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Why I Am A Democrat (And An Immigration Reformer).
Many of you have responded to my VDARE.COM writings with this question: How could you be a Democrat when your party seems to favor open borders and you are so strongly in favor of real immigration reform?
However, it is encouraging to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say recently, according to the Post, that she won't bring an amnesty bill to the floor unless President Bush guarantees at least 70 Republican 'Yes' votes.
The Post comments,
"In contrast to her approach to other controversial issues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has told the White House that she cannot pass a bill with Democratic votes alone, nor will she seek to enforce party discipline on the issue. Bush will have to produce at least 70 Republican votes before she considers a vote on comprehensive immigration legislation, a task that may be very difficult for a president saddled with low approval ratings." [President Renewing Efforts on Immigration, By Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post,, April 9, 2007]
So the years of pandering to the cheap labor lobby may at last have hit a snag.
But I am not a Democrat because of this clearly political maneuvering by Pelosi—whose NumbersUSA rating on immigration reform is F minus!
I have been a Democrat for more than forty years. I came from a rather languid moderate Republican background. But I started to develop as a Democrat in the 1960s. I was a foundation program officer assigned, with virtually no prior training or experience, to monitor and originate program grants in the field of family planning, both domestic and international.
Then and since, trips around the world, to developing countries, to places that most folks living in gated America never visit, convinced me that the world is indeed moving to an Armageddon—not one punctuated by the Second Coming, but rather by massive wars, famine and pestilence, as we have moved from a world inhabited by 2 billion humans at the end of the 19th Century to one with at least 10 billion by 2100.
The disruptions we observe daily in our media are real, folks. The shortages, the killings, the pain are happening to real people. Those hundreds of thousands of deaths in Darfur and elsewhere are really happening, even though most Americans see only the TV images as they go on with their normal lives.
It is obvious that this population growth drives worldwide mass migration—including the massive invasion of America. The era of promoting endless growth of everything, still an American business icon, should be at least considered for its advantages and disadvantages.
But the Republican Party and its leaders still haven't gotten the point.
My attitude was well summarized in the April 13th Washington Post. Bob Thompson quoted the novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who died on April 11th, as saying in 2005, "The America I loved is gone." [So He Goes, Not Quietly]
The America Vonnegut loved—the one he came home from World War II to look for—was an optimistic place, he said. When you asked its citizens what class they belonged to, "practically everybody said 'middle,' and there was always a job you could get that was enough to live on." There was "a great system of free public schools."
Now we've got "a government run entirely by people who are beholden to rich people or who are themselves rich." And they have "carte blanche, apparently, to do whatever they want. . . . These people are decisive. Women go for them, because the other guys they know are all so wishy-washy."
Mr. Vonnegut, that's a great description of the recent Republican leadership. A glance at page one of the Washington Post that day makes clear the callous indifference and arrogance of the Republican leadership: Rove's possibly incriminating emails are missing, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's fellow employee girlfriend gets preferential job treatment, while tons of food spoils when FEMA ran out of storage space, and the supposedly impregnable Green Zone in Baghdad gets penetrated by a suicide bomber.
In the newly-issued paperback edition of this brilliant recitation of how we got to where we are now, Phillips traces the evolution of the Republican Party with its petroleum-driven agenda, its embrace of a wholly conservative social agenda, its uncontrolled spending, its large governing component of right wing religious zealots and its consequent attempt to enforce its authoritarian positions on everyone.
Phillips's recitation of the history of earlier dominant empires such as the Dutch in 15th and 16th centuries and the British starting in the 17th century until 1914, causes him to reflect that the same force, energy (in the British case, coal, in our case, oil) drove these countries to dominance. And now the USA is likely to decline in power, as our domestic supplies and world production have peaked and our near-monopoly control of oil supplies has diminished.
After tracing this over 100 year oil addiction, Phillips then quotes the denials by Bush and his henchmen that our invasion of Iraq had anything to do with oil. This he says, is "of course...steaming horse manure."
So why do I support the candidacy of Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who is pro life, anti gay marriage, etc.? Because of the urgency of treating the immigration issue. He is the only candidate presently running who if elected would urge real immigration reform. His views on these other issues are temporarily less important. For example, reproductive choice in the US is prevalent and likely to remain so.
I recognize the extreme irony in all this. How can a bright person like Tancredo, or Pat Buchanan, not connect the dots about the rapid population growth occurring in the Third World nations and our own immigration invasion?
How can one be for immigration limitation and not for family planning? Women die daily as the result of the anti abortion Helms' Amendment which was enacted in the early 1970's and strengthened under Bush.
So there you have it. I was driven from the Republicans to the Democratic Party. While that party far from completely embodies the former Republican core tenets—fiscal restraint, protection of private property, separation of church and state and the Rule of Law—at least seems to offer a better vision of personal choice and democratic freedom which the Republican Party has lost as it became dominated by its theocrats, including our President.
Will a new Democratic Presidential candidate surface for whom I can vote? Will one of those now running take up the cudgels for real reform?
How is Al Gore on immigration reform? Has he connected the dots on the relation of global warming to the phenomenon of massive population growth sufficiently to take a strong position on US immigration reform?
That would help, even if he does not decide to run. Stay tuned.
Should Tancredo, by some turn of fate, get the nomination, the Democratic nominee better have a good immigration story. You know the right one: Border control and confirmed ID first, tested for several years to prove that the laws are working.
If not, this Democrat could well eschew his party's choice for someone like Tancredo—warts and all.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.