From the “They'll See What They Want to See” file comes a recent quote by James Sensenbrenner, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin, whose apparent xenophobia has launched the glorious immigrant-rights movement that has swept across the nation during the last month.
Sensenbrenner, who initiated the House bill that would make felons of undocumented immigrants and those who assist them, and who's one of the folks who want to wall off the entire border, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week that the American public wants no part of legalizing immigrants who've been working in the United States for years. “Amnesty,” he barked, “is a non-starter with the American people.”
And truth is a non-starter with Congressman Sensenbrenner.
The left-wing watchdog organization Media Matters for America had this same problem with Fox News anchor John Gibson, who, on April 27, reported that “there is pretty substantial... opposition to amnesty among the general public, if you look at the polls.”
Well, if Sensenbrenner and Gibson were to follow that advice and actually look at the polls, as Media Matters did, they'd find that throughout April, polls have shown that Americans support what the frothing anti-immigrant Republicans in Congress are calling “amnesty.” If you averaged out the polls, roughly 61 percent of the public favors some sort of guest-worker and legalization program. The number went up when respondents were told that the immigrants would have to pay fines and back taxes, speak English and be free of a criminal background. The percentage of those opposed averaged out to about 30 percent.
What people like Sensenbrenner and Gibson refuse to come to terms with is that as Americans become increasingly familiar with immigrants-as they get to know them as human beings-they become increasingly rational and compassionate.
Shut it, Colin
Excuse us for our bluntness, but former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell should shut the hell up. Last weekend, Powell told a British TV interviewer that during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, he tried to tell Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Tommy Franks and President George W. Bush that a successful occupation would require many more troops than were being proposed-but they wouldn't listen.
Where was Powell when we needed him? In 2003, Powell enjoyed widespread admiration among the American public. People would have listened had he the guts to speak out. Powell was the kind of man who could have swayed public opinion and prodded snoozing members of Congress to question the Iraq policy. Instead, not only did he stay silent as military leaders like Eric Shinseki and Tom White were being marginalized by the White House because they dared to say more troops were needed-he also went out and contributed to the weapons-of-mass-destruction disinformation campaign with his infamous presentation to the United Nations.
Don't bother invoking any of this “good soldier” business. Don't tell us that Powell had a duty to be loyal to his president. He had higher authorities to answer to: the American people and humankind in general. Powell should have resigned from office and spoken out. He could have made a difference. But he didn't. He's a coward. And we're no longer interested in his opinion.
When we heard a report that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Republican from Tennessee, had proposed giving us all a one-time $100 rebate check to ease the pain of high gas prices, we checked our calendars. Was it April 1? Was this a prank? Was that madcap majority leader up to his old tricks?
No, no and no. Frist actually thought we'd buy it. He really thought we'd think he was genuinely doing something meaningful.
We feel sort of sheepish even commenting on this stupid idea, but $100 is, like, two and a half tanks of gas-tell us you're going to give us $100 every couple of months and we'll talk. Of course, that would be nuts. Where would the money come from?
Good question. Where would the money come from for Frist's cockamamie happy-days-are-here-again rebate plan? We guess Frist just wants to add it to the national debt. Please—someone tell us—what were the fine people of Tennessee thinking when they elected this knucklehead?
All conversations about gas prices should lead to one idea-reducing our demand for oil. Not just foreign oil. All oil. Everything else is just noise.