Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

The Roots of the Extreme Immigration Debate


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Dr. Norma Linda Gonzalez-Mattingly, associate professor of education, speaks about the immigration election.

It was a little depressing to hear recent U.S. history. As part of a presentation tonight entitled “The Immigration Election: How Has Immigration Become a Hot Topic & How Has It Been Discussed,” Dr. Norma Linda Gonzalez-Mattingly, associate professor of education, recapped some past election cycles.

Presidents who promised immigration reform included Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. Presidents who delivered immigration reform? Well, all of the previously mentioned resorted to changes in immigration policy via executive order because Congress failed to act.

And today, in 2016, we have two candidates who both promise changes to U.S. immigration policy. Don’t hold your breath.

For one thing, one of those candidates, Donald Trump, is running his campaign like a reality TV star. He makes broad, evocative statements that are good sound bites and, usually, both unsound policy and reflective of an odd alt-right “reality” that isn’t real at all.

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Well, at least there were lemon bars.

Thus, Trump promises a wall (it won’t be built) that Mexico will pay for (no way, hombre). And if Trump did somehow get the magic southern wall with the best technology built, how well would it work? It wouldn’t, but that’s beside the point. The point is to score TV ratings and inflame the passions of his base—and on both of those points, if not on any sound public policy, Mr. Trump is very good.

He calls Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers. He says all incoming Muslims should be banned. He wants “extreme vetting,” whatever that is.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, talks like she lives in the real world, and has an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, immigration plan. But can President Clinton II get it through Congress?

The first President Clinton couldn’t. Granted, the Nasty Woman running today has some advantages over The Bill—she was a Senator and has some resulting connections that Bill Clinton never had. I’m betting President Clinton II would have a better chance than President Trump of actually doing something on immigration, but I would also bet that the odds against her accomplishing anything on this issue are also pretty steep.

And that’s partly what I talked about tonight. I was the other half of the show. Dr. Gonzalez-Mattingly ended her remarks by sharing a compelling anecdote from her hometown of Brownsville, Texas, in which she and her mother accidentally ended up harboring an illegal immigration girl that they found wandering the streets as they exited a store. They ended up taking the girl to their local Catholic parish, and aren’t sure how the story ended.

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Me, photographed with my camera by Dr. Joy Ochs, English professor and chair of the MMU faculty.

Then, Dr. Gonzalez-Mattingly talked movingly about her experience of voting this year. She didn’t need it, but she felt compelled to take her birth certificate with her. She was worried about the rhetoric this year, and how she would be treated.

She is Hispanic, and looks it. She is also a fourth generation American citizen, which, if that’s the standard you use to measure these things, makes her more American than I am (third generation—grandparents on my father’s side were immigrants).

The election this year has taken many twists and turns, but the odd and extreme rhetoric that has characterized the campaign mostly comes from one source—Donald Trump.

His followers think he is a refreshing breath of fresh air, willing to speak the truth. Most reputable fact check sites, on the other hand, find him to be consistently and wildly off base. The best way to understand what Trump says? You know he lies because his lips are moving.

But, while Trump has warped our political discourse, on the other hand it was President Nixon who began an organized attack on mainstream media and who also laid the groundwork for the “Southern man” strategy that has benefited the GOP for two generations. To some extent, the Trump candidacy is the illogical outcome of that trend going to its extreme. And possibly ending, if Trump goes down in flames—as seems likely, but we won’t know until after Nov. 8.

And Trump may be the most extreme example of egregious nonsense on the immigration issue, but it was Rep. Steve King, who it pains me to admit is a Republican from Iowa, who in 2013 said the U.S. is in danger from Mexican immigrants who have calves like “cantaloupes” from hauling heavy loads of Mary Jane through the arid Arizona badlands.

King was crazy and still is. But his remark showed the kind of rhetoric that the most deplorable of Republicans were getting into three years ago. And so today, we now have Trump.

God helps us. The American people will express their will in less than two weeks. It was painful for me tonight to read Trumps convoluted, inarticulate and borderline racist words when talking about his rhetoric.

America, I have a favor to ask. Please don’t make me do that for four more years.

