Opposing illegal immigration - without 'hate'?
This continues a discussion that developed a few days ago; to get the context please go read this post and the thread of comments.
Bottom line: The commenter, Zimzo, makes a case that 'the rhetoric of anti-immigration groups does share characteristics with the the rhetoric of racist groups' and also implies there is more to it than rhetoric. He says it's really a matter of narrow-minded thinking. Hate.
He discounts my contention that illegal immigration has a negative effect on American communities and questions the factual basis of my argument. He goes on to say my arguments - and by extension those of anyone else who opposes illegal immigration - derive from a Republican effort to distract attention from the Iraq war.
If anyone is so inclined, it would be nice to get some input in Comments on the following topics brought up in this thread:
- Is it possible to be 'anti-illegal' and not be racist? Don't Help Save Herndon, the Minutemen and others use the same language as the white supremecists?
- Is the 'Reconquista' ideology something we should even pay attention to?
- Is this whole idea of overcrowded houses, zoning violations, and degraded schools a reality, or is it just a myth? Does anyone have any evidence?
- Those people on the border who express 'extremist' views about illegal immigrants who may be criminals: Are they crazy?
- The numbers of people coming across our southern border are negligable, right? Just the occasional peasant family seeking a better life?
- Any comments on other topics brought up in the messages below?
Please click on the link below to read the rest.
Again, please go read this post and the thread of comments for the full background.
Sorry, Joe, but I don't agree to disagree. Fine if you want to believe the Southern Poverty Law Center is not credible, but do you deny the quotes are real?
The sad fact is that much of the rhetoric of anti-immigration groups does share characteristics with the the rhetoric of racist groups.
I know. This is one of the biggest problems we face: How to publicly oppose illegal immigration and not be branded as racists or as a 'hate group.' Help Save Herndon (and the Minutemen) are absolutely scrupulous about not allowing yahoos and racists into their respective folds - because we are not racists and our concern has nothing to do with ethnicity! But opposing illegal immigration by definition means being pitted against a 'group' - the group being people who are in the U.S. illegally - and whenever you oppose a 'group' you set yourself up to be labeled as prejudiced.
In this instance the label is patent nonsense because opposition to lawbreakers would fit no reasonable person's definition of 'prejudice.' But it's an easy issue to demagogue, I'll grant you.
An observation: The charge of 'bigotry' sure does fly easily from the left side of the aisle, on a number of issues.
The Aztlan canard is promoted mostly by white supremacist hate groups such as VDARE, not by pro-immigration groups, which you even admit.
No, I didn't 'admit' any such things. I didn't say the Aztlan ideology or the Mexica movement are 'canards', nor do I know to what extent they are 'promoted' by white supremecists groups (unless, you mean, that I am a white supremecist group), nor do I know who VDARE is. If anyone else knows about VDARE, please feel free to comment.
(And as far as characterizing VDARE as a hate group, let's just say that not only is there ample evidence for it, but I also happen to have known anti-immigration immigrant Peter Brimelow and we had some very interesting and quite shocking conversations about his belief that white people are intellectually superior to other races.)
Ok, although I've never heard of the guy, if that's true you can rest assured I'll not be a member of the Peter Brimelow fan club. Thanks for the heads up.
What's worse, you even admit these beliefs represent a very tiny minority...
No, dude, I sure do NOT 'admit' that. I said 'I know we've been through this and I did stipulate the Aztlan bunch may be a tiny, vocal minority.' That's because visitor Stay Puft and I have been debating this issue and I admitted I don't know the actual demographics of how many illegal immigrants subscribe to the Aztlan or Mexica ideologies. It may be a tiny minority, I must admit. The ideology may have no real-world significance. I don't have any statistical research to prove otherwise.
I also haven't seen any research AT ALL claiming it's not a widespread ideology.
If you want to know my personal belief, I'll tell you right now: I think ideology tends to precede, outrun and outlive it adherants. If you want that unpacked, let me know. The short explanation is that ideas persist via cultural artifacts such as the printed word, cultural narratives and artistic images. I think ideology can be very powerful, so I think the reconquista ideas are pretty important.
But I admit I'm not all-knowing, so I proffer it may be a tiny minority at this time.
...but you "think their ideas should be widely publicized over and over just so American citizens will be perhaps overly alert."
Yes, exactly, for the reasons given above. Sorry I did not provide those reasons in the original message.
You admit "doing this stokes the flames of discontent."
No, my esteemed Master of Obfuscation, I certainly did not 'admit' that. Give me a break.
I said - with regard to my posting the information about Aztlan and Mexica - "You can say my doing this stokes the flames of discontent. I realize this and do have second thoughts about it..."
'You can say...' is not the same as 'I hereby declare', FYI.
I don't think I'm stoking any flames. I think I'm publicizing information that I want my fellow citizens to be aware of. I think the ideology represents a problem and I want people to know about it, just like if I heard there was a tornado warning I'd tell all my neighbors.
