U.S. Electoral Politics: January 2008 Archives

This was originally posted on my Think profile for Street Team '08 at streetteam08.com:

U.S. citizen youth vote for more than themselves, they vote for the betterment of others. When it comes to issues like income inequality, social stratification, the environment, human rights, and multilateral foreign policy, looking out for the people around us is high on our generation’s list of priorities. Voting altruism is a revolutionary idea. Voting selflessly, not selfishly, might even seem counterintuitive. But in a flat world strange things start to make a lot of sense. 

I don't see how the federal government is expected to do anything about the millions of U.S. migrants living in fear when the press does a miserable job of informing the public.  Over the past few days, I've seen the Associated Press blast the comments of Governor Deval Patrick across the nation and fail to accurately inform readers about the context surrounding those comments.
(Picture from the Boston Herald) 

I encourage everyone to write a letter to the editor and leave comments on the websites of the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Houston Chronicle, The New Bedford Standard-Times, the Worcester Telegram, and the Berkshire Eagle.  It is especially important that people write letters to the editors of these papers to counter the inevitable firestorm that will play out in the editorial sections.
News came a few days ago that Eliot Spitzer has failed in his effort to allow long-incarcerated felons some measure of freedom, freedom denied them so far by the Parole Board's categorical refusal to grant parole to inmates convicted of certain crimes.  Reading this story got me thinking.  Spitzer started his term popular and ambitious but then something happened.  That something is known collectively in some circles as the flying monkeys of immigration restrictionism. 

Here is the key passage in Sam Roberts' NY Times article for my purposes today:

With Mr. Spitzer's political capital depleted and the governor hardly eager to embark on another unpopular crusade

By "unpopular crusade," I'm speculating that Roberts primarily means Spitzer's attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to reinstate New York's previous policy of permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. 

Hillary Clinton's recent dip in the polls ahead of the primaries has also been attributed by many to her "gaffe" on the same subject in a debate a couple months ago.

Political capital is ineffable and notoriously volatile.  Much of a politician's room to maneuver depends on which narrative our media gatekeepers decide is suitable for consumption by the masses.  Those gatekeepers are often easily misled as to the prevailing temper of the public--witness the "Village's" continuing support for the War in Iraq when all available evidence indicates a large majority of Americans oppose the war. 

This ongoing disjunction between reality and media narrative has not arisen organically--it has several causes, among them: fear of being labeled soft on national security, fear of being caught by surprise again after 9/11, ignorance of the substantive details of the issues at hand, weariness of being tagged with the now-pejorative "liberal" label, coziness with power brokers in government and business who profit from the machinery of war, and simple groupthink. 

I propose that savvy conservative activists have perpetuated a similar con on the gatekeepers: the Great Immigration Swindle.  Through a decades-long coordinated effort,  groups calling for more restrictive immigration policies, or "restrictionists" for short, have positioned a media narrative once considered racist and extreme as fully mainstream.

Here are the component parts of the Swindle: