Ah, the memories. Pat Buchanan running for president. Back then, there seemed to be a lot more sanity in the U.S. When Pat proposed a border fence, he got laughed off the stage. Today, sadly, much of his twisted approach to immigration is take seriously.
This op-ed appeared in the San Jose Mercury-News. Here Mr. Buchanan argues that "halting immigration would be an instant stimulus package." Okay, forget the fact that "halting immigration" is not really possible, is there merit to the rest of his argument, that American citizens want to scrub toilets and flip burgers?
It's a down economy, so maybe. But the larger point here is what his argument represents--that somehow this service-oriented economy where a worker can slave away full-time with no benefits and at minimum wage--is a goal toward which we should aim. Really? Is that the best you can think of for the future of America?
There are days when I despair the state of our nation. I wonder if we'll ever be able to escape the burden of debt that George W. Bush heaped upon us when he led us into war with Iraq. I despair when I hear Republicans say we can't afford to invest in the education of our children or health care, but we "can't afford" to not sink ourselves further into debt in Afghanistan.
In many ways, I think the immigration debate is not really about immigration, it's about a persistent fear that white America is going to have to deal with the reality of a browning America. This aside, I can't believe that so many Republicans think that working low-skilled, dead-end jobs is really the way to fix our economic problems. The fact that Buchanan states this with no sense of irony says so much about how things have changed since the 1980s, and how much damage has been done to our expectations as a result.