Sunday, July 17, 2005

Politician's Folly

Why in the world would anyone want to be a politician? Don’t bother with the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” answer; I’m sure they all want to do good things for the world, society, etc. But if you want to help your fellow man, aren’t there better ways than going into politics? The rules of the political game are as inane and arbitrary as having to dribble a basketball and not being able to use your hands in soccer.

Example: Illegal immigration is crushing our country. Mainly coming from Mexico, illegal immigrants are the recipients of the largesse of American taxpayers. In California’s Los Angeles County, the medical system has been basically bankrupted. The Department of Health runs a $1.2 billion deficit. According to a DoH official, “Caring for illegals is siphoning money from other services and forcing clinics, trauma centers and emergency rooms to close.” About two million illegal aliens in LA County alone go to emergency rooms because they can’t afford to see a doctor. Sixty percent of the county’s uninsured patients are not U.S. citizens, and half of them are illegal immigrants. Last year the county paid $340 million to treat these people; that’s about $1000 for every taxpayer. Legal residents are denied treatment because of lack of resources, while money is taken out of their pockets to pay for the treatment of those who use up the resources

Given this information, what would you do? How about 1) Deport these criminal trespassers back to their country of origin; or 2) Demand proof of legal residency before treatment of anything other than life-threatening injuries; or 3) Demand repayment for their treatment from their country of origin.

These are pretty straightforward, right? Analyze the problem, find a solution. However, politicians have to think about their popularity polls, getting reelected, how their stance will sound in a ten-second soundbite and how they will be portrayed by the press.

The first two solutions above are from the point of view that when a person’s inaugural moment in America is to commit a criminal act, then that person forfeits certain rights. Especially when there are legal alternatives to that criminal act.

The third suggestion, forcing the home country to bear the burden of its own citizens, points out another politician’s folly: taking a knife to a gunfight.

While American politicians – including President Bush, who has mollycoddled Vicente Fox way too much – tiptoe around, trying not to offend Mexico, Mexican politicians are taking an aggressive, hostile stance toward America. Mexico has said it may even use international courts to challenge Arizona laws regarding illegal immigration.
That’s a foreign country trying to tell our lawmakers what they can and can’t do.

Whether it’s building the American equivalent of the Great Wall of China, or using the military to patrol the borders, or using a “guest worker” program, something has to be done. The current situation is not working, at least not for Americans.

When the word “racist” is used (and it will be), or the argument is mischaracterized as opposing any immigration (and it will be), or we’re told that the American economy will collapse without illegal workers (and we will be), that opposition needs to be brushed aside. But don’t count on our politicians to have the guts to do it.