Ms. Ehrenreich's got cojones: I'll give her that. To spit into the wind of such widespread, virulent opposition to this bill takes guts, at least the kind of "guts" that emanate from a high-profile liberal writer's keyboard. For the record, I am a social moderate, even progressive on some issues, but the point of view expressed by Ms. Ehrenreich not only misses the train, but can't even find the terminal.
The bill both attempts to whitewash the darker aspects of illegal immigration in this country--selling out the basic rights and privileges of native or legally naturalized American citizenship, in favor of the strategic swelling of Democratic Party ranks with the beneficiaries of this bill's largesse--but also pinches a collective nerve of deeper, equally intractable feelings of high anxiety and even paranoia among many if not most American citizens about the dangerous, toxic, shrink-wrapped world they're living in.
Mixed in with a wide swath of bigotry toward poor Spanish-speaking interlopers, many of us are festering over the siege of our country by swarms of illegals, hidden jihadist cells, obdurately weak "homeland" security six years after 9/11, epidemic autism in newborns, a broken health care system, 100 different designer drug commercials on TV, the loss of middle-class wages, seemingly endless pre-emptive war, the rising mountain of dead and tragically maimed American troops, a paralyzed, ineffectual Congress, a despised, impotent President...what else you got?
This bill seems to have coalesced all these roiling, shared emotions into a hardened attitude best expressed by the rallying cry of the late, great Peter Finch in his iconic 1976 portrayal of the network anchorman burnout cum prophet Howard Beal, in the movie "Network": "I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore!"
As Freud famously suggested in his interpretation of dreams, "Sometimes, a cigar is really just a cigar." Bigotry always plays a role in the American stigmatization of some minority group, but in the case of 12 million illegals and growing, there are other more thoughtful objections at work in this controversy. It is tapping into the zeitgeist: what does it mean to be "American" in an era when that identity is increasingly diluted at home by sweeping demographic changes, and spat upon by so many of the world's Second and Third World nations due to our efforts at regional predomination in the Middle East and elsewhere?
For Ms. Ehrenreich to ignore these wrenching concerns in favor of an essay "thanking" illegals for all their "hard work" is simply pure cannon fodder for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, allowing them and others to grind liberal "bleeding hearts" into pundit dust, alongside the bill's GOP proponents seeking to put some whipped cream on the manure of cheap labor benefits achieved through "globalization." Not helping, Barbara, only hurting.
Port Washington , NY
Jun 13 2007 - 9:35am