True confession: I've never followed local politics closely enough. I've always been drawn more to the interplay of nations than of neighbors. But now, with illegal immigration out of control and our border a shambles -- the very baseline of the interplay of nations -- it is our neighbors, our local representatives, who are increasingly taking charge of this crucial chunk of national policy. City Hall, the local planning commission and the county clerk's office are where the action is.
And, not coincidentally, where the grown-ups are.
Take Frank Merola, county clerk of Rensselaer County in New York. When New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer recently ordered up driver's licenses for illegal aliens, County Clerk Merola said no. Merola refused to issue licenses to illegal aliens. He has since been joined by 12 other New York county clerks. They've all refused to issue such licenses because doing so compromises the security of the document -- and, therefore, the security of the country. (You'd think a governor could figure this out.) Their other reason is that issuing such licenses breaks several New York state and federal laws. (Again, not rocket science.) These laws include The Real I.D. Act of 2005, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, which requires anyone seeking a driver's license to have a valid (i.e., not phony) Social Security number.
Are these good citizens contemplating acts of civil disobedience? Quite the contrary. By refusing to license illegal aliens, they are in fact upholding the laws of the land -- laws the governor himself is prepared to flout. Far from subverting the state's integrity, the county clerks are actually trying to protect it against the governor's irresponsible efforts to throw it away. In a post-grown-up world, they are trying to restore what you might call an adult sense of order.
Meanwhile, Spitzer -- a governor, who, in the words of CNN's Lou Dobbs, "requires training wheels" -- hasn't a clue. "We are not talking about letting more people into this country," Spitzer told The New York Times. "We are talking about being practical about those who are already here." When "practical" is a euphemism for "lawless," chaos is sure to follow. But not if these clerks can help it. And not if their fellow grown-ups across the country can help it -- the town officials, county supervisors, city mayors and the like, who, in the absence of federal border protection and illegal immigration control, are passing ordinances and resolutions to safeguard their towns and localities against the strains and costs and crowding and dislocations of rampant illegal immigration, childishly tolerated or nefariously abetted by the powers that still be.