|English | Español||February 23, 2018 | Issue #46|
“There Is No Evil from which Some Good Does Not Come”
37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and Bernie Sanders Kill Immigration Reform in the US Senate
Other radio talkers are being given credit, too, for preserving the current mess. Fox News’ Sean Hannity is said to have turned Sen. George Voinovich’s vote. National Review’s Katherine Jean Lopez credits talker Mike Levin with pounding Virginia Senators Jim Webb and John Warner into submission. There’s some truth to that, and also some myth and fiction. The lack of backbone by those senators, and their singular myopia in not being able to see that an email-and-long-distance-fax-and-phone brigade is not reflective of the majority of working men and women, is what makes the corporate-paid illusion of a grassroots campaign seem like something it is not. “They’ve shut down our phone lines” does not mean majority support or opposition to a measure. It means only that ten thousand economically comfortable people can shut down any government or company’s phone lines. It was Astroturf: simulated grassroots, the color of money.
But whatever the reasons why it happened, the defeat of the Immigration Reform Bill, leaving a terrible status quo in place, guarantees more harm to millions of people. The five children of Sarah Muñoz Gonzales, deported to Mexico from the US after fifteen years in Saint Michael, Minnesota, know it well. “She has nothing there. No house, nothing in Mexico,” her husband, a legal US immigrant, told reporters after she was escorted toward the border for parts unknown.
And as Bill Conroy reports, the Senate has now ratified a status quo that includes the US government’s plans to open “orphan camps” for the multitude of children, many of them American-born, that will next be forcibly separated from their immigrant parents.
Here in Mexico, there is a popular expression: “No hay mal de que un bien no viene.” There is no evil from which some good does not come.
And what the death of immigration reform in Washington also does is it opens our eyes. It allows us to see – the majority of us that are good and decent but have no voice in the mass media – that the political and media establishment in the US are one establishment, united, and that talk radio is not, as its hosts position themselves, a counter-force to “liberal media,” but, rather, part and parcel of the same unelected government. This adventure demonstrates that the political and media class is corrupted and cannot be looked to for solutions to the problems of our times. And without the illusion that somebody else “up there” will do it for us, it touches upon us to solve our problems ourselves, without relying on anybody up above.
The other silver lining is that there were – despite the over-amplification of the vocal and media-enabled minority that scared the cowards into submission to vote against immigration reform – still 46 senators (12 Republicans, 33 Democrats and 1 Independent, see the roll call list above) that did not succumb or submit. It shows that even under the worst of political-media circumstances, there are men and women, even in power, even in the United States, that do not cave to bullies and do not see them as bigger than they are.
Two other “bienes” that come from this particular “mal” have also emerged. Yesterday’s 52-46 vote to shelve the imposition of the “REAL ID” program upon all Americans shows the beginnings of some civil libertarian consciousness in Congress, now six years after 9/11 since which many of them had collaborated in sentencing the Bill of Rights to death. Not all of those votes were sincere ones: A good number of them came from senators that supported the REAL ID provisions but voted the other way as a maneuver to choke the legislation. Still, others did stand up. And the other new and positive side effect of the anti-immigrant triumph is the return of a yearning for the Fairness Doctrine: the former federal law that, until it was removed in the 1980s, guaranteed a chance to those voices excluded by media companies to speak, too, on the public airwaves. The right wing talkers have generated a backlash and the Fairness Doctrine is back on the table.
So despite the tragic result of today’s Senate vote leaving twelve million new Americans unprotected and defenseless under the law, and the epidemic of harm that will now be unleashed upon them, and upon all of us (because what drives everyone’s wages down is not their presence, but, rather, the “illegality” that prevents them from organizing or suing for rights supposedly guaranteed the rest of us), there will soon be evident an equal and opposite reaction. It is highly likely that a greater number of the politicians that buckled to the pressure today will be swept out of office in 2008 than those that did not cave. And we’ll still be around to point out why that happens when it does. And then, maybe in 2009, immigration reform will come back with a fury.
But that will only occur if those of us that see through the simulation of democracy begin to use alternate routes than those that the mass media offers us.
In the meantime, we must redouble our efforts to create our own media (since not even the “liberal” establishment media has shared its microphone with us) and begin to clean house so that false voices won’t be able to claim to represent us the next time a decisive battle must be fought.
That’s not a problem we’re going to solve in one day, but every day. As far as what I think ought to be done, well, I’m doing it. We’re not going away or anywhere. If today’s victors think that merely wishing us to be invisible and silent makes it so, let them continue to underestimate that which they feared enough to push all the panic buttons against in recent weeks. We’re no worse off today than we were yesterday. They changed nothing. But they dug a great big hole for themselves. So get out your shovels, your cameras, your pens, your powers of investigation and your talents at organizing, and let’s begin, step-by-step, the great push back.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism