This won't do
*** UPDATED ***Two words:
This kind of argument-by-anecdote -- the Lenny Skutnik mode of presidential rhetoric -- is simply unacceptable on so vital an issue:
I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came here from another country with dreams of a better life. ... On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sgt. Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able.Translation: If you don't want to swallow 12 million illegals, then you are not patriotic, you hate Marine heroes, and you're disrespecting Grandma, too.
During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sgt. Denogean was seriously injured. When asked if he had any requests, he made two – a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him … and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.
We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans.
Hats off to Gunny Denogean -- and to any other Marine veteran -- but this debate is not about farm workers who came to America illegally as children in ... what, 1970? This is about the 12 million illegals who have crossed the border since the amnesty of 1986. It's about the 500,000 illlegals who come every year ... 40,000 a month ... 10,000 a week.
I hated Bill Clinton for constantly doing this anecdotal crap -- "... Sue Grundyberger's 12-year-old son was killed with an illegal assault weapon ..." -- and it would be intellectually dishonest for me to accept such bogus rhetoric just because it's being uttered by a Republican.
Surprisingly, the normally hard-headed Don Surber approves the warm-and-fuzzy mode of discourse:
The president made his point. No amnesty? Tell that to Gunny Denogean.I rarely disagree with Surber. The problem with using Gunny Denogean to illustrate Bush's point is that Denogean, by my reckoning, must be about 44. If he came to the U.S. as a child -- Bush did not say "teenager" -- that could have been no later than 1975. And Reagan amnestied all illegals in 1986, by which time Denogean had been in the Corps for six years.
The president did well. If the Senate and the House leaders think big instead of small, they will secure the borders in a very mature manner. If they listen to the bloggers, the bill and Republican hopes in 2006 are dead.
Which is to say, the Denogean anecdote is a non sequitur. It has no relevance whatsoever to the illegal immigration situation in 2006. As argument, the "patriotic Marine" red herring is akin to the president's favorite "decent, hardworking" line. The work ethic and "decency" of any individual immigrant, or of immigrants in general, is moot when considering the question of whether they are here legally.
The United States has laws governing immigration and naturalization. Illegal aliens are here in violation of those laws. If we do not enforce the law, we encourage future lawbreakers, and foster a general disrespect for all our laws.
Passing new laws -- e.g., "guest worker" programs -- will not solve this problem, because those who do not respect our current law will have no reason to respect future laws, since we have shown them that we are not serious about enforcing the law.
And as to Mr. Surber's election predictions ... well, I understand that "Mark Hunt" is spelled "Mike Callaghan" in West Virginia!
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