“Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger?” Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren’t like us? Does that make us stronger? I believe it does.” – President Barack Obama
There are those within the Republican party who call themselves “patriotic” Americans who vociferate vitriolic banter meant to divide but it is nothing but veiled bigotry. Their opposition to immigration reform can be described as nothing short of ugly intolerance that has no place within our democracy, within our republic. But not all Republicans have chosen to go down this road, though it took a while for them to get to the point where current immigration reform legislation is something they would consider – whether it be for political reasons (the 2014 elections) or genuine, empathetic ones. I guess their GPS (GOP Perspective System) did not have updated maps.
Changes in this perspective can best be seen at the current Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting in Boston. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is on record publicly rebuking controversial remarks regarding immigrants made by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
During the 2012 campaign, Romney talked about implementing stringent immigration laws that would drive undocumented immigrants to “self-deport.”
According to Business Insider, Priebus said the comments made by Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, during the 2012 presidential election were “racist” and “horrific.”
Priebus said, “Using the word ‘self-deportation’ – it’s a horrific comment to make.” He further stated “I don’t think it has anything to do with our party. When a candidate makes those comments, obviously, it hurts us.”
The RNC chairman also criticized remarks from rep. King, who made incendiary remarks about the DREAM Act being a potential backdoor for drug smugglers to enter the United States.
Representative King has come under fire for stating that undocumented immigrants have “calves the size of cantaloupes” in order to transport “75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
When asked to comment about Rep. King’s comments, Priebus said, “Well, of course, it’s hurtful. Of course, it hurts. … Just, not good.”
However, Rep. King has not backed down from his remarks. As reported on Huffington Post, King said “Last year, almost everybody in my conference would’ve agreed with me on this immigration issue…It seems as though after the presidential election, a spell’s been cast over a good number of Republicans, and they seem to think the presidential election was about immigration.”
Speaking at a recent Tea Party rally in Virginia, Rep. King implied that Latin American immigrants come from a violent civilization that gets further violent the further south one moves. “If you bring people from a violent civilization into a less-violent civilization, you’re going to have more violence right? It’s like pouring hot water into cold water, does it raise the temperature or not?” King said.
While comments by the RNC chairman regarding comments made by Republicans such as Rep. King are refreshing, it does not stop his fellow members from continuing to make ugly and “horrific” remarks concerning other human beings.
On March 9, 1954, Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders charged that fellow Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had set himself up as a “one-man party,” intent on “doing his best to shatter that party whose label he wears.” This attack signaled that McCarthy had stepped over the line in his pursuit of communists in the U.S. government and that his glory days would soon come to an end.
It is time for today’s Republicans to put an end to the Tea Party reign and get down to work – with Democrats – to fix today’s problems, to do the people’s work.
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.