What if you were to go to your local Kiwanis or Rotary to hear your Congressional Representative speak on the issues of the day and he or she took the podium after dinner and began to explain how much better off our nation would be if all African Americans ( or Jews, or any other ethnic group) were gone.
Then he or she went on to explain what a day in American would be like without them.
“What would that day look like without any Blacks?
There would be no one to sell heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines that plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of meth that day by 80%. The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous Blacks each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by drunk driving Blacks. Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to imported diseases to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind Blacks. Eight American children would not suffer the horror as a victim of a sex crime.”
and they would go on to “warn” the audience:
“They need to be stopped before it is too late…this scourge that threatens the very future of our nation … soon they’ll be coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my grandchildren.”
Jaws agape, the audience would most likely at first be dumbfounded, and then as the words sunk in … appalled. Within seconds their silence would turn to hisses and boos until the Representatives handlers would quickly usher their charge out the back door, praying that the local press had failed to show up and discussing damage control in case they had.
But no amount of spin or damage control would save the Representatives career. After such a display of blatant racism and hate-speech they would be finished in public life forever …. and rightfully so.
Yet, were they to use the exact same language when discussing undocumented immigrants they would become the darlings of the anti-immigration movement. Such is the case with Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Steve King (R-IA) to whom the above quotes can be attributed, albeit with the word Black changed to “illegal alien”.
From Rep.Steve King’s May 5th “column” titled; “Biting the Hand That Feeds You” from his congressional website:
On May 1st, the activists who brought you thousands of Mexican flags flying in marches down the streets of our cities are now bringing you “Nothing Gringo Day”. With help from the Mexican government, Mexican unions, Mexican political groups, and through the Spanish language radio and newspapers, the call has gone out to make America experience a total boycott, both here and in Mexico. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
What would that May 1st look like without illegal immigration? There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines that plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of meth that day by 80%. The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals. Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals. Eight American children would not suffer the horror as a victim of a sex crime.
The quote about “killing you, me and my grandchildren” … that one comes from Tom Tancredo discussing the “immigrant invasion”.
“They need to be found before it is too late, (they are) a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation (and) are entering the US to kill me, to kill you and our families”
How is it that most Americans when faced with this kind of hate speech can easily recognize it when it is directed at Blacks or Jews or any other of the myriad of ethnic, religious or racial groups that have traditionally been the victims of such bigotry, yet when this kind of vitriol is unleashed upon undocumented immigrants, many not only don’t see the inherent racism in it, but in fact nod along in agreement. People who would find it abhorrent to classify any other entire race or ethnic group as a murderous scourge of drug dealers and child molesters whose only wish is to kill Americans, find nothing wrong with an elected representative using this language to describe 12 million people, hardworking men and women and their children.
The debate over immigration and immigration reform is complex, and there is plenty of room for many differing and diverse opinions. But what there is not room for is demagoguery, fear-mongering, race-baiting and hate. This is an important issue, and one all Americans must address, but the inflammatory rhetoric of Messrs. Tancredo and King do nothing to move the debate forward.
Unfortunately I fear that the tone set by these two men is quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception.
It is not a question of immigration or immigration reform. Not of policy, laws or procedures. Not of “illegal” or legal immigrants. It is not a question of “amnesty”, “guest” workers or wall-building.
It is a question of language.
It is a question of hate-speech.
And why we as a nation allow it to enter our public discourse.
Cross-posted from: Migra Matters – Progressive Immigration Reform