Cynthia: Happy Black Friday, Mike!
The color black is the complete absorption of light, and the retail “holiday” the complete absorption of our shopping dollars. Let’s talk about what else is black.
How about our president, Barack Obama. In your view, how’s he doing?
Mike: Wow, right to the point! I’m still a bit foggy from a stuffing-induced stupor, but I’ll give it a shot.
For the president, he’s essentially given up on all his 2008 soaring rhetoric about bridging the partisan divide. If he had decided to tackle immigration with his Democratic majorities back in 2008, I think Republicans would’ve worked with him. Instead, they came out with Chicago-style tactics that ran the ACA roughshod over even the most moderate of Republicans, including Olympia and Susan.
When Scott Brown was elected to succeed Ted Kennedy — Ted Kennedy! — they pressed on with legislative gymnastics, never once pausing for a moment of introspection. I recognize Republicans have been obstinate as well, but it is a president’s duty to lead and there were some on the right willing to give him a shot at first. But, fool me once…
Cynthia: It’s a fool’s errand trying to be bipartisan with a Republican Party hell bent on being obstructionist. The GOP has broken all records putting up obstacles to Obama’s judicial nominees and other important appointments, as well as blocking critical legislation. And talk about gymnastics, Republicans shut down the government over debt they created with lavish tax cuts and expensive wars.
Now America’s first black president is protecting black and brown immigrants, and Republicans in Congress are apoplectic — 89 percent of whom happen to be white men.
Maybe you’re right, though. Maybe we should just be grateful a few of them were at least willing to give him a shot, at first.
Speaking of shots, one GOP senator says anarchy and violence might result from the president’s executive order on immigration.
It’s all so confusing. Who’s got the black heart in all of this, anyway?
Mike: Like I said, the bipartisanship should’ve begun when there were Democratic majorities, but the White House didn’t really care. Republicans reacting to that partisan environment led to the impasses. Doesn’t make it right, but let’s not pretend that the Democrats are pure as the driven snow in all of this.
And 89 percent of congressional Republicans are white men? Wild. Did you know that 100 percent of the founders were white men? But all of that is irrelevant. Let’s look at the policy, not the color of people’s skin or hearts. And the fact is the policy isn’t great.
I’ve talked to some Americans who came here as immigrants from Africa and South America. They dealt with the bureaucracy; filled out the forms; waited in lines; paid their bills, lawyers and taxes; worked; earned; saved; and ultimately succeeded. I saw the same thing with my Afghan interpreters; they worked with us shoulder-to-shoulder, put themselves and their families at risk and waited for months or years to come to America the right way. So what message does this send to those who do things right?
Cynthia: It’s not naturalized citizens complaining about the president’s executive order, it’s Republicans, and the message is simple: while they deal with the bureaucracy; fill out the forms; wait in lines; pay their bills, lawyers and taxes; work; earn; and save, a group of non-violent immigrants brought here as children or who are parents of Americans won’t be deported.
An uprising over something outrageous — potholes, say — I can see, but to incite a rebellion in order to deport kids and break up families? It just seems a little over the top. What happened to trust God and keep your powder dry?
And yes, I’m well aware the Founding Fathers were all white men in white powdered wigs. I’m willing to bet, though, that if women weren’t busy being “chattel” and blacks were not slaves, they would have loved to get a little credit for the birth of our nation in 1776.
The word “conservative” means resistant to change. Don’t you think fear of losing power has something to do with the GOP’s anti-Obama, anti-immigrant attitude?
Mike: President Obama has been in office for six years; how many were really in danger of being deported without the executive order? And what about the brazen political calculation, waiting to announce this until after the midterm election but before the new Congress is seated? These transparent political games are why people rightly hate the system.
And try as you might to ascribe “anti-immigrant” values to the GOP, some of our brighteststars are first-generation Americans whose parents immigrated here legally. We know the immigration system is broken, but the solution is not merely legislative. We need the executive branch to do their job and enforce the laws, both in terms of border security and in terms of visa processing. And we need to make it simpler so that immigrants without financial resources can come here legally.
Quite simply, we should be a nation with tall walls and wide gates. And I think most Americans, whether natural-born or naturalized, agree with that. So am I worried about the GOP “losing power?” Nah. But I am worried that the president flouting Congress’ will — however wrong that will may seem — sets a mighty dangerous precedent. Contrary to the opinions of Machiavelli and Jonathan Gruber, the ends do not always justify the means.