Sorry, guy, when you phoned this afternoon and asked for a donation to the Democratic cause you caught me at a testy time. That’s why I ranted, “A pox on both the parties! More and more I’m moving to the center. Independents rule!”
I understand why you hung up on me so quickly. You were looking for my Democratic wife and assumed that I was a kindred political spirit. Which, usually I am. But not to the extent of donating to the Demowussycratic Party. I’ll leave that to Laurel.
I told the fundraiser that the Democrats are better than the Republicans. Pretty much like leprosy is better than the black plague. Both are nasty, yet one is more deadly. Hearing today that a compromise on immigration reform is likely to get through the Senate helped push me over the rant edge when I got that call.
“The Dems have lost me on the immigration bill,” I said. I was about to launch into the reasons why when I heard the solicitor hastily disconnecting. There’s nothing more frustrating than a rantus interruptus, so I’ll take the liberty of continuing my rant here.
As I wrote about before, these are strange days. On the subject of immigration reform I find myself agreeing with arch-conservative talk show hosts like Michael Savage, and the Democratic Party has aligned itself with a policy pioneered by Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Hey, Dems: have you ever considered whether it’s wise to be on the same side of the immigration divide as Reagan and Bush? Could it be that you’re being used as a pawn by big business interests eager to maintain a steady flow of cheap labor?
(The idiocy of the Senate approach to immigration reform is encapsulated in "Immigration bill repeats earlier flaws, say critics.")
Read “How U.S. Corporations Won the Fight Over Immigration” over at the Americas Program of the International Relations Center. It describes how the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) was formed in 1999 after the INS, gasp!, actually stopped meat-packing plants in Nebraska from hiring illegals.
The business lobby freaked out and EWIC was born. And you can bet that right now they’re pulling a lot of strings (plus throwing around a lot of money) in the Congressional debate over immigration reform. The article says:
In 1986, Reagan approved a broad based amnesty for over 6 million undocumented immigrants, who were required to show that they’d been living in the country since 1982. EWIC’s contribution has been to reframe the residency requirement contained in the 1986 legislation, transforming it into the concept of “earned legalization.”
In other words, it’s no longer sufficient to have lived in the U.S. for years—only participation as a “willing employee” in a new temporary worker program, contracted out to a “willing employer” (in the terminology of Bush and the Cato Institute) qualifies someone for eventual legalization.
…EWIC doubtless deserves credit for its lobbying and legislative skill. It may seem self-evident that migration should be harnessed to provide labor to corporate employers—if it does, it is a mark of the success of employer groups like it. But EWIC is also riding a new political wave, and its proposals reflect a growing effort by governments in all the wealthy countries of the global north to retailor their immigration policies to meet industry needs.
It’s pretty clear that we don’t have a genuine two-party system. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are under the sway of corporate interests. When big business says “jump!” almost every elected official is pleased to ask “how high?” Followed by, “when will I get my check?”
Thus it’s a waste of time to talk to me, Democratic fundraisers, until your party starts to grow some progressive balls. My advice is to phone in the morning; that’s when my wife is more likely to answer.