Day: July 7, 2014

Playing politics with tomorrow’s history

 

What good is the Fourth of July to a politician if he or she can’t wave the flag and pass the hat? The Independence Day email that Dan Patrick wasted on me, however, fell flat. He won’t get a dime, and his hyperbolic warning about border “security” insulted the spirit of the day he allegedly was trying to invoke.

The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor is still claiming that hordes of drug-laden, disease-carrying, would-be terrorists are streaming across the Rio Grande, threatening the land of the free and the home of yammering ideologues.

Undocumented immigration, of course, is a problem, but it won’t be solved by the likes of Dan Patrick, who is simply using it to fan the flames of fear and ride the money and the votes of the fearful into the state’s No. 2 job.

Most of the people crossing the border are neither terrorists nor drug traffickers, but are people seeking jobs and a better life. Last time I checked, immigrants causing the most stir were children from Central America, thousands of them, fleeing abuse and criminal activity in their own countries and hoping for a better break here.

“I believe the United States is still the greatest country in the world. It is a beacon of liberty that offers the promise of a better life through equal opportunity,” Patrick said in his email.

Equal opportunity is centered in a strong public education. And, here in Texas, that equal opportunity is being increasingly challenged by public officials such as Patrick who have voted to slash education funding and, if given the opportunity, likely will do so again.

Once upon a time, Patrick got a fresh start in life by declaring bankruptcy, walking away from debts and changing his name. Those kids and parents streaming across the border are seeking their own fresh start, and they are willing to work hard to get it. The federal government, not Dan Patrick, needs to enact a workable immigration reform law with a way for immigrants to earn citizenship.

The United States – Texas included – is a land of immigrants from many cultures, and people who try to ignore that – or use immigration to pander to ideological fear — are placing themselves on the wrong side of tomorrow’s history.