A Couple Things on Laura Ingraham’s Immigration Monogram: She knows better.
For better or worse, I read articles before commenting and try to listen beyond the soundbite making the news. I remember a lot from Professor Sanders Poli Sci courses at Drake University, but first and foremost was that a politician can live and die at the hands of a sound bite. Great bumper stickers make lousy policies and a ten-second clip can change the entire narrative of a speech. Read the transcript or at the very least, listen to a few minutes of it because most of the time, that “horrible thing so and so said” was taken out of context. (I call this the “benefit of the doubt’ principle and regretfully, it applies less and less in the Trump Era).
It was with this mindset that watched Laura Ingraham’s monologue from her Wednesday night show. I’ll dispense with the run-down; those interested can pull up a browser and search for “Laura Ingraham recent news” to get a sense for the media sensation she stirred up during her Wednesday monologue. Her attempts to walk back the comments on progressives (aka socialists) in support of open borders in a subversive and secret attempt to remake America by allowing in “all sorts of immigrants, legal and illegal, who likely do not understand or agree with Adam Smith or the Federalist Papers,” was lame, once you listen to what she actually said. Further, and this is just one of those ‘Amy opinions,” starting the walk-back by denigrating those who found her comments insulting, is not the best way to convince an audience of one’s sincerity. (Sort of like, ‘I’m sorry that you are too stupid to understand what I meant to say). Rather, we might be left to believe the explanation that as an attorney who once clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and a prominent woman of some integrity, Ingraham is uncomfortable having her comments supported by David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan.
This section of my blog is meant for ‘shorter’ posts, initial thoughts on recent events, and maybe a little venting. It is not meant to refute in a point by point essay, stupid, inaccurate, and misleading pieces of fiction that media figures choose to publicize. And I am not going to make an exception here. However, I will state unequivocally, that Laura Ingraham, as a highly educated woman, knows better. She KNOWS the inaccuracies and lies that she told on Wednesday, but only she knows why she told them.
It is true that the Democratic Party is evolving. I do not believe that our national party will ever coalesce on a rigid policy platform similar to the Republicans, but it will continue to move to the left on many issues. That is where the voters are. But to suggest that the Democrats are attempting to remake America in a socialist image is just wrong. And Ingraham knows it. For those that disagree, you need to do some homework. Spend some time understanding concepts and differences between the socialism of the Cold War and democratic socialism of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ingraham hopes that you won’t go to the trouble because you might actually like what you read.
Second, Ingraham’s haughty commentary regarding immigrants not understanding Adam Smith and the Federalist Papers suggests two things. One – Ingraham has forgotten her own study of Adam Smith and the Federalist Papers. Given her background and education, I doubt this. Two – she is using the author of the Wealth of Nations and the essays written in support of the Constitutions ratification as code for “American values.” She is stating that new arrivals – legal and illegal immigrants – do not share the same values and you or I do.
And it is to this second issue, the real issue she wants to stoke, that I challenge, somewhat arrogantly. I dare her audience to explain the contributions that Adam Smith made to modern economic theory (frankly, we give him way too much credit for free market ideology. He would have advocated much more of a mixed economy, given his observations in Wealth). Further, I dare them to tell me who wrote the Federalist Papers (without Googling), what purpose they served, and which essays were the most important and why? Which “American Values” do we find in them? And therefore, what values do they fear these new immigrants do not share? (We would go back and forth for a while, but the end result would be fear. Shared values are learned and thus, not the issue. The issue is fear – fear of loss. It’s the same fear that kept women in the secretarial pool rather than the boardroom. It’s the profound sense of loss and all the “what if’s” surrounding it that drive this discussion).
Moreover, it is nonsense that immigration policy was “foisted” upon the American people as if we did not have a choice. Again, she knows better, but I highly suspect that her audience does not. Nothing was “foisted” on anyone. The demographic changes, the large number of undocumented immigrants, and perception of the “crisis at the border” that continue to be demonized are a direct result of the following actions:
- The 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. This replaced the quota system that had been in place in the 1920s and lifted/eliminated many of the racist laws on the books. Family reunification, merit-based immigration were priorities in the 65 law.
- 1986 Immigration and Control Act. Legalized millions of undocumented immigrants that had entered illegally. How did they enter the country illegally? Because Congress (of both parties) FAILED to pass legislation and appropriate funds to secure the border. Why? Because they would have had to raise taxes or borrow the money. The 1986 law also made it illegal to hire undocumented workers. We should look into the penalties for hiring illegal immigrants and the actual conviction rate. Something tells me the statistics will be illuminating.
- Immigration Reform – 1996. Thi law made it nearly impossible for those here illegally to get right with the law.
