Presidential scholars may look back at New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's desire to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens as one of the defining moments of the 2008 election. For it was the pushing of that issue that not only threw the Clinton campaign off its tightly controlled script, but may have finally awakened the silent majority of American voters to the issue of their time.
Americans, by and large, are a fair and forgiving people. But over the last couple of years, some on the left, and some who favor amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, have exhausted that well of fairness and forgiveness with a steady stream of invective and ugly accusations aimed at those with whom they disagree.
If you are a U.S. citizen who believes in sovereign borders, believes in the rule of law, worries about terrorists coming across our southern and northern flanks, does not want his or her city to become a "sanctuary" city and therefore a magnet for illegal aliens, and does not want U.S. employers exploiting illegal aliens while denying jobs to Americans near or below the poverty line, you are often times categorized as a "racist and a xenophobe."
While the pandering and tortured answers of Spitzer and Clinton clearly raised the profile of illegal immigration, the name-calling has not gone unnoticed by millions of good and decent people who have done nothing more than express the view that the laws of their nation should be observed, respected and enforced.
I have written on this subject in the past, and for my efforts, I've been labeled "anti-Hispanic," "anti-Mexican," and a "bigot." Had those bloggers and emailers known I am married to a Hispanic-American, speak Spanish and have written columns outlining how our nation has been strengthened and improved because of legal Hispanic immigration, I'm quite sure some of them still would have made the same accusations. For those on the fringes of the left and the right, the politics of personal destruction trumps the truth, common sense and decency. Sadly, the subject of illegal immigration has become the place where the haters intersect.
An example of all that is wrong with this critically important issue was played out on the Nov. 8 segment of the Glenn Beck program on CNN. Beck's guests were Webb County, Texas, Sheriff Rick Flores and Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar from the 28th Congressional District of Texas.
During the course of the conversation among the three, Beck said to Cuellar, "Please tell me you're not for sending $1.4 billion (of U.S. taxpayer money) down to Mexico and give them surveillance technology so they can listen in. Are you telling me we really trust these people?"
Be the first to read Douglas MacKinnon's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.
10 Tips to Survive Today's College Campus, or: Everything You Need to Know About College Microaggressions | Larry Elder