Yesterday, Jim Acosta of CNN . . . outraged at the new immigration proposal Trump announced yesterday, . . . took on the White House’s Stephen Miller and got his head handed to him, largely because Acosta was long on liberal moral arrogance and very short on the facts.
Acosta essentially made two points: One was that the proposed legislation that Miller was defending did not square with the poem by Emma Lazarus (“give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”). Miller pointed out that, great as the poem is, it is not part of the Constitution.
But back to the first point, Jen Kuznicki makes an important point: While the Statue of Liberty itself
was conceived and designed by a French artist whose point was to celebrate the United States, through the north's victory in the Civil War, having finally lived up to its founding vision, that human freedom is a nonnegotiable given. The base, built by Americans, is where the immigration slant came in, as well as a very goofy notion about property rights, which is at odds with the sentiment behind the statue:
Acosta, of course, is just the latest embodiment of the feelings-first approach to immigration policy. The big challenge this type always puts forth is, "Are we not a nation of immigrants?" Of course, and that precedes the arrival of any Europeans. Those here for the centuries prior to that did a lot of roaming (and conquering and enslaving, it's worth noting) and in fact originally came from elsewhere.
But a distinctly American character had taken shape by the 1770s, and it has informed the nation's development until quite recently. It manifests itself on several levels: a system of government, perception of the place of law in society, the primacy of private property, Emma Lazarus notwithstanding, strong nongovernmental civic bonds, a Judea-Christian understanding of how this realm was created, and a sense that when a person's ingenuity is wedded to opportunity, an unprecedented pace of material advancement occurs. Oh, yes, also the English language.
Clearly, no one who is not so silly as to be dismissal-worthy believes there is anything racist about stemming the tide of illegal entry into the United States. The question is not someone's ethnicity or race. It's a rule-of-law issue.
But legal immigration also needs to be addressed from time to time, as it is with this new proposal, and as it was with the pause in immigration from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Immigration may or may not be a front-burner issue. Speaking of silly, Ann Coulter made herself look like an utter fool with her statement that she'd be fine with Trump performing abortions in the White House if he stopped immigration.
Still, there's no denying that it's a key element in the effort to shore up a distinctly American nation identity.
Education is an other key element in that, and it would be advisable for sloppy and sentimental television journalists to avail themselves of some, not only so they don't get disemboweled before a roomful of video cameras, but so they can be of some use in the ongoing American project.