Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's Not About Immigration. It's About Guns.

When it comes to the 21st century Republican Party, there is no ceiling for their ambition, and no bottom to their hypocrisy.  And, sadly and as a consequence, no end to their willingness to choose promoting issues over solutions--especially when it comes to immigration.

The latest and, by far, the most nauseatingly grotesque example of this involves the recent tragic death of Kathryn Steinle, gunned to death in San Francisco by a man who had been repeatedly deported multiple times.  Steinle's death at the young age of 32, in the presence of her father, would be a terribly sad story regardless of who killed her, or how she was killed.  But, where decent-minded people would only see the sadness, Republicans see "opportunity"--opportunity, that is, to manipulate the immigration issue to tar and feather the reputations of innocent millions, and destroy the finances of Democrat-laden cities by punishing those that have given sanctuary status to many of those millions.

Never mind that the goal of granting this status is as much about ensuring the cooperation of the undocumented with law enforcement as it is with permitting them to remain in the U.S.--for now. And never mind that so-called "sanctuary cities" would not even be an issue if House Republicans hadn't run like frightened rats from the bipartisan immigration reform passed by the Senate two years ago--a bill that included enforcement provisions that arguably could have prevented Steinle's death. They ran, in fact, because they didn't want to lose the issue.  And their current, shameless, two-faced exploitation of Steinle's death shows that, having preserved the issue, they won't hesitate to sell what's left of their souls to exploit it in their slow-motion losing battle with Barack Obama and America's changing demographics.

That said, Steinle's death does raise a major political issue.  One that is at the center of our culture and our national debate.  One that has led to an epic spread of death, and fear, from coast to coast. And one that should be investigated and legislated with uncompromising vigor and a relentless pursuit of justice.  And, framed in the context of the loss of Kathryn Steinle's life, it can take the form of the following question:

How the hell was someone subject to multiple deportations able to get a gun?

Why, the same way pretty much anyone gets a gun nowadays.  Because they can.  Because our society, especially the non-immigrant cohort within it, has bought into an interpretation of the Second Amendment that serves the interests of no one except gun manufacturers.  Because the entire history of the Second Amendment is rooted in the desire of the white population to keep the non-white population "in place."  And because the election of an African-American President enflamed that desire to historic proportions--even if the net result is a society in which none of us, I repeat, NONE OF US, can consider ourselves safe.

Doubt me?  Fine.  Then doubt this, if you can.  Are those numbers the hallmark of a safe society? And are those numbers the consequence of the human rights crisis our blind eye to our own failures to enforce our own laws has created?  Not even the Republicans can pretend this is true; that's why they have to name their current legislative push after Steinle.  And yet, even they know that she wasn't killed as a consequence of immigration.  She was killed by the flood of guns that is currently destroying organized society from within.  And, as long as they remain in power, their current manipulation of the immigration issue threatens to cause more tragic deaths like Steinle's.

I have only one thing to say about House Republicans, and I say it in the words of a former NRA president, from one of his best-know movies:

Damn them.  Damn them all to hell!

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