A few weeks back, Huntsville talk show host, Dale Jackson, tweeted @DaleJackson:
Do Democrats and idiots like @leftinbama really believe that the GOP “stepped in it” on illegal immigration? It is a #alpolitics winner.
He is right, I think; the Anti-Immigrant Bill is a winner in Alabama politics for Republicans. I really do not see much immediate political gain by opposing the anti-immigration bill. Sometimes though, you must throw out political strategems and advocate for the right. As President John Quincy Adams stated: Always stand on principle . . . even if you stand alone.” Or as Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed in his day:
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.
The Republicans will likely not see any electoral blow-back from their passage of Beason-Hammon. At this point in time, the majority of Alabamians probably support a “deport-’em all” policy. The last polling I saw revealed a visceral hostility towards immigration. I expect that similar polling drove Tim James to run his Gubernatorial ads last year in the gubernatorial primary and then Governor Bentley to follow suit during the run-off campaign.
Those Evangelical “conservatives” which have recently come out against the bill will not punish electorally the Republicans for this. It is so easy to justify the bill: “Well, something had to be done.” The unjustness of this bill will not overcome the decades-long repetition of propaganda about the moral evil of the Democrat Party. For evangelicals, this issue no way trumps abortion and homosexual marriage in priority.
And for the blue collar and rural whites, the “Mexicans are stealing our jobs” mantra is too potent to overcome unfortunately. The James ads were aimed at this audience and we saw how dramatically effective they proved to be.
This is the present reality of the situation in Alabama. Unlike in Arizona where the sponsor of that bill faces a recall election, Hammon, Beason, Hubbard, and Dial will face no electoral consequences to the terribly ineffective, poorly drafted, overly broad and fiscally indefensible piece of legislation. I expect vast portions of the legislation will struck down as unconstitutional with only certain parts standing like the E-verify mandates. (The Republicans will trumpet this as well as a badge of courage like George Wallace did. Republican strategists will, in fact, use our opposition to the law against us if not expressly then in illicit whisper campaigns.
On top of that, the law will accomplish its purpose. By attacking every area of the undocumented immigrant, they and their documented and/or citizen family members will be driven away as we have already seen in Georgia. As a consequence, Alabama will be weakened as a society culturally, morally, and spiritually. As Martin Luther King, Jr. taught:
There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. . . . He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. . . . . But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: “Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody.” It,s not enough for us to hate your friends because to “to love your friends” because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
How irrational is this law, yet we don’t see? How blind are we to its consequences
Politically, we need to continually show the fiscal irresponsibility of bill becomes overwhelmingly apparent in all its forms (swelling rolls of immigrant children in foster care, overcrowded local jails with undocumented immigrant, overwhelmed staff at Homeland Security processing e-verify requests for the 91,000 small businesses, loss of tax revenue from immigrant leaving.
We need to identify the cause when local fruit and vegetable prices rise significantly because of unharvested fields, or enough farms go out of business.
We must identify the culprits when enough citizens are disqualified to work due to e-verify errors.
I am afraid that that large segments of Alabamians will not care about its unjustness of the law but they will care of their pocket books.
No matter how impolitic, we must continue to fight against this law; it is a major civil rights issue of our generation. “As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. Jesus discovered that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.