Friday, August 13, 2010

The Party of Booth...

Frederick, one of the Guys From Area 51, highlights one of the more memorable exchanges from the movie The Good Shepherd...

Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something... we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the niggers, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?

Edward Wilson: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.

The link in that post goes to a WashPost article describing how the Republican Party, whether they gain or lose in November, are all but finished as a political entity in the long term. And personally, I think future historians will mark this development as the moment the Republican Party officially jumped the shark...

...By pushing for repeal of the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, the GOP appears to have concluded: If you can't win them over -- indeed, if you're doing everything in your power to make their lives miserable -- revoke their citizenship.

On this page last week, my colleague E.J. Dionne Jr. rightly noted that by attacking the amendment, Republicans seek to undo one of their party's greatest and most inclusionary achievements. Civil War- and Reconstruction-era Republicans took pains to ensure the citizenship not only of freed slaves and their children. They -- in particular, Abraham Lincoln -- also decided not to permanently keep millions of Confederate soldiers and sympathizers from regaining their citizenship.

The Confederates had renounced all allegiance to the United States. They made war on the United States -- the Constitution's definition of treason -- and, in an effort to keep 4 million Americans enslaved, killed more of our soldiers than any foreign army ever did.

Yet Lincoln was determined to make it easy for Confederates to regain their citizenship. By taking an oath to support the United States and its Constitution, Confederates were made Americans again.

Suppose, though, that Lincoln had been filled with the spirit of today's Republicans. The crimes that Republicans ascribe to today's illegal immigrants pale next to those of Confederate leaders and supporters (chiefly, treason). A Lindsey Graham-like Lincoln would never have let the Confederates regain citizenship. Moreover, he would have denied citizenship to their children and their children's children. A large share of the nation, certainly of the white South, would have drifted endlessly in a legal limbo. The current Republican Party, anchored as it is in the white South, would scarcely exist...


There are times when I wonder why Lincoln bothered at all. These usually arise whenever I hear some neo-Confederate yabbo talk about wanting to secede. Maybe letting some of the southernmost states secede would be beneficial to the U.S. -- I don't know how this would play out concerning the House of Representatives due to the sizable decrease in the American population, but the quality and effectiveness of the dysfunctional-as-hell Senate would improve measurably. Of course, if Virginia were to join the ranks of the secessionists, I'd have to move northward. But the people who own the print shop I work for own two other plants as well, both in states that fought on the Union side -- I'll just have to look into the possibilities for a transfer.

Anyhow, this whole anti-immigrant right-wing asshole furor, as it pertains to Latinos? I don't understand it at all. First of all, these people are here because they want to be here, rather than whichever hellhole country they came from. I can't say I blame them -- though I question their decision to come here, seeing as how both our own right-wing nativist assholes and left-wing ideologues masquerading as progressives are working to make this country a hellhole, too. Maybe they just didn't know this before they showed up, I dunno. But here they are.

I'll use Mexicans for my example, 'cause they're the ones directly south of us. Mexicans were living here several thousands of years before white Europeans showed up. The border between America and Mexico is an officially recognized line on a map -- and that's it. Seriously. That's all that border really amounts to. You want to talk ancestry? Fine. Mexicans in general are... what, five percent European and ninety-five percent Indio? And Republicans want to write these essentially Native Americans out of the Constitution because they don't look European enough?

Gringo, please.

This is my own immigration policy. Say my job is to locate illegal immigrants, and I find out you're a foreigner living in America illegally. The first thing I'll do is hold you in a cell. I can do that -- you are, after all, breaking U.S. law. The second thing I'll do is learn everything I can about your history. If I learn that you have a criminal record in whatever country you came from, I'll ship your ass back to that country. That's my job, asshole, pendejo, or whatever you call it wherever you're from -- Bottom line, we don't need or want you.

But if I determine that the only law you've broken is crossing that officially recognized line on a map illegally, then I'll give you a choice: either go back to where you're from, or toe the line while you go through our naturalization process. And just to prove I'm not a total hard-ass, I'll waive the language barrier part if you have too much trouble learning English. The older you are, the harder it is to learn a new language -- but that shouldn't prevent anyone from seeking a better life.

I'm convinced that one of these days, given the way the demographics of this country are predicted to change, America will wind up with two official languages. But as long as one of those languages is English, I really won't give a fuck what the other one is. It could be Choctaw for all I care. Anyone can become an American. Not everyone deserves to become an American. But if anyone deserves it, it's the ones whose people have been on this side of the Atlantic for thousands of years. Whatever they call themselves now. It's their birthright, no matter what the officially recognized line on some map is.

Historically, the GOP was the Party of Lincoln. But from a spiritual standpoint, it has tragically degenerated into the Party of John Wilkes Booth. And it has done so willingly, if not purposefully.

That, senoras and horsemen, is what I call jumping the shark...

3 comments:

  1. The dysfuntional as hell senate would improve measurably by keeping the likes of Rangel, Hot Pants and Lurch? How so?

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  2. Granted it is the southern left that thinks islands will capsize with the buildup of military so you may have a valid argument. Now if we could trade the elected official from Wisconsin that doesnt realize that Arizona is in fact a border state for the great Bobby Jindal...well then I am all for it!

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  3. Um... just so I'm clear on who you're talking about, which ones are Hot Pants and Lurch?

    ReplyDelete

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