Bill Murchison

And then, there are immigrants like the parents of Colin Powell, not to mention the parents of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who happens to command our troops in Iraq just now, under the overall command of Gen. John Abizaid, an Arab American. It is a curious fact that so many on the front lines defending America -- sometimes dying for her -- have names other than Jones and Smith.

We live every day with realities like these. It is no use trying to blink them away. A better program is to start figuring out what can be done. That is where the real merriment commences. Political programs begin with politicians; this means any incoming program will draw anti-aircraft fire on the basis of its -- inevitably -- political content.

So with the Bush program, most of all in a presidential year. "Why, the so-and-so, prostituting himself for the sake of ... " -- I can hear it now. So can you. We shouldn't let that deter us. We need to work on the immigration reality sooner or later. "Sooner" lets us lay down important markers right now, such as the unassailable need for total assimilation of newcomers into a democratic, English-speaking culture, such as recognition of job-market holes that the foreign born alone can plug.

We don't really know how this conversation, once begun, is going to end up. But, conservatives or liberals, we should be glad the president has invited us to it. The only realities that ruin a man, a woman or a nation are the kind that go forever ignored.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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