Friday, January 11, 2008

Ron Paul's Tacit Racism and Why People Who Complain About Amnesty Are Wrong (my mom included)

This is a draft, but I don't feel like editing it more right now.

So, CNN runs a story today showing a post-L.A. Riots (1992) newsletter from Ron Paul's camp that contains some tacitly racist comments, something that I first felt months ago when I read his campaign platform. I saw, and still see, racist reactionary tendencies in his attitudes towards immigration.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/10/paul.newsletters/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Congressman Paul claims that he didn't write them, and that he doesn't know who did. It doesn't follow for me that someone publishes something in your newsletter and you know nothing of it. Also, he claims to not be racist, but many of his supporters are racist, and I feel that he is cultivating the WASPy ethno-centric, at least, vote in this country. Let's analyze some of his platforms (all text in italics is verbatim from http://www.ronpaul2008.com):

#1

Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry. Bigotry at its essence is a problem of the heart, and we cannot change people's hearts by passing more laws and regulations.

It is the federal government that most divides us by race, class, religion, and gender. Through its taxes, restrictive regulations, corporate subsidies, racial set-asides, and welfare programs, government plays far too large a role in determining who succeeds and who fails. Government "benevolence" crowds out genuine goodwill by institutionalizing group thinking, thus making each group suspicious that others are receiving more of the government loot. This leads to resentment and hostility among us.

I certainly don't think that removing any kind of government efforts to combat the effects of racism and ethnocentrism will have the effect that he seems to envision. In fact, the free market would exacerbate the differences between races. In the case of certain minorities, the economic and educational disadvantages they face make them less marketable as employees, and the freemarket, with government incentive, will seek out the most-qualified employees. This will stratify the workforce and keep people from ever leaving their social class. There would be no more Horatio Alger stories under Dr. Paul's plan. That resentment and hostility he speaks of is just a polite way of saying racism. I think his plan would turn racism on it head and not solve anything other than letting the majority maintain its grip on power.

#2

We must reject amnesty for illegal immigrants in any form. We cannot continue to reward lawbreakers and expect things to get better. If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit. Ten years from now we will be in the same position, with a whole new generation of lawbreakers seeking amnesty.

Amnesty also insults legal immigrants, who face years of paperwork and long waits to earn precious American citizenship.

Birthright citizenship similarly rewards lawbreaking, and must be stopped. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the perverse incentive to sneak into this country remains strong. Citizenship involves more than the mere location of one’s birth. True citizenship requires cultural connections and an allegiance to the United States. Americans are happy to welcome those who wish to come here and build a better life for themselves, but we rightfully expect immigrants to show loyalty and attempt to assimilate themselves culturally. Birthright citizenship sometimes confers the benefits of being American on people who do not truly embrace America.

People need to stop talking about amnesty, like these Hispanic workers that come here are criminals. We can't even get some of our citizens to get up off their asses and work for a living. These people come here seeking a better life for themselves, and are willing to work, and pay taxes, and contribute to the economy. He hides behind the notion that people want to curb immigration. Truth is, at every point in our history, the populace didn't like immigrants because they were different. It's ethnocentrism all over again. He claims that they overtax the medical systems, but the actual research shows that most Hispanics pay cash or have insurance when they go to the doctor. In South Carolina, the ratio of people being declared indigent is LOWEST among Hispanics than among ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP, including the WHITE MAJORITY. So, this constant spouting of impressions that people have because of their xenophobia is unworthy of a politician, and an American, who seeks to represent a place, let alone a nation.

Personally, I would like to have a Western Hemisphere Union. I'd like to be able to go and work in Argentina, Barbados, or Colombia and vice versa. I would close immigration to all nations save those with close historical ties (U.K., France, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Israel, Liberia) but allow for completely free movement between anywhere in the Americas. But, that's not going to happen because of reactionary people who fear the immigrant. Undocumented workers aren't taking desirable jobs from people, they work in shit-jobs like McDonald's, cleaning hotel rooms, cooking, roofing, landscaping, and sheetrocking. Why all this fear and calling them criminals? Why are we even having a discussion about amnesty? If they come here and work and don't cause problems, where is the harm? Honestly? Don't sit their from your privileged position by birth and tell me that if your family were poor and your government corrupt, that you wouldn't do everything to provide for your family. And this isn't American-style providing, we're talking about sustaining life and health. This isn't a criminal matter, at best it's a civil affair.


