Prove to us that you're still on our side
By Frank Salvato
There is little doubt that a heated debate is taking place over the issue of immigration reform. The alarming aspect of this debate is less the where, when and why it is taking place and more about who the debate is between. With an overwhelming majority of Americans from every political party in opposition to the current proposal being floated by select senators and the White House, it appears – incredibly – that the debate is actually between the people and our government.
Our nation is a Democratic Republic, a Representative Democracy. The electorate casts ballots to elect individuals to represent them in Washington DC. In turn, these elected officials are bestowed the authority to place votes representative of their constituents. In theory, these elected officials are charged with learning about and debating the issues so that the concerns of their constituents can be heard and the best interests of their constituents safeguarded. In the end, they cast their votes on pieces of legislation as representatives of their constituencies.
This is how it is supposed to work.
Most everyone has heard the expression, "inside the beltway mentality." It alludes to the attitude many elected officials develop once they are elected and acclimated to office. It is a kind way of saying that the pure motives they once had for wanting to serve their constituency have faded, replaced by the seduction of power. It is a gentle way of saying that they have forgotten from whence they came and for whom they work and are now drunken with a greed for political capital, addicted to the political game like crack-whores to the debilitating white rock which they crave.
"...power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." – Lord Acton
The fact that a select group of senators hunkered down with members of the Bush Administration in secret to hammer out the provisions of anything should make every one of us suspect of their intentions and their motives. With the exception of intelligence gathering and select law enforcement operations, and war strategy and planning, our government should be as transparent as Paris Hilton's religious epiphany.
There are two things that can be stated today that few will argue with: 1) If someone is toting an AK-47 and is wearing a black mask adorned with Arabic he is usually a terrorist, and 2) If anyone in American government is contemplating legislation clandestinely they more often than not don't have their constituency's best interest in mind.
The piece of legislation currently being foisted upon the American people by Harry Reid, Lindsay Graham, John McCain, John Kyl, Ted Kennedy and President Bush does not best serve the interests of our citizenry or the well-being of our nation. It is a political tool crafted by those who place politics before good government and politicians worried more about their political longevity than honestly serving their constituents.
On the one side of the aisle we have Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid literally drooling over the prospect of legalizing a voting block they have had to pretend wasn't voting in national elections, a voting block courted by their party to do so regardless of its illegality. Arguments that lend to validating this notion come in the form of identifying the laughable motor-voter registration requirements and the bleating protests over legislation requiring a photo ID to access a ballot. Democrats see a new "underclass" they can legislate into existence just in time to save their sorry behinds in light of the exodus of American Blacks from the ranks of their party.
On the other side of the aisle we have the spineless who routinely find themselves dancing on the end of special interest puppet strings. They believe that legislating a new working-class into existence will ingratiate "big business" into filling their campaign coffers allowing them to once again outspend their political rivals in their march toward re-election.
The losers in this pathetically transparent game of political opportunism are not only the American people, but those composing the ranks of this proposed new working-class/voting block.
I have stated in the past that I am all for meaningful immigration reform. Our country is still reeling from the last attempt at immigration reform – a complete amnesty and failure in border enforcement, ironically crafted, yet again, by Teddy "Hey! There's saltwater in my scotch" Kennedy. It is well past time that this subject be given honest consideration by those interested in preserving our American heritage. This requires a measured and thoughtful contemplation of the issue in a 21st Century context so that the best interests of the American people – not those banging at the door to get in – are held in the highest regard and so that our country isn't sold to the highest bidder.
We, the American people, also need to demand that the issues of border security and immigration reform be separated and addressed as stand-alone issues. In a post-9/11 world – and as ABC News is reporting that al-Qaida and the Taliban have dispatched legions of newly trained suicide bombers to the US, Britain, Canada and Germany – we can ill afford to wait for inside the beltway elitists to dislodge their craniums from their sphincters so that they can see the seriousness of the matter.
Those elected to office need to prove to the American people that they are at least "on our side." A good way to do that is to immediately and successfully secure the borders. Then, and only then, will we be inclined to believe that proposals for immigration reform are genuine and not politically self-serving.
This issue exposes one more thing that is worth mentioning here.
Many among us say that our system of government is broken, citing partisan obstructionism, corruption and pandering to special interests as proof of this assertion. The truth be told, our system of government isn't even close to being the problem. The problem is an under-informed, unengaged, apathetic populace that keeps sending charlatans to Washington DC because they are too pre-occupied with their own lives to give a damn about our country!
If you want change, stop electing people who make promises they never keep. If you want change, change the only person you have control over; yourself. Read-up – honestly – on the issues, engage your government and hold your elected officials accountable for their words and actions. Until that change takes place the status quo will remain, our country an over-populated and Balkanized place for your apathy.
I'm sure Teddy, Harry, Lindsay the Johns and George – and all the rest of the political creatures who apathy feeds – will appreciate you for it.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.