Wednesday, July 04, 2007
July 04, 2007
A few weeks ago, we applauded people in Turkey, France and Israel for turning out in large numbers to demand better from their respective, democratically elected governments. We said, "Democracy not only requires that people vote, but that they care... 'We the People' have an obligation to demand that our politicians do better, be better and lead better as they steer the ship of state, or hope to."
This week's public outcry against the now-failed immigration bill seems to be the American version of that demand. Contrary to Sen. Harry Reid, who blamed "haters," or Sen. Trent Lott, who blamed "talk radio," public opposition to the bill appears to have had three sound and rational components:
The belief that security on the border must be the first priority - with a concomitant belief that it would not be;
The determination that people who break American law not be offered the front of the line for legal residence and citizenship; and
A strong undercurrent of anger at the arrogance of Congressmen and Senators of both parties who were prepared to vote for a 300-page bill they hadn't read and who were angry with their constituents for being angry with them.
On the issue of immigration itself, we are strong proponents of secure borders first, LEGAL immigration, civics education and the English language. "Real" Americans are a hybrid of colors, cultures, foods and habits, bound together by the rule of law in a system brilliantly designed to make Americans of those willing to ascribe to the philosophy. E Pluribus Unum is not a slogan; it is a process.
And the process includes telling the government where to get off.
On the issue of Congress and the White House riding roughshod over the concerns of the citizenry, just call June 28th "Independents Day." It was thrilling, actually, to see the people rise up, call Congress and demand to be heard. Citizens flooded the Capitol switchboard and their outrage dwarfed the national reaction to abortion policy, socialized medicine, Dubai Ports World or steroids in baseball. Next time big government has a big idea, it would do well to remember that it is not Big Brother who knows better than the Deltas and the Epsilons. It is "of the people, by the people and for the people."
There is satisfaction in knowing that "We the People" still matter.
This then is an appropriate moment to remember those to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for safeguarding the liberty that gives us our Independents. Soldiers first; and then the parents of soldiers for instilling in them the values that lead them to serve. Then the police, firefighters, first responders, airport screeners, border guards, FBI and CIA agents, and those in the government (both parties, all branches) who understand we are at war. It is the combination of all of them working under difficult and often dangerous circumstances - not a lack of trying on the part of the bad guys - that has have kept us from being London or Glasgow this year and allows us to fly flags, eat hotdogs, watch fireworks and proclaim our Independence.