May 28,2006 00:00
Well, the good news is the President has finally come up with an immigration policy. The bad news is nobody can figure out what it is yet, but hey, give the man his props; he gave it a shot. Sensing what could be called a somewhat dissatisfied electorate in the same way a 13 acre glacier might be referred to as an ice cube, he delivered his long awaited speech on immigration and uncharacteristically revealed an actual plan. A magnanimous five part plan but not one that included amnesty. This was an amnesty free plan. A plan that had something to do with increasing border guards and utilizing the national guard in an unnamed amorphous manner, and there was a provision about going home, not President Bush unfortunately, but there was nothing, I repeat, nothing, in there about amnesty, even the thing he called "earned citizenship." A concept that is totally different than amnesty. Somehow. No matter what those confused Republicans are saying.
This is a big deal because his conservative base does not like the idea of letting illegal aliens stay without suffering some sort of penalty. A fine is fine, but there is a large portion of the right that wants to see raised welts. Some sort of Biblical retribution. A big long line of Mexicans bent over with their pants down by their ankles and Senator Doctor Reverend Indian Chief Bill Frist holding up a big wooden paddle to the cameras while he's long distance diagnosing rutabagas in the Palm Springs Safeway produce section. There's an example God's righteous justice for you. "Why do you think they call them illegal aliens?" Unhhhh, because "poor people seduced to cross a desert border by large corporations whose goal is to underpay an entire industry" takes too long to say?
Although doubts remain concerning the plan's workability, most members of Congress are interested in only one very important answer to this internationally vexing question, how does this affect their re- election campaign? The way you can tell Bush's idea is not that bad is both sides of the aisle are pissed off at him, which if you remember, Clinton used to do all the time. Especially both sides of Hillary. That's what struck me: how grey it was. No good guys. No bad guys. Strange territory for George, whose world is normally cut and dried like a third grade Sunday School Primer. "With us or against us." "Good versus evil." "Sesame egg twist versus foccacia bread." But as most of us who graduated past third grade figured out, life ain't like that.
Then the President, dressed as Charles Bronson on a dusty trip to the border, called America "a lawful society, and a welcoming society," but alas not an amnesty granting society. In a stroke of existential irony, he listed speaking English as one of the qualifications for "earned citizenship," his unamnesty- like proposal and pretty much endorsed the moderate bill being debated in the Senate right now as opposed to the extreme House bill which calls for illegals to be ear tagged and used in rodeos as replacements for roping calves. A proposal the President disagrees with mostly because that sort of steady employment could be seen as a form of amnesty. Which he's against.
Writer, comic, actor, radio talk show host, manual transmission driver, Will Durst is very much in favor of amnesty. For pretty much everything.