U.S. Electoral Politics: December 2007 Archives

From Ryan Lizza's recent New Yorker article on immigration and the GOP:

Dean Allen, a plump and friendly fellow sporting an American-flag tie, told me that he runs something called Spirit of Liberty; he's also helping Witherspoon's campaign. "Some of these people may be coming in here to get jobs washing dishes, but some of them are coming in here to hijack airplanes," he explained. "If you're down there trying to look at the people coming across the border, maybe a lot of them are just motivated by economics, and they want a job washing dishes or cutting grass. But I can't tell Jose Cuervo from the Al Qaeda operatives by looking at them, because they cut their beard off. It's like trying to get fly manure out of pepper without your glasses on, you know? I mean, not a racist thing, but they're all brown with black hair and they don't speak English and I don't speak Arabic or Spanish, so if they don't belong here and they don't come here legally, I want to know who's here."

Anytime someone prefaces a statement with, "I'm not a racist, but . . ." make sure to turn your bulls%#t detector up a notch or two. 

It's alarming to consider that much of the animus and fear behind anti-migrant politics right now is apparently attributable to a simple case of mistaken identity.  It bears repeating since it hits me in the face like a sledgehammer: "They're all brown with black hair and they don't speak English and I don't speak Arabic or Spanish." 

Translation: They're different from me in ways I don't really understand but that worry me, so they'd better make sure they keep their distance.  

It was a lot of fun watching Kieth Olbermann lay the smackdown on Lou Dobbs for his complicity in hiring the same migrants that he rails against nightly.  Yave wrote a brilliant post on this, and Duke writes that the blogosphere was way ahead of Olbermann on this one.  Still, there was one part of Olbermann's monologue, quoted below, that bothered me a bit.