WASHINGTON – Russell Lee thinks I’m “an IDIOT” and advises that “if you do not like the rule of law, then move someplace where it does not exist.”
His is one of the less toxic reactions to my column of two weeks ago. In it, I praised legislation that Sen. Richard Lugar has backed for years – a bill to create a path to citizenship for kids who are brought to the U.S. without proper papers when their parents come into the country illegally.
I wrote – and believe – that a pragmatic approach is preferable to a situation that condemns these children to a life in the shadows as adults and ensures that society will have no chance to reap the benefits of their talents.
The initial reaction – from people who actually buy the newspaper – was pleasant, though not plentiful.
Then a blogger who seems to oppose immigration excerpted parts of my column, found it wanting and encouraged his readers to give me what-for. He urged his readers to “help reporter Smith” by sending me their thoughts.
They complied. And they didn’t reserve their vitriol for me.
“NO, Sen. Shaft Lugar will not get his socialist, illegal & immoral ‘dream act’ passed ... shame on these filthy, pandering enemies of the law, justice, order, and common sense,” I was informed by one of the many e-mailers who did not find it necessary to sign his name.
Frank Saubier proclaimed that “you are not stupid, so you must be corrupt to persist with such a treasonous position advocating continued invasion of America by illegals.”
Jerry Medberry of Elgin, Iowa, asked: “You want to flood the job market with Alien workers before Americans can work to support their families?”
No, and my column didn’t advocate that.
Someone who had an opinion but was willing to back it up only with the initials GBC offered this:
“What is it about you and those of your ilk that desperately wants to destroy our National Identity, disrespect our laws, and continue to eradicate the American Middle Class (of which, I presume, you are a part of ) at what I see to be is the demands for cheap, uncomplaining labor by Korporate Amerika at the expense of this once great Nation’s Citizens?”
Holly Meredith used capitalization for her emphasis: “AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, MS SMITH, YOU ARE NUTS.”
Her assessment of my mental state was frequently repeated.
“Why don’t you start printing the truth and the REAL economic facts?” asked Dennis DiPetro, who offered an answer to his own question: “You don’t dare because you are a bloated, left-wing, self-promoting gutless wind-bag.”
April Hoover, who now lives in Florida but used to live in Indiana, wrote that she “just wanted to tell you that I think you are a DISGRACE and a traitor as an American! Why should ILLEGAL ALIENS be given ANY rights?!? They chose to willfully break the law by coming to America illegally. Why should ANY American have to foot the bill for any illegal alien invader?!?”
The traitor suggestion was a common one, as were people who said they hope I’d lose my job.
“Those who think like you are about to destroy this country!!!!” offered Robert Scharoun of Edmond, Okla.
Few of the writers – and there were many – addressed the points I raised, which included:
•Children don’t make decisions about where their parents live or migrate to. A toddler who is brought into this country – albeit illegally – had no say in that decision, and it is unconscionable to deny a young adult who has grown up in those circumstances a pathway to citizenship in the only country he or she has known.
•The U.S. is better off if a rational pathway to citizenship, including attending college or serving in the military, is devised for these young people. Otherwise, their skills and talents will remain undeveloped, and our country will not be able to make use of them.
One who did was one of the calmest writers:
“I personally reject the notion that we have some responsibility to provide a pathway to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants,” wrote Steven A. Page.
“By so doing we open the door to legalizing the parents and the negative impact of chain migration. It is the parents who are responsible for the dilemma their children face, and they must shoulder the responsibility – it is not the problem of the American Citizen. The burdens on our educational system and the infrastructure of our country brought on by illegal immigrants are appalling,” Page wrote.
But far more writers reached for the adjective rather than the reason.
Connie Noel: “People like you make it worse. Siding with criminal, illegal alien invaders over people from your own country! Shame on you.”
An anonymous writer pulled no punches: “You are a cold hearted, America hating commie POS imo, ... you and your ‘komrade’, Lugar, should move to Mejico, you sure as hell wouldn’t be missed here!”
Pat Clayton judged me “cruel and insensitive.”
Donna Soldner advised that “the remark about tearing families apart is ridiculous. If families are separated, it’s their own decision.”
Another anonymous writer said, “These kids of the illegal immigrants have to learn the hard way that you do not get rewarded for breaking the law, even though their parents are the ones who brought them in.”
Many writers forecast dire consequences with more immigrants in the U.S.
“I truly hope that when this happens,” Deby Zimmerman of Boone, Colo., wrote, “all of YOU responsible for it will also suffer the consequences. Your greed along with that of the politicians is what is bringing this nation down ...... sleep with THAT knowledge!”
Rollie Montgomery: “You want them here bitch! Then YOU pay for them. Stop using politicians to take money from our kids to support these parasites. Stupid cow.”
To one and all: Thanks for reading my column. I wish you’d read the whole thing rather than rely on someone’s excerpts (though I suspect that wouldn’t change most of your views). But please e-mail anytime. Your messages are quite informative – though I could do without the promises of buying a gun:
C. Paul of Florida promised: “I’ll be acquiring a weapon this year because too many idiots like you continue to promote illegal aliens by granting amnesties.”