Have They No Decency?
THE ancestors of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, Michael Reagan and Patrick Kennedy, came to America around the time of the Famine at a time of rampant anti-Irish discrimination and would probably recognize the America of today.
Once again fear of alien foreigners again stalks the land, aided in large part by demonizing politicians and grandstanding journalists only too anxious to stir the melting pot.
The politicians are not the only ones culpable. Like Thomas Nast in Puck magazine who demonized the Irish as apes and monkeys, we have a cadre of cable media types, angry and rich white men of privilege who peddle soft racism against illegal immigrants.
The book contracts get fatter as a result and the ratings go higher. As WB Yeats wrote, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
Then there's the mainstream media which demurs and flutters its eyes behind its fans like Geishas, but also like to play the "bash the immigrants" game.
CNN set up the recent Republican presidential debate so that the first segment could be a gladiatorial contest about who could beat up illegal immigrants the most. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani dutifully obliged. Mike Huckabee and John McCain did not, to their eternal credit.
I thought of Jose from Ecuador, an undocumented immigrant I met recently. He showed his daughter's picture. She's 12 and he hasn't seen her in 11 years. His Western Union money order helps her attend school and his family survive.
Michael Reagan and Patrick Kennedy would have approved of this good and decent family man. I suspect their famous offspring would have too.
At the NBC Democratic debate they played gotcha with the driver's license for illegals issue, catching Hillary Clinton in the headlights, much to their delight. In neither case did the journalists seek even a smidgeon of balance as to how the questions were asked or the answers challenged.
One would have thought the very idea came from the devil's playbook but for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson explaining how well the driver's license for undocumented had worked in his state in terms of public safety and insuring drivers.
When New York Governor Eliot Spitzer tried to make the same point in New York it was drowned out under the harrumphing sound of the old white men on cable as they rushed to the ramparts, hotly pursued by much of the "respectable" press loving the sensationalism.
A recent opinion poll in Iowa showed that illegal immigration is the main issue among Republican respondents. Are they all dumb and dumber? Do they seriously believe that the issue of undocumented busboys, fruit pickers and nannies is more important in their lives than their health care, jobs or their family's future?
The answer is, alas, both timeless and simple. Great propagandists know that you merely need to dehumanize people to turn them into scapegoats and targets.
In today's media world ethnic targeting moves with the speed of light. Illegal immigration has become the "No Irish Need Apply" stigma of the new century.
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fine story. sorry I addressed you as doherty without the O' recently; you'll survive, yeah? good story way back in IC about Newt G visiting donegal/Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for new flag for Northern Ireland (VIDEO)
If Haass is such an expect onall things,may I suggest he peddle his wares to is own counrty? A country awash in problems. For a foreigner to offer hIrish university suspends Legion of Mary for anti-gay literature
Just read your Comment, hughmc. It's a very good one. A word that may or may not have originated in The Village Voice newspaper is "Zeitgeist&qTop ten worst ever Irish Christmas gifts, even Santa would take a pass
As a Mid-western "Yank", I've never seen any of these things - ever. MY 4 yr. old daughters would like #2, since they love dolls.