Monday, November 28, 2005

If you can't draw a line around it or define it, then is it a nation?

Saw an interesting immigration story over the weekend that made page one in our local MSM fishwrap, The Houston Chronicle. Wow. Immigration makes the front page. So, the establishment says we can talk about it now.

While presenting the conflicting viewpoints, the gist of the story was that small border towns like Penitas (that's the scrambled word in the linked story), Texas are being overrun by illegals. Also, the Chronicle reported criticism of the nonsensical policy of local police departments refusing to assist in border enforcement. This "See No Evil" policy has apparently been promoted and condoned by the feds. However, local officials in major metropolitan areas such as Houston are also loathe to crack down on illegals for a variety of reasons, both political and economic.

And speaking of political and economic reasons to oppose reform, according to the Pew Hispanic Center and the Dept. of Homeland Security, the civilian workforce is currently comprised of 4.3% illegal aliens. Isn't this about the current unemployment rate?

You know it's gotten bad if discussion of immigration has now reached Washington, even if we are approaching an election year. The Homeland Security Department is reporting that the "catch and release" policy is no more. Also, last year in Texas alone, nearly a half-million illegals were detained, an increase of 22% over the previous year. Even Hillary Clinton is talking about immigration. Note that I said "talking". Yet, if you think she would actually do anything about it, well then you are one of those uninformed voters she will be courting in '08. But you're reading here, so never mind.

While most serious proposals on the issue have come from conservative Republicans, the fact is that neither party has done much of anything on the immigration front. It's been a non-issue in Washington. Why is that?

I think we need look no farther than the awkward coalition of business interests that simply seek the cheapest labor possible (regardless of the source or consequence) and leftists who simply want new minority voters and social service consumers. This big business-big government coalition -- aka the Demo-RINOs -- is held together by its core principle of disregarding the nation for its own selfish interests. The Demo-RINO coalition also has its own grand immigration plan, a bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy and the RINO-in-Chief himself, John McCain.

Plus, with the number of liberal Demo and RINO senators, there are enough votes in the Senate to hold back any serious reform measure. So, while the debate has been raging in the hinterlands, it' s been hard to get off the hallowed ground of the World's Most August Deliberative Body.

Furthermore, unlike how the critics wish to market this important debate, race is not the issue. In fact, most Hispanics favor curbing illegal immigration.

At the core, I believe that the debate on immigration is about the following question: Do we wish to preserve and protect this nation or not? Ultimately, true immigration reform will be passed only if we engage and win the debate over the meaning and value of this nation.

To the crowd who simply doesn't care who lives and works here, America is merely a cool spot on a map. It is a place to get a job or do business (get money) or a place to receive benefits (get money). But is this all that America has become -- a free-admission version of the Greatest Show on Earth? Where all can be had and all senses are titillated at all hours, free of charge? Is this it?

If so, then we are finished. To win the ongoing national debates over immigration and (on the broader level) national security as a whole, we must know: What is America? And why is the survival of America important? In other words, why is America worth fighting for? If we, as a nation, can't confidently answer these questions, then we won't be able to stop illegal immigration.

I would submit that America is worth preserving because it is a special place, not merely geographically but rather in human history. This nation is not perfect, but it is undeniably special and unique. And if there are no requirements for entry into this nation, as with any organization or institution, then it will naturally lose its special character. Put another way, if America means everything, then it means nothing.

The good news is that the opposite is also true: When we know who we are, we will act accordingly.

Unlike other nations, America's founding charter is really a credo: All men are created equal, with certain God-given rights. Government's role is limited to protecting those individual rights.

This unique experiment in human history is worthy of protection. Still, not all Americans seem to be convinced, or at least to possess the will and courage to fight for what they know to be true.

Years ago, I had a discussion with a friend who had gone to work for Motorola. I was decrying Japanese companies that were blatantly and openly stealing U.S. chip technology. His response was somewhat ambivalent: "It's all the same world. What does it matter?" In other words, why is America so special among nations? Why does this nation's success and survival matter?

Well, maybe one can say we are the same. People are, for sure. But nations are not. Certainly, not every nation would rebuild its vanquished enemy's homeland after winning a world war. And not every nation would conquer Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the cost of more than 2,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and then help Iraqis set up a democracy.

Other nations might. But America does.

She's worthy of defending.