As we all know, the debate over the immigration bill has become a highly contentious one, so much so that Republicans are battling Republicans on the issue to the point where it almost seems like the bill can’t be discussed rationally. There are some blogs whose posts on immigration I won’t even read, because the level of vitriol is outright toxic. Others act like apologists for the administration on the issue, which I find a little too passive.
I’ve been reading Captain Ed’s posts on immigration and the controversy surrounding the bill, and he’s got a couple of good ones up that I recommend reading. The first one is about the word “amnesty,” what it means in terms of the immigration problem, and why what some would call “amnesty” so often becomes part of the “solution” on issues like this one.
The second one calls for civility in conservative circles while debating the immigration bill – and he doesn’t just single out one side, but both. The administration was out of line last week when it questioned the patriotism of conservatives who opposed the immigration bill, but by the same token there are conservatives who have been engaged in that sort of questioning as well, acting as though anyone who doesn’t strongly and dogmatically oppose this bill supports “amnesty” and “doesn’t give a damn about protecting our borders.” Both sides obviously have their definitions on what “doing what’s right for this country” means as it relates to this issue and the highly inflamed rhetoric solves nothing. It only makes trying to come up with a solution that much harder.
To see conservatives use arguments on one another that have in general been used almost exclusively towards the far left is disappointing and is one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging extensively on the issue. Not only that, but my position on the issue can best be summed up as “middle of the road” which sounds wishy-washy, and I hate sounding that way. Along with that, I don’t care to have my inbox fill up with messages about how I’ve ‘betrayed’ my country by not being a vocal opponent of this bill. That’s not to say that I can’t take the heat, because as longtime readers and commenters know, I don’t shy away from talking about controversial topics – for example, my opinion on the failed UAE port deal was at odds with a good 50-60% of the party. But this time around, I’ve taken a decidedly low-key approach to talking about the issue. This is my first significant post on it since the issue flew to the forefront again earlier this year.
Regulars to this blog have been respectful about what little I’ve written about the bill and have given their own thoughtful opinions on it, but some driveby newbie readers have not been so respectful and have let me have it via email, and that’s a real shame, because I don’t view this in terms of “you’re either with us 100% or against us.” Since when did not marching lockstep with other Republicans mean you’re not a ‘real conservative’?
Lost in all the back and forth is finding “common ground” – yes, that sounds like a liberal thing to say, but that’s about the best we can do on this issue because we couldn’t even get sensible immigration reform passed when we had control of Congress, and sensible immigration reform is even more of a remote possibility now. And as Captain Ed wrote, in essence, it’s now or never on immigration reform. It’s become such a hot potato(e?) that after this round of hostile negotiations, if nothing gets done on it politicians of the future are only going to pay lip service to it rather than actually do something about it because they aren’t going to want to touch the issue.
Everyone has their “no compromise” issue. Mine is abortion. For other people, it’s immigration. So I fully understand that there are Republicans who will no longer support the GOP over this. That’s fine. I just hope those Republicans remember that that next time they think about taking another conservative to task over refusing to vote for a candidate or support a politician over one issue.