Saturday, May 2, 2009

And if you wonder why I don't spend a lot of time shilling for the national Libertarian Party....

Read this:

The LP's press release advocating a government crack-down on the borders to stop the swine flu epidemic.

As one commenter put it:

Holy crap. So much for the LP being “Republican-Lite” - they’re now aiming for “More Republican Than Thou”.

Ironically, I appear to have written my own response to this knee-jerk, fear-oriented view of immigration in the first two weeks of this blog's existence. Since my traffic then was about 25 people ... a week ... I suspect few of you have ever seen it. I called it Immigration, dough-nuts, and the eucharist: my conundrum, and I'm going to repost the bulk of it in rebuttal to the hostile nativism being promulgated by the faux libertarians at national:

At church I often end up sitting across from some very nice people who work in the Wilmington area as house cleaners, landscapers, or construction workers. They are Hispanic, and many if not most of them are either—choose your politically identifying label—illegal immigrants or undocumented workers.

I wonder, do different rules apply at Mass?

The ongoing political debate hinges on immigration law, national security, and fears that our culture—whatever that is—is under assault.

Yet my priest teaches in the name of my church that human rights to a better economic life and to get out of poverty trump national rights of exclusion. My church holds that our transient, worldly culture is of far less importance than our common, shared belief in the efficacy of the Eucharist.

We serve doughnuts after Mass. People come by the window where my children volunteer to pour coffee, tea, and juice. Do I raise them to ask for green cards before they allow access to the non-dairy creamer? Do I teach them to be more suspicious of Catholics with brown skin who prefer to speak Spanish? I wonder what one of our new associate priests, who himself speaks English with a heavy Nigerian accent, would think of that idea.

I know names of parents and babies. We come together on the Saturday when parishioners gather to repaint the building’s exterior and plant flowers.

I don’t fear people who want the Star Spangled Banner translated into Spanish, and I don’t worry that the newcomers to our shores can erode the essentials of American culture, which I define as individual liberty and equal opportunity for all. If our values are so shallow and so culturally narrow, then they’ll disappear into the same fog of history that swallowed up the Etruscans.

But you have to worry about terrorism, don’t you? It’s irresponsible not to favor fencing off the Mexican border, isn’t it? Some days (and I cringe to think of the responses this might elicit), I’m not so sure.

What about the drain on our social services, the unfair competition in certain industries, the proliferation of low-riding cars blaring salsa music?

Freely admitting I don’t have an answer, here’s an observation: today nobody seems to like Congress, at least according to the polls. But everybody is pretty happy with his or her own Representative or Senator. One person at a time is different from a crowd.

When I see a mass of illegals running for the border on CNN, that’s one thing.

When I see a fellow parishioner hold up a baby for christening, that’s another.

Until we resolve that dynamic, we won’t even come close to a resolution.

And until the national Libertarian Party actually manages to acknowledge the mere existence of that dynamic, we won't even come close to having a real political party.

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