We currently have a variety of visas available. Immigrants apply for a specific visa depending on what they need, their status, and their eligibility. We already look at merit, job qualifications, and as an employer, have to prove that we cannot find an American citizen to fill the job. Guest worker and migrant worker visas exist, but not nearly enough.
To state that demographic changes have been forced upon Americans and that most of us “do not want” them is a farce and a lie. Here’s the reality. America is a mature society. If we want to maintain our gross national product, our economy, and our values, then we have to EXIST. The white population is declining because WHITE PEOPLE ARE PROCREATING AT A SLOWER RATE THAN NON-WHITES. Now, before we start throwing stones at abortion doctors or telling women to stay home and have more kids, I beg you to read real books. Ones that have gone through a process of “fact-checking.” It does not even have to be a book. It can be an article in a magazine, but it should be a REAL magazine and the journalist’s name must be noted. Do you see where I’m going here? Get out of the fictional world of lies and misappropriation of fact.
Back to the blog. Population decreases are normal. Birthrates decline in mature economies. There are pro-family public policies that we could put in place that would encourage more people to have children, but those cost money. Or perhaps better stated: those would require that we pass a tax bill that targets the middle and working classes, not the top 1%. See, we’d have to raise taxes and then take that revenue and spend it in places that actually help middle and working classes. Here are a few ideas:
- Imagine if child care were affordable? Think about it. If you did not have to spend so much of your income on this one expense, you might consider having children (or more children).
- Healthcare. Ditto #1.
- Education, including college. Ditto #1.
- Housing. Ditto #1.
- Paid family leave. Ditto.
Bringing it all together: This week, Laura Ingraham’s controversial monologue did nothing to enhance the larger debate on immigration. She simply made her viewers angrier and dumber.
Stop believing or thinking that Americans never asked for or agreed to these changing demographics. We’ve all liked low taxes and cheap goods imported from overseas (until of course, those cheap goods break and then we blame the Chinese for producing such a ‘flimsy’ device, never thinking that the device was produced at a price point we were willing to pay which meant that regardless of who or where produced, it would be a piece of shit).
Oh sure, we bitch and moan every once in a while about our education system, our crumbling infrastructure, the price of medicine and how long we had to wait at the doctor’s office. We might even admit to the ever increasing income inequality and recognize that we are creating two distinctly different Americas, something that will not bode well for our future security. But when given the chance, we vote against the common good and for ourselves. We prioritize short-term gain over long-term growth and durability.
See, what Laura did not want to tell you is that all of these changes, the “America we used to know and love,” are a reflection of decisions that we have made for 40+ years. In fact, we have continued to make them. We spend as little money as possible on public education and our higher education system is ridiculously expensive. Therefore, the scientists and engineers that are desperately needed in our current economy are simply not being produced in America. Go talk to a few South Asians (Indians, Pakistani’s) and Chinese that you know. Their economies and societies may not be as “developed” as Americas, but they had it together enough to figure out what their kids needed to know in order to get a job in the 21st century. That’s why they are here. Because America has the opportunities that their birth countries do not. And isn’t that why all of our ancestors came here?
Want to make sure that your white kids can compete with those with more melanin (aka – darker skin tones)? The answer is not “keep out the browns” but rather, educate your kid. Maybe, and this is just a thought, take him or her out of one or two after-school activities and get a math and science tutor whether they need it or not. Get your girls in math and science clubs; trust me, there will be jobs in those fields for decades. If you have self-segregated (moved far enough out from the cities that your neighborhood is a mirror image of you), then seek out multi-cultural opportunities and take your kid with you. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable in a sea of diversity. I’m here to tell you, there’s no need to be.
I’m almost done
Immigration reform that makes sense and achieves national goals and public policies that encourage smart family planning should be pursued. We’ve needed these reforms for years, not to stop something evil, but to set Americans (all of us) on a path toward global opportunities in the 21st century. When it comes to immigration, immigrants and native-born Americans must be integrated and educated together on what makes America unique in the world. We need a reinvigorated civics curriculum for all students, K – 12. But we also need to educate our kids to be culturally aware. America does not have a dress code, so if their friend’s Mom covers her face with a dark veil, that’s okay. Kids should know what it’s called, why it’s worn and most important – why it’s not anti-American. They might even be able to explain it to their parents.
This isn’t rocket science.
What we do not need are lies and scare tactics. Ingraham knows better and if by some chance, she is as uneducated as her viewers, then she needs to be yanked off the air. Because right now she is doing nothing to raise the intellectual discourse around this complicated subject and in fact, she’s not just dumbing it down, she’s inviting her audience to make decisions that are not in their own best interests. We need to be smarter. She has a platform and she’s using it to actually create MORE, not less ignorance.
How does this help anyone?