The phrase you took out of context was a hypothetical I offered in the spirit of acknowledging possible objections.
My point was: I appreciate that one of the objections to circulating any information at all about illegal immigration - whether ideological statements or facts and figures - is that doing so can be construed as stoking discontent. I tried to succinctly yet honestly convey my decision-making process, the result of which is I think it's better to circulate the information. So that's why I reprinted the person's comment.
Another observation: In American society people can be reticent to speak out for fear of making waves, a cultural taboo to some extent. Add to this the fact that skilled rhetoricians can nail you to the wall if you speak out against a politically protected group of so-called 'victims' and there is a powerful disincentive to saying anything about conflicts like the current one over illegal immigration.
It's like saying, "I hear there's a tornado coming, but I don't want to ruin the block party in case I'm wrong."
I'm not sure if I am more shocked that you would stoop to using the tactics of scapegoating or that you would admit to your dishonest rhetoric so baldly. You know very well that characterizing an entire group of people by the conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to a group is one of the tactics used by scapegoaters throughout history. Even your choice of imagery--stoking flames--is stunningly evocative of rhetoric and tactics historically used by extremist groups. I can't believe that you really believe such tactics add to rational discourse.
Guess this belonged with your previous sentence, as I just addressed it. Sorry. I sure did not stoop to the 'tactics of scapegoating.' You conveyed my point either carelessly or dishonestly.
You say you agree with most of the quotes I provided. Which ones specifically?
I probably should have said 'sympathize with' because I might not have a factual basis for judging some of them. I wrote that quickly. But I'll go down the list with you...
Do you believe China has sent soldiers to our Southern border (you don't honestly believe this do you)?
I admit I will believe the worst about the Mexican military. I don't have the impression they've been strong supporters of the United States, ever. Ditto about the Chinese. So the very idea does not exactly make my head spin. The original quote was Chris Simcox saying he saw Chinese military across our southern border: I don't know, obviously, but my initial reaction is to nod in appreciation for the tip. If you know this to be demonstrably nutso, please provide facts.
Do you believe we should use nuclear weapons there?
No. OBVIOUSLY. But I understand what the person was saying and I think it was rhetorical. If it wasn't rhetorical, I disagree with it.
Things are different for the people who live down there. I get the impression you believe the influx from Mexico is a trickle of poor families individually creeping across the river to find a better life. The reality I've heard about is it's a torrent. Thousands every night just coming through the Cochise area of Arizona. Thousands of square miles of land ruined for agriculture because of the foot traffic. I'll dig out some more data on this point if we don't get any comments to flesh it out. I think the 'nuke 'em' sentiment reflected the frustration of someone trying to convey the magnitude of the problem.
But, for the record: Joe says, Don't nuke the Arizona-Mexican border.
Do you think Mexicans are "barbarians."?
No. But I believe the person quoted was speaking of "illegal immigrants" and the reality in the Southwest is there has been an increase in crime. Crime personally experienced makes extremists of us all.
Do you "hate hyphenated Americas"?
Trick question. Treasuring one's heritage is one thing. I wouldn't sic the FBI on the local Croation-American club. Refusing to assimilate is another. I think people who seek to stay in America permanently and refuse to become fully "American" should not be allowed to stay here.
Do you think all Middle Easterners are likely members of terrorist cells?
I think the quote said "should be treated as likely members..." That's slightly different.
Depending on the context, of course the answer to that would be "yes." For example, if law enforcement had a tip about possible terrorist activity, Middle Easterners would be a logical place to start. Also, if you keep driving due east, you will end up in the Atlantic Ocean.
Do you think we should bomb Telemundo?
No. But then, I haven't seen any of their programming. I do think we should keep a real close eye on Oxygen.
Do you think illegal immigrants want to kill you in your families? Do you think illegal immigrants "are here to commit auto theft, burglary, rape, robbery and murder"? Which of these ideas do you subscribe to?
See the point about personal experience of crime, above. Maybe we'll get some input in the comments. I do sympathize with the statement based on what I've heard from people who live down there.
Joseph Turner is executive director of the San Bernardino-based Save Our State, an anti-immigration organization.
"Having illegal immigrants over for tea..." Could you be any more patronizing and contemptuous? No, Joe, I do not have illegal immigrants over for tea. That would be so... Republican. I actually live, work and socialize with quite a few illegal immigrants and I know about their lives quite intimately.
I think my point was pretty clear: You said "Do you know any illegal immigrants personally" and I said it's not a matter of whether I know them, it's a matter of what the effects are in my local community. I mentioned overcrowding, zoning violations, and taxpayer-funded programs for illegal immigrants. Methinks you are trying to skirt the issue.
I also speak fluent Spanish (thanks to a few Spanish teachers whom you seem to believe should be second-class citizens but that's another topic for another time).
So you were taught by teachers who were in the U.S. illegally? In that case, no: They should not be any type of citizens. In fact, I don't believe in ANY second class citizens. Either you are here legally, in which case you should get treated like everyone else, or you are here illegally.
