Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Nothing up my sleeve…

It seems to me that anytime you try to have a substantive debate with “leftists” on an issue, the issue gets reframed to be about something else that is easier for the leftist to defend. As an example, I was watching one of the Sunday morning shows and the show did a segment on immigrants and immigration. They showed clips of lovely, happy people marching in parades and waving American flags, having cookouts, playing sports, etc. All the while droning on and on about how these people are working to assimilate into American life. There was even a clip of a birthday party and the producers took great pains to point out that the children all had American names. Who can or would want to argue against that? People coming to America to work and live in American communities and make a better life for themselves and their families while working to integrate into America and the American dream. The answer is almost no one.

The current issue is not nor has it been about legal immigration. It has been and is about illegal immigration. People coming into this country in violation of our laws. Living and working under the radar, paying no taxes while making use of our social services, educational system, and healthcare. Not striving to assimilate into American life but demanding that America accommodate them by allowing them to get drivers licenses, photo IDs, and bilingual education, documents and signage. This is the debate. Not the smiling, happy legal immigrant family working to fit into America like the millions that came before them. That though is a much harder debate to have if you are pro-illegal immigration and support lax immigration enforcement. So what do you do if you support what nearly all other reasonable people would oppose? You reframe the debate and hope that no one is paying attention. You don’t have to worry though, because you do have help. The media is always eager to go give you a hand, mostly by slanting their news and stories to help support your position (like in the weekend segment above). This way you don’t have to argue your position that our immigration laws may be unfair and unjust and make it too hard for poor people to get into the country legally and as such have no choice but to break in, which is a valid debate to have but harder to defend. Instead you and your cohorts reframe the issue to paint those that oppose illegal immigration into people that oppose immigration. Makes it much easier to vilify them and gives you catchier sound bites. Heck nearly everyone in this country is a result of immigration. Only a fascist would be against immigration! See how much easier it is to argue that position? A little slight of hand, a little miss-direction and there you go, a much more tenable position. If you yell it often enough, many will forget the original issue and believe that the lie is the issue. Only problem with that is honest debate and honest solutions are lost.

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