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With two NewsMatch grant reports to submit this week and as an under-the-weather Managing Editor, I readily admit that I got behind on things. Editors who can’t even look at a cup of coffee aren’t moving at the speed of light. Thankfully it has been the fifth week of the month, so I wasn’t missing county meetings, and reporters didn’t have the regular municipal meetings.
That said, being in the business of news, I couldn’t help noticing the tragically comic situation playing out in the United States Congress right now. It is important because the people we have elected are playing a role in this.
It is tragic because it involves the lives of poor, desperate migrants. It is tragic because this country has decades-old immigration laws that have needed updating for years. No congress has been able to crack it, because no bipartisan bill has ever been produced. Until now.
For the past four months, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has been working on a bipartisan bill that even the Republicans in the group say is the toughest immigration law in U.S. history. Biden knows Democrats won’t be happy with the whole thing, but has indicated he’ll help bring them in line so he can sign it. Republicans doing the negotiating say it’s the best bill they’ll ever get — and they’re being threatened for their work — by fellow Republicans.
While this effort has been slogging away, Texas has been playing games sending migrants to cities all over the country, putting up razor wire and thumbing its nose at the federal government (which HAS authority for the entire border of the country).
And here’s the comedic part — not only are Republicans who haven’t even seen the bill rejecting it, they are doing so because ex-President Donald Trump has told them to reject it: to not solve the border problem because he doesn’t want to give Biden a win and he wants to run for election to the presidency on the issue. So the MAGA Republicans have confirmed they don’t care one whit about solving problems and House Speaker Mike Johnson says he won’t even bring it to a vote in the House.
Having not been in a congressional governing position for the last decade until now — it’s clear these Republicans don’t know how to govern. But the idea that a failed presidential candidate, who is not an elected official, who is under four indictments of 91 criminal charges, is yanking the strings of the U.S. House of Representatives is — well — you fill in the blank.
The comedy continues – because while U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been working with the Senate to draft the tough, new, immigration bill, the Republican majority House has decided to impeach him.
And now, just to put the absurd point on all this, there’s word of a right-wing-instigated “Take Our Border Back” convoy heading for our southern border this weekend. The goal appears to be three separate rallies on Saturday in Quemado, Texas; Yuma, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California. The contingent heading for Texas according to the unidentified “1st Responders Media” person who is doing the play-by-play streaming live on Facebook is “a battle of good versus evil”. There appear to be hundreds of people watching online, taking breaks to go grocery shopping or feed cows.
Details on the site someplace 30 miles from the border apparently near Dripping Springs Texas are sketchy because the media from the moving convoy is full of raccoon hat antenna suggestions, ‘howdy Sues’, claims that the FBI has infiltrated the convoy (it is an interstate highway guys), and suggestions for gas stations at which to stop. Among their claims: they are “Americans willing to stand with Texas to close the border,” “the Dems are up to something”, “all judges are crooked,” “this is a battle of good versus evil” and on and on…
One announced that Trump was in D.C. today and “there are 100 pastors at the Capitol praying.”
The convoy has just reached Houston and the play-by-play continues. They just announced that they are going to get the trolls who are listening off the video feed. I guess that’s me.
The truth is — no matter how many times you deny it — unless you are Native American — your family has immigrant roots. We all came from somewhere. To deny that is to deny their struggle to become Americans. This country has been built on the grit, and determination and faith and hard work, and ingenuity of immigrants. It has made us young and strong and vital and vibrant.
The truth is –the people obstructing the immigration bill, the Freedom Caucus attempting the impeachment of a cabinet secretary on no valid grounds, and the people in this convoy are all part of a gigantic con — a comedy of tragic national proportions.
The convoy is spewing at the same time — racism, hate, and Texas’s rights to do whatever they want, as well as lunch menus, prayers, and fried pickle suggestions — and adding patriotic emojis about love for America and being the best and only patriots.
I would disagree with that assessment, while I’d pass on the fried pickle menus.
The question is – whose America is this? One where we all belong, where only some of us are allowed to be free? One where the words of our founding documents echo in our lives, or one where we have tipped to the authoritarianism that will destroy “the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free”?