(Psst. Zimzo. Read that last sentence again. That's actually the whole point. If you forget everything else I write but remember that, we'll be on the same page.)
You see that's the thing. It's easy to characterize people as animals or savages when you don't really know anything about them personally.
I imagine it is. Duly noted. Next time I am about to characterize anyone as 'animal' or 'savage' I shall be sure to play a round of tetherball with them first.
("Twenty people living in a house"! Oh really. How many households would you say Joe or is this another example of those "flames of discontent" you would prefer to stoke).
Zimzo, my man, you may have just hit pay-dirt here. I think this is the first substantive question you have asked in this entire message.
The effect on the local community is not anecdotal, my friend. THAT'S why the Herndon government got voted out of office last month. THAT'S why immigration is going to be a key - if not THE key - issue in the elections of the next two years.
I hope some locals will jump in here with the data, I certainly will be gathering some. This will be a separate post. You REALLY don't know what time it is, compadre.
Man, you have no idea.
It wouldn't be difficult to characterize anti-immigration forces as a bunch of ignorant racist crackers, too, but I don't believe that.
Thanks. It would be easy to characterize pro-immigration forces as a bunch of treasonous weasels, but I don't believe that. I believe most of 'em are just dreadfully misinformed.
As far as my invocation of Iraq, you don't find it more than coincidental that this issue and other hot-button issues like gay marriage and flag-burning are being raised just as the war in Iraq is going south. You don't think that linking this issue to terrorism is bogus?
Err, just go back to the drawing board on that one, ok? Take this as a piece of incontravertible intel from deep within the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: There's no there there. We ain't NEARLY that well coordinated. The issues you delineated, in fact, represent different constituencies. And Iraq ain't anywhere in the equation. Seriously, dude, it's the sad truth. Track George W. Bush's changing positions on the immigration issue over the next few months: Trust me, it'll be a much more worthwhile and enjoyable use of your time.
How many terrorists can you document as coming across our southern border?
I don't have any numbers. How many can you document as NOT coming across? Depending on what your point is, I still think it's a potential problem.
In fact there have been cases of terrorists coming across our northern border. Why then is the focus on Mexico? What is the difference between Mexico and Canada? I wonder. And why is this suddenly such a big crisis now?
Yes, terrorists coming from Canada is a serious potential problem. Ideally we should have two really, really long fences, one north and one south. I'd never downplay the importance of security on our northern border.
There are thousands of illegal immigrants coming across our southern border every day. THAT'S why the focus is on Mexico. The difference is, Canadians seem content to stay in Canada, and if they come here, they do not undermine wages and draw social benefits. On the whole. Also, tomorrow evening, the sun will set in the west.
I live in an area where there are far more illegal immigrants than Herndon...
As a percentage of the total population? I doubt it, amigo. But, let's stipulate you're correct. Maybe you're in Nogales or Brownsville? In any case, take my word for it, we'd give you a run for your money. You don't vote out the mayor and entire city council based on a whim and a rumor.
...and it is not considered a problem here. Perhaps it is actually because there are so few immigrants relatively speaking there that it is not perceived as a problem.
I think the relative percentage is the key thing, right?
Let me be clear. I am not saying you are a racist. I am saying that your rhetoric and tactics are similar to those used by racists in the past and I think you really should be careful about that because it doesn't do your arguments any good.
I agree our statements can be easily linked to those of the idiots. Similar topics, similar facts, similar phraseology in fact. It's a big minus for us. If we didn't think illegal immigration was a clear and present danger, we'd certainly be tempted to just be quiet. Our lives would be much easier. In the short term.
And what do you actually propose to do besides build a big fence?
Whoa, let's not gloss over that one, ok hombre? We really DO want to build a big fence. Big. Fence. Get that sumbitch up.
Are you going to deport the illegal immigrants that are here already? How?
Fence first. Then we'll discuss the other.
Your complete and total lack of compassion for illegal immigrants and gays gives me the impression that you haven't really bothered to try to see things from their point of view and that you lack even a modicum of Christian compassion. It's really hard for me to believe that you feel OK with that. Perhaps you need to listen a bit more to people who do not echo your views and have a different life experience from you. It certainly couldn't hurt.
Yeah, y'know, I've been hearing that all my life. On account of being so mean and lacking compassion my entire life. Because, in the end, everything I believe and commit my time to is selfish, hateful, wasteful, destructive, and contrary to every social norm and religious tenet. Did I say "hateful?" Well, if I didn't, please add "hateful" to the list.
I want people to have to obey laws, and this makes me a 'hater.' I don't just mean the illegal immigrants, mind you, but also the employers and the government officials. So, yes, I'm a hater, a bigot, against the illegal immigrant, against the opportunistic business owner and against the spineless elected official. For the record, can someone fill me in on the precise terminology and respective interest groups for the latter two? I need to know who to watch out for. Because, believe me, I do hate 'em.
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