Thursday, June 23, 2011

How's that working out for 'ya - Phase II


I'll have to admit, I was a little stung by a comment of your's on my last post, that being:

"Chris, to point your finger-of-shame at Republicans (on the immigration debacle) specifically is beneath you..."

Then, no sooner had I started to deal with the emotional trauma caused by that remark, you added:

"I do NOT believe racial or religious bigotry is a factor AT ALL."

Let's break this down.

OK, sure, I'll admit I'm a little quick on the trigger finger when it comes to Republicans. But for Pete's sake, on this issue specifically, I was talking about a fairly blatant attempt by Georgia Republicans to cynically mine the issue of illegal immigration for votes. Of interest to me is how this attempt has now backfired in a way everyone on the planet (including those same Republicans) knew it would. Liberals in the Georgia legislature are as lame and cynical a bunch as those from the GOP, but willy nilly, they managed to get on the right side of this issue and oppose HB87. Which, ironically, closely aligns them with Georgia business interests in one of Georgia's most important industries. This issue won't go away and I intend to post more on it presently.

As for racial bigotry, I assure you I wouldn't even be participating in this blog if I thought Steve Green had a bigoted bone in his body. As a matter of fact, it has been the total absence of racial bias which has made it possible for us to reach general agreement on the most ideologically divisive points. I would only point out however, that the world outside the calm and reasonable confines of this blog is not nearly as open minded. For example:

I came across a post by Jay Bookman on HB87 in the AJC (from June 17th, a full 10 days after mine - which only proves how far ahead of the news cycle we are). Jay's article pretty much followed the same general outline of my post. The most interesting part of this was not the article itself, but the 92 comments which follow it. Among them, you will find a pretty fair number of overtly racist remarks - all made by obviously conservative readers.

One early commenter cited "an excellent rebuttal to this nonsense..." in the Marietta Daily Journal. The MDJ article itself is an example of some pretty crude journalism ( "one of my favorite sources of amusement are smug, leftist columnists who wail in anguish..." ), by one D.A. King. For factual substance, Mr. King references "the respected Center for Immigration Studies in Washington". Oh really?

Now a reader looking for confirmation of bias, and no more, would probably stop with the D.A. King piece and toddle off to beddy-by, secure in the knowledge that his opinion was buttressed by research by such an imposing, non-partisan outfit like the "Center for Immigration Studies". Steve, that's how confirmation bias works. If you want to believe the moon is made of Wisconsin White Cheddar, there's probably a "think tank" somewhere willing to provide you with intellectual ammo. But wouldn't it make sense to check out your sources first, since typing "The Center for Immigration Studies" into your search bar only takes a few seconds?

I did. And what emerges is the image of an anti-immigration astro-turf organization, one of a network of as many as 13 founded by retired opthamologist John Tanton, who has been credited with almost single-handedly creating the anti-immigration movement in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say about the CIS:

“Although the think tank bills itself as an “independent” organization with a “pro-immigrant” if “low-immigration” vision, the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked. There’s a reason for that.

Although you’d never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in 1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton — a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials…”

But, isn't the Southern Poverty Law Center itself just some kind of glorified liberal front group? I don't think so, but on this issue at least you can check out the veracity of their claim simply by going online to John Tanton's magazine, "The Social Contract", and doing a little first hand research of your own. Check out the archive of articles, the articles themselves, the book reviews, the book reviewers, and all the rest. If you don't have time for that, you might as well accept the verdict I myself arrived at by doing this. "The Social Contract" is little more than a portal for a great deal of hard core racial and religious bigotry to creep into the national dialogue.

Steve, its like peeling an onion, and it works like this: One supposedly neutral observer, like D.A. King of the Marietta Journal, writes an article with important, but barely discernible racial overtones, and cites a source which occupies a marginally more racist level. That source is supported by others, and those in turn by still others, and to follow the trail you find yourself going deeper and deeper into world of frank, unapologetic racism.

Think I'm kidding? Or, maybe deluding myself into believing there's a guy in a white sheet behind every tree in the forest? Here's my take:

I detest intolerance in all its forms, and racism is probably the worst one. But I'm less disgusted by those who catagorically admit to downright racism. After all, they pay us the courtesy of identifying themselves as recognizable enemies of a tolerant and enlightened society. What bothers me far more are the stealth racists: those who try to pass themselves off as neutral academicians just trying to weigh the effect of race on society. If there's a level in Hell lower than that reserved for overt racists, that's where they're headed.

To say these stealth racists don't play a huge role in defining the immigration debate in this country is at best, naive.



  1. I don't see myself as naive on this subject, but it doesn't bother me, even if true.

    Let me acknowledge that the 'stealth racists' certainly try to influence the immigration debate. No argument there. But to say that racism is the 'driving force' behind immigration reform ignores many valid non-racial issues.

    And I agree with you that self-identified racists are a very small step on the ladder from hell above those who are 'stealth'. Both are despicable. We agree here.

    However, let us not use too-broad a paint brush against the conservative / Republican political spectrum. 'Stealth' agendas abound on both sides.

    As an example, I hold up Planned Parenthood - an organization with an often ignored (hidden) agenda all the way back to its founding by Margaret Sanger. Research on this issue is left as an exercise to the student and the curious, but I am sure you are already aware of the point I'm making...

    In short, let us agree that regardless of the issue under discussion and the subsequent position taken, there are numerous adherents that supporters would rather not have. And, likewise, there are ideologues who - for whatever reason - distance themselves from their stated goals to support actions by favored individuals. For example, the mind-boggling support by N.O.W. for Bill Clinton, in spite of his actions and treatment of women. Similar examples can be found, too numerous to count, on both sides of the political spectrum.

    The paint splatters of such can cover us all to the point where we cannot accomplish anything for fear that our efforts will be discarded SOLELY because of a few bad apples. Fortunately, you and I try to stay on track - although we are sometimes dragged kicking and screaming back off the rabbit-trail. Mea culpa.

    Perhaps it would have been better to say *I* do not have racist or bigoted motivations in my support and research into what I see as much-needed "immigration reform". Many concerned with this issue (and I think MOST) do not use a racist filter. I will not claim *all* look through the correct lens, but we cannot ignore the legitimate proposals because SOME nasty folks like doing ANYTHING that gains an advantage for their cause.

    We are all agenda-driven, in one form or another. Some - like you and I - are just up-front about it.

    No problem.

    - Steve

  2. The most ironic thing about your comment is that John Tanton has always been associated with Planned Parenthood - and the eugenics movement as well. John Tanton was one of the founders of Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood. If you want, google "John Tanton and eugenics" or "John Tanton and Planned Parenthood". The results will be eye opening.

    OK, I'll concede that liberals have a bunch of Margaret Sangers in their closets - and (grudgingly) admit that anyone can use these unpleasant histories selectively to comprimise the aims of genuinely honest and objective assertions made by persons like yourself.

    Sorry. Peace.