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Torn Between Three Lovers, Feeling Like a Fool


OldGlory

Twin US flags on back of a fire truck in Monticello during a Fouth of July Parade.

What’s an Iowan to do? I keep telling myself, I’ll do more background research, check their web sites, make an informed decision …

But Monday is coming up real fast, the spring semester has started, and I haven’t had much time to scratch myself, blog or do any “extra” reading.

Feb. 1, the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses—an ancient tradition that goes all the way back to 1976, the year I graduated from Muscatine High School, and attended a precinct caucus for the first time.

I was a Republican then, and Gerald Ford was my man. My, how times have changed. I know some Republicans, I even like a few, but my life and views and the GOP’s have so far split asunder that I can’t really imagine a world in which I’d again be a Republican. Not with the clown car of crazies, Bible thumpers, billionaire blowhards and science deniers that is the current, pathetic GOP  presidential field.

A political party in which a loathsome, irritating slick-haired Texan like Ted Cruz seems like the “rational choice” of the two front runners is a political party that somehow got lost and wandered so far deep into the woods that being eaten by bears might be a relief And yet this is the party that has irrevocably gerrymandered itself into control of the U.S. House. Makes you proud to be an American.

But, I digress. My current problem is that right now I plan to caucus for:

  • Martin

    Martin–from his web site.

    Martin O’Malley. He’s young, he’s lean, he plays a mean guitar. He’s the Democrat running who has the most executive governing experience, so he deserves to lead our party to victory and Stump The Trump. Except … Martin who? It’s hard to ignore the fact that, in the practical real world, he’s just not caught on, so it’s hard to caucus for my man Martin.

  • Hillary

    Hillary, from her web site. Best presidential duck face ever.

    Hillary Clinton. She’s experienced, seasoned, a dedicated fighter for All The Right Stuff, so she deserves to lead our party to victory and Stump the Trump. Except … Another Clinton? It would be like the GOP nominating another Bush. Granted, at least in the Democrat’s case it would not be a repeat of one of history’s least competent presidents who almost ran the economy into the Great Depression and everybody seems to forget that, but in the practical real world, can you say “baggage?” Hillary doesn’t own political baggage, she has a political container ship, so it’s hard to caucus for my woman Hillary.

  • Bern

    You know where I got it. It’s Bernie!

    Bernie Sanders. Ah, I can hear Simon and Garfunkel now. I do feel the Bern—he’s got all the right ideas, says the smart things, and many in my family have fallen for this eloquent charmer. Except … the GOP would love to see the Democrats nominate Bernie. Honestly, of the three Democrats, he’s the one almost any Republican would want to run against. America is not ready to elect a socialist. And if a third candidate enters the fall race, I honestly fear that it’s the Sanders campaign that could elect President Trump, so it’s hard to caucus for my man Bernie.

I love them all. But I’m not quite sold on any one. I suppose I could be “undecided” still on Monday, but, unlike the Republicans who can come up with dozens and dozens of candidates, none of whom should be elected Dog Catcher in West Nowhere, the Democrats this year actually have three smart, capable, the-world-would-not-end if they were elected candidates. Yet, each of whom also has strong negatives in terms of political strategy, which matters when it matters a lot that none of the members of the Grand Old-crazy-as-a-loon Party nut jobs wins the eventual election.

Why can’t I choose? I suppose, to be honest, I’m most taken with Martin. Except whenever I hear or see Bernie. But then again, a small voice in the back of my head says “Hillary may have the most baggage, but she’s also the one with the balls (metaphysical) to kick Trump in the balls (metaphysical again, although a guy can hope).”

So I’ve decided. It’s Hillary. No, wait, it’s Bernie. No, wait, time for a new generation of guitar-strumming leadership, so it’s Martin.

Oh, my. How many weeks do I have to decide? Oh well.

Bernie, I don’t know if I’ll be standing with some of my family in your corner, or if I’ll have to waive hello from Martinville or Hillary Town, but kudos, my man, on the best ad of this sad campaign season of 2016:

Sigh. Great commercial. Still undecided.

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