Why Ingraham Is Right and Perry Is Wrong on Illegal Immigration and the Vote
You probably remember the massive booing during the Republican primary debates when Texas Governor Rick Perry dribbled out his dippy response to the question of illegal immigration. With respect to taxpayer-funded incentives that reward such activity, Perry stated he was actually "proud" to redistribute hundreds of millions of dollars from hardworking legal Texans -- many of them Latinos -- to an endless stream of illegal immigrants and their children for the humanitarian purposes of educating them and keeping them healthy. His reasoning? As Governor Perry said, "It's the right thing to do."
As a born and raised Texan, I sympathized with Governor Perry's position, though I can't empathize with it. The reason for this is simple: such thinking represents a complete reversal of the founding tenets imbedded in our Constitution. In this regard, Governor Perry, and others like him, would do well to read up on our nation's history, specifically our early congressional debates.
In our national archives are congressional records (4 Annals of Congress, 179, 1794) showing that in 1794, a bill was pushed through Congress appropriating $15,000 in humanitarian relief for French refugees in Baltimore and Philadelphia. At the time, well-intentioned politicians argued that it was not only right, but morally proper -- that it was their duty as elected representatives to "take care of" these people. During the debate, James Madison stood in the U.S. House of Representatives and wisely objected to such use of taxpayer funds, saying: "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Remember, this was the same James Madison who served as the primary architect of our Constitution.
From a moral standpoint, one could argue that each refugee should also have received a free horse, two hens, and a new pair of boots just to help him get started. However, from a legal standpoint, it doesn't really matter where you stand morally on the issue; the Constitution is the law of the land, and nowhere in it is there a legal justification for such expenditures, much less the trillions we now spend bankrupting ourselves on considerably more worthless affairs.
The fact is, politicians like Perry, Romney, and even Obama have been around for a very long time, and it's always been the same kind of political fight -- progressives on one side concocting ever more clever ways of expanding authority through vote-grabbing entitlements and conservatives or libertarians on the other fighting to retain smaller and less intrusive governance that empowers citizens through greater individual liberty and protection of unalienable rights. In the end, elections past and present have always been determined by the success of those who best convey, preferably with passion, their message.
Contrary to popular belief, the big difference in the 2012 election was not that a growing Latino voting base presented a problem for Republicans; rather it was that Republicans failed to properly articulate to that base the conservative solutions and way of life that solve many of the issues they're experiencing.
Now that the election is over and the Republican Party has been condemned as a flop, the prevailing wisdom seems to be, even among some high ranking Republicans in Congress, that conservatives are now supposed to simply prostrate themselves and submit to the will of the winning party. But if conservatives are to now cater to whatever political whim floats in the breeze, to disregard this or that immigration law for the convenience of the moment, to dump their principles and abandon time-honored precepts that assert the right of each person to his own property and the fruits of his own labor -- and not that of others -- then why have principles or abide by any laws at all...or, for that matter, the Constitution?
This all precisely underscores Laura Ingraham's unapologetic post-election point, one that she has been making since November 7 -- albeit mostly in an isolated effort on the part of the vast majority of conservative radio talk show hosts. To add to her argument, one might follow with another logical question. If we are to become -- as President John Adams so ardently warned against -- a nation of men rather than a nation of laws, why even bother with elections? Obviously, once you concede your will to that which is antithetical to all you believe in, you now stand for everything -- which means, in fact, that you believe in nothing. And standing for everything and believing in nothing make for no way to win elections, much less maintain a great nation.
We conservatives, along with our constitutional cousins the libertarians, lost the 2012 election because too many of us apathetically withered away in the midst of the political storm, rather than fought back as if our way of life depended on it, which it did! Now we and our disgruntled friends in the Republican Party are as good as dead on arrival at the next election. Right?
Wrong! We win next time by telling our progressive friends -- regardless of party -- to take a hike, then honestly and articulately go after the characteristically conservative, hardworking, pro-life, and pro-religious Latino voters, as well as those ten million-plus "on-the-fence" voters who never showed up at the polls on November 6.
It's time we wake up to reality. We've been drinking the other guys' Kool-Aid for too long; we need to join forces and get back in the fight! But how, one might ask, do we win our fight if our message stays the same? The answer, I believe, lies not in a change of our message, but rather in how artfully and robustly our message is articulated.
The essence of our nation's immigrant character is imbedded in same quintessential American philosophy that has built our country for over two hundred years. Let us not forget that the immigrant's dream is our dream, the same as it was in the days of our founding. But let us also not forget that if, for political convenience, we were to just give the dream away via amnesty -- free of the sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears that have become so honorably entwined in our nation's historic struggle for freedom and prosperity -- then America will be special no longer, and all that it now represents and all that it was meant to be will quickly fade into the dustbin of history. Who then will be there for the immigrant, legal or illegal? The dream that once was will be no longer, because America will no longer be.
Jack Eldon Jackson is a former U.S. Marine who writes on issues of government overreach. He's currently completing his first book about America's constitutional crisis.