Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bringing out the worst in us...

Yesterday, I finally understood why a number of Republican Senators wanted a fast debate on the immigration bill. The short version is that immigration not only exposes a fault line in the GOP, it has the uncanny ability to bring out the worst in people on both sides of the debate. And it has reached a point where neither side seems willing to back down. It's not just principle, either. For many, it's now become a matter of seeking vindication, or just simply refusing to give in to what they perceive as bullying.

Thus, the Republican party is on the cusp of a civil war, and as Orson Scott Card wrote in the afterword to his novel Empire:
Rarely do people set out to start a civil war. Invariably, when such wars break out both sides consider themselves to be the aggrieved ones.

That is the absolute truth when the GOP's fissure on immigration is discussed. Well, discussed is the wrong word. There has not been any real discussion at all. The two sides of the GOP are not talking to each other, they are screaming at each other. Worse yet, when someone like Jon Kyl does try to sit down and talk to the other side to work out something that everyone can live with, he gets called a sellout.

For every cry of "bigot" that has come from my side of the debate, there are corresponding screams of "sellout" from the other side. It gets worse as it goes on - and we find ourselves, in the heat of the moment, saying and posting things that we will later regret. We are all too aware of the attacks we have received and we forget that the other side has taken its cheap shots.

What is needed is what President Bush has called for: A serious, civil, and conclusive debate on this issue. The problem will not get any better with age. I'm going to do what I can to achieve that on my end. But I have to wonder if such a thing is even possible at this point.

1 comment:

smh1012 said...


I am afraid there is no such thing as a civil discussion on this issue.

There have been but a few (you included) who from the night of the leaked draft of this legislation have handled things in a respectful manner.

The Malkins and Hewitts and Red State folks did exactly what they did the last time this was addressed...went well over the top.
Personally I believe in addition to the topic itself, it drives them crazy when Kennedy's name comes into play on any issue. I am no fan of his but I would prefer to think we have elected officials who are taking the time to address illegal immigration in a reasonable fashion.

Anyhow, thanks for the quiet tone you have taken and great job on Macs radio show this past Saturday.