I was listening to a few minutes of House subcommittee hearings on immigration reform on C-Span. All sounds so civilized. A guy representing a Southern Christian group saying how he and his group support a path to citizenship, that it's not right for children born here to be sent back, or for those children to be separated from their parents.
Wow, I thought. But then, in a very smooth and civilized way, the questioner performed a well-rehearsed bait and switch. He asked about whether these people should be allowed their dream if border security was not increased. And that good Christian of course said no.
It was like waking up from a pleasant dream and realizing your pet had died yesterday, and was still dead.
This is the US House of Representatives, friends, where there is no issue that does not come down to small mindedness and mean spiritedness. Facts don't matter. Testimony can be twisted and warped to whatever purpose the committee intends.
The purpose of this committee hearing was all too clear. Regardless how many testified to the cruelty of deportation there was the kindly authority figure representing our Christian nation by bringing us back to the business of the republican majority.
When the importance of securing our border was reiterated -- several times -- I wondered what that actually meant. Because you've probably heard that for the first time in many years illegal border crossing is negligible. And what would be considered adequate security?
The answer is that there is no amount of money, arms, personnel, or fencing that will be enough. This issue of border security is one more diversion that protects the wealthy and powerful in this country from scrutiny. Just like the ferocious gun control debate, wherein the NRA holds forth with absurd arguments against any type of gun control, the issue is not the law, it is the power. Like the fight to limit women's reproductive choice, the republicans in the House of Representatives do not give a fig about life, but as long as we are forced to keep fighting for our individual rights we are not fighting the pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industry.
While the battle goes on, and people are lined up to plead for sanity, we have no one fighting the real battle against Wall Street banks, big corporate farms, and Walmart's refusal to pay a living wage.
And when a woman testified about a three-year-old who is no longer allowed to see her mother, who is being held and waiting to be deported, I just could not listen anymore.
We have got to get this argument back on track. It is not about the right to bear arms, but the right to travel without fear of someone who is armed. It is not about the immigrants who are here illegally, it is about the employers who are unwilling to run their companies responsibly. It is not about whether a woman should have the right to have an abortion, it is about our right to live free and without tyranny, and with good health care and education, and a living wage.
Let's not let ourselves get caught up in the weeds; let's insist on redirecting these insulting notions back to the big picture, which is the quality of life in this country.