The immigration debate has been quite enlightening for me, in more ways than one. And in some ways, it has been a somewhat saddening enlightenment.
It is often harder to see a problem with those who you feel you have a lot of common ground with. Among the left, we see an eagerness to sell America short, to tax from those who have earned a lot of money - and managed to pass it on to their heirs - and give it to others, and an inability to forcefully deal with serious problems (Iran, Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda, and the Soviet Union all spring to mind). It's bad enough that I have never voted for a Democrat, and do not see myself doing so at any point in time in the near future.
The immigration debate, though, has made the conservative movement's problems impossible for me to ignore. More of a demand to conform ideologically had crept into this movement. Twelve years ago, ideas and attempts to solve the problems facing this country were not just accepted, they were encouraged. Yet on immigration, the door for new ideas is not just slammed shut, it is barred, and anyone trying to present an idea outside a limited field of politically correct options get accused of supporting "the emasculation and gradual overthrow of the America we know" or "subversion of law" - and it's fair game to refer to those who support anything other than mindless enforcement of the letter of the law as "quislings", "traitors", or "agents of Mexico".
I have not taken so much as a dime from the Mexican government. Nor have I allegiance to any country but the United States of America, where I was born. Even the "open borders" claim is a lie. I am for a secure border, but I fail to see how a fence will do any good when people are already digging tunnels - or when they can simply go around it in boats. The only beneficiaries of building a fence will be the companies who win the contracts - and maybe the Congressmen who can boat about bringing jobs to their districts. I guess there is some pork that conservatives don't object to.
What is doubly irritating about these comments is that those who make them often ignore the slime on their side of the issue. The Steve Sailers, the Laurence Austers, the Jared Taylors, and other bigots who are cited are out there. But when we point this out, and call a Sailer, Auster, or Taylor by the proper name, the cry of "misrepresentation" is quick to come.
Ultimately, though, this narrow-minded approach has led to some bigger problems. It has already put the war on terror in some jeopardy - through the trashing of an important ally in the war on terror. And now, because they are not likely to get their way on immigration, many conservatives are planning to sit out - to teach the Republicans a lesson. This is petulance bordering on gross irresponsibility.
So, it seems that I will have little chance of avoiding a decision between this country winning the war on terror or the conservative agenda. Winning the war on terror will win that one every time.