to civil rights. You guys invited the racists in. You welcomed them. YOu based your entire electoral strategy around them.

And now you claim moral superority, because before you joined with them, you didn't.

The modern Republican party -- not the party of Lincoln, not even the party of Eisenhower -- is based on your greedy acceptance of a bunch of racists who couldn't stand a Democratic party that accepted Blacks as equals.

You're better than that? I'm thrilled to hear it. But when your candidates have to make the pilgrimage to Liberty University and sell out any independant thoughts they might ever have had before they can run, my apologies if I don't believe that your party is.

And if you don't want to be tarred with that brush, well, stop standing under it.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization." -- Ken Mehlman RNC chair.

This acknowledged organized Republican party outreach to racists is called the Southern Strategy. On this racial polarization have come all of the Republican electoral gains since the 1960s.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

One question for COPioneer, DStark and Marshall Art...

If Republicans and the Republican party stand on the side of angels in the race debate, why do the overwhelming majority (90+%) of African-Americans consistently vote Democratic?

5:09 AM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

First: Jesse Helms became a Republican before the Voting Rights Act was passed. Before that, he was an aid to a conservative Democrat North Carolina senator. James Meredith, first black to integrate the Univ. of Mississippi, later worked as an aid to Helms. Would Meredith have worked for a racist?

When running for the Democratic nomination for president, Howard Dean's opponents pointed out that Dean had never appointed a black to his staff while Gov. of Vermont, and had no blacks on his campaign staff. Does that make him racist?

Hardly all Dixiecrats jumped parties after the Voting Rights Act passed. Richard Russell, Mendell Rivers, J. Wm. Fulbright, Fritz Hollings, Al Gore, Sr. and Robert "Klegel" Byrd were some who on as stayed Democrats.

Since inviting racists into a party was brought up, do the names Cynthia McKinney, Carole Moseley Braun, and Sheila Jackson Lee ring bells in any liberal minds? They are not eeeeevil Republicans.

How about Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton, Rev. Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson, who in 1984 called New York Jews "Hymies" and New York City "Hymietown." They aren't out in public promoting Republicans. Are they racists?

John McCain has spoken at Liberty University, so that makes him a racist? Using that logic, Bill Clinton is a Communist, because he spoke at Beijing University 6/29/98. And since Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at West Point 9/30/43, long before it accepted females, that makes her a closet sexist, right?

Numerous conservatives, including Carol, have spoken out against Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's opinions. Few, if any, Democrats have rebuked Sharpton, Jackson, Farrakhan, Byrd, McKinney, Moseley Braun, or Jackson Lee. Isn't that rather hypocritical?

Perhaps liberals should look up the psychological definition for "projection." Seeing everyone who disagrees with them as a stooopid, evil, bigoted, racist, anti-poor, environment ravaging, sexist, lying nutcase reflects more about themselves than the objects of their vilification.

Second: There is not unanimity about what "Southern Strategy" means, or whether it was responsible for Nixon's election. The southern votes split three ways, between Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace (who ran as an Independent but was the Democrat who stood in the University of Alabama's doorway to prevent its integration). Nixon's national vote pushed him ahead of the other two. Nixon's landslide win over McGovern wasn't caused by any "Southern Strategy."

As to why blacks vote for Democrats, I'm not telepathic.

(Apologies to Carol for using a lot of her bandwidth.)

7:58 AM  
Blogger Righty64 said...

Please look at all of the groups that are supporting this "Day Without An ILLEGAL(my version) Immigrant"
Has anyone heard of ANSWER? They are a fifth columnist group that not only oppose the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but American social and econmic policies.
How about ATZLAN? They want the American Southwest returned to Mexican rule and that Mexico to be a socialist/communist state a la Cuba.
What I am sure is that the vast majority of those that will be protesting have no clue about all of this. They are but pawns in a political game in which the Democrats think they have an automatic pipeline of voters if 10-20 million illegal aliens are made citizens. The Republicans are always made to feel that taking a strong stand for the rule of law is somehow racist and sexist and all the other ists and isms and cave in.
The backlash will affect the Democrats more than the Repbulicans and if we increase the Republican majorities in congress, then real and meaningful reform can occur.

10:19 AM  
Blogger bethtopaz said...

My grandfather came to America from Copenhagen, Denmark when he was 21. He moved to Rockford, Illinois, met and married a 2nd generation Swede and gave birth to three children - one of whom is my mother. My mother's father came here to be an American. He dreamed the American dream. My grandfather was proud that, during the Great Depression, he never had to stand in a bread line, but was able to be self-sufficent during a very difficult time in our history. He came here legally and assimilated into this great melting pot of immigrants. Legal immigrants! Illegal immigrants are not immigrants at all - they are Illegals. They are here illegally and butting into the line ahead of those who are following the basic rules of becoming an American citizen. Just ask yourself -- How do you feel when you are standing in line at the movie theater, the grocery store, etc. and someone comes up and butts in line in front of you? That's exactly what this is. Illegal butting in line. Kinda ticks me off.

And I, too, was previously on the fence regarding Illegals. Now I am firmly on one side of the fence after observing all the demonstrations of this past month.

I am now in favor of strict border control and enforcement of legal immigration.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"why do the overwhelming majority (90+%) of African-Americans consistently vote Democratic?"

That's what WE'D like to know! It's not the right that says a black needs help to succeed in the form of affirmative action.

11:03 PM  

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