#3

What is seldom discussed in the immigration debate, unfortunately, is the incentives the US government provides for people to enter the United States illegally. As we know well, when the government subsidizes something we get more of it. The government provides a myriad of federal welfare benefits to those who come to the US illegally, including food stamps and free medical care. Is this a way to discourage people from coming to the US illegally?

Ah, the old racist redoubt of "subsidizing." This is total crap. You must prove US citizenship to receive federal foodstamps, WIC, Medicaid, and welfare. You cannot get them otherwise. To get a drivers license in South Carolina, my wife had to take in her passport, marriage license, and birth certificate. Another case of his assuming something rather than verifying. He's playing to his reactionary audience, you know the kind with three Ron Paul Campaign signs in the yard, along with a flagpole flying the "Dont Tread on Me" banner and a big Support Our Troops magnet on their Ford F150.

Also, I don't buy that an open border makes it easier for terrorists to come into our country. Any border patrol agent worth his salt knows when someone isn't Mexican; a terrorist just can't drop a few "chingadas" and convince the Border Patrol agent that he's Mexican. I highly doubt that any "terrorists" would try to come in overland. I'd worry more about the sea and airports than I ever would the desert southwestern frontier. Also, if we made it legal for workers to come here and work, as they could for decades, then we wouldn't have the massive illegal immigration that we currently have to worry about.

#4

No other wealthy, western nations grant automatic citizenship to those who simply happen to be born within their borders to non-citizens. These nations recognize that citizenship involves more than the physical location of one’s birth; it also involves some measure of cultural connection and allegiance. In most cases this means the parents must be citizens of a nation in order for their newborn children to receive automatic citizenship.

So, he wants to monkey with the 14th Amendment and take away birthright citizenship. What litmus test does he want then? Does he propose anything other than taking away one of the noblest things about our country's laws. By his measure then, could a person someday actually be a citizen of another country, but if born here, could be our president?

I just have to wonder if we had a massive illegal white Canadian immigration "problem" if Dr. Paul would have the same level of moral indignation.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My post has nothing to do with Ron Paul.

This topic overwhelms me. I grew up in South TX. I have lived in Panama and Mexico I have visited Guatemala, Costa Rica, and The dominican republic I currently live in Southern NM within a stone's throw of the border. I have a MA in Spanish. I have taught SPANISH to native spanish speakers and ESL to others. Consider all that my "background" and not authority.

Anyway, yes, you do have to be a citizen to qualify for all those services you mentioned such as Medicaid and what not. However, you do NOT have to be a citizen to go to the ER and be admitted to the hospital. You can find lots of info about the financial probs that Hospitals go through because of the immigrants who cannot pay their bills.

I have taught Public School with my classroom full of kids who were illegal or their parents were illegal. TONS of them were great and really motivated. But to be honest, there were times when I had to grit my teeth because I had some sassy 15 year old destroying my classroom and telling me that he didn't care if he got in trouble because "YOU HAVE TO TEACH ME NO MATTER WHAT I DO" These were the same kids who were the leaders of our gangs, etc, and the kids who were terrorizing well behaved kids. I'm just not ok with that. (I don't have time right now to go into the whole sociological aspect of their behaviors). And yes, I had lots of non-citizens who were great.

I currently teach Adult ESL. My students are so great, and these are the people who ARE TRYING TO BE A BENEFIT to the community--but I don't know how I feel about it when they tell me they are working under pseudonyms with fake IDs or are driving without a license or insurance. Why is that fair?

Yes, I know that immigrants are doing the crappy jobs and that allows me to live my life in a lovely way. Yes, I've seen first hand the crappy way of life so many of these immigrants have to endure. However, now that I live right on the border and see, up close, all the stresses and problems that come from the south, I am losing my sympathy.

carolinab

thewmes said...

I personally feel the heart of the immigration problem is racism. And certianly US immigration policy historically has been motivated based on appearance. And the desire to not "dilute the pool". Although I don't call people opposed to immigration racists. I think people can have reasons for opposing it that aren't racist at heart. I just think more often than not racism is the key issue.

I agree with you Mac on most of these topics however why just limit imigration to countries with close ties to the US. I think all the reasons you mentioned that make people want to come here apply to those from non allied countries. Granted there is the security concern.