President Obama resorted to his customary vilification of opponents today, suggesting evil intent on the part of those who will try to oppose the immigration legislation moving through Congress.
Such people want to create “division” Obama said.
So in the weeks to come, you’ll hear some opponents of immigration reform try to gin up fear and create division and spread the same old rumors and untruths that we’ve heard before.
Now what exactly, I’d like to know, does he mean by “division?” It’s hard to think that even he means that mere opposition creates generic “division.” I mean, that’s the definition of opposition, right? Creating division.
Gosh, could the president possibly mean racial division? Subtext: You’re dividing our society, you evil Republicans, pitting Hispanics against white people. Closet racists.
“Rumor and untruths?” You malicious Republican rumor mongers!
And, please, don’t be such a wimp, Mr. President. Untruths. If you want to say lies, just do it.
“Gin up fear?” No, sir, that’s clearly your job.
Kind of weird too was his suggestion that people have always been cheating their way into the United States:
The notion that somehow those who came through Ellis Island had all their papers right — (laughter) — had checked every box and followed procedures as they were getting on that boat — they were looking for a better life just like these families.
Actually until 1920, there effectively was no illegal immigration. You just arrived on Ellis Island, showed some ID, got someone to vouch for you, and unless your fingers were falling off from leprosy, you were in. Almost everybody who landed on the island continued into New York.
And I like Obama’s notion of legal precedent: That is, previous lawbreaking justifies current criminality. Quite a scholarly position, indeed.