Saturday, November 21, 2009

War on Free Speech (part III)

Some parting thoughts on the the Lou Dobbs controversy

Interesting, Lou Dobbs was interviewed by Maria Celeste of the Spanish language channel Univision (to view the interview, scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the univision link). In the face of some harsh criticism, he remained cool and repeatedly called for the need for all sides of the immigration debate to go beyond empty rhetoric, be more forthright and honest and work together to forge a realistic, humane solution to our immigration debacle. During this discussion and during his show he did not strike me as the anti-immigrant bogyman as his critics made him out to be. The few inaccurate and offensive pieces on his show that his critics focus on do not represent his general positions and seem to stem from the liberty that he granted his politically diverse guests, including ideological
opponents and staunch critics like Janet Murguia of La Raza. And interestingly, Lou Dobbs took the high ground and never responded to the claims of him being anti-Latino by stating the fact that his wife is Mexican-American.

What is truly a shame for the millions of individuals who rely on the Spanish speaking media for information is that outside of this interview few if any individuals with contrary positions are granted air time. By neatly dividing individuals into diametrically opposed pro and anti-immigrant camps and not giving the latter side opportunities to air their legitimate and illegitimate positions, Spanish speakers are deprived of a window in the diverse political and cultural positions of American politicians and the American public. Without this understanding, the chances of working together with ideologically diverse individuals and communities to forge immigration reform based on realistic and reasonable compromises is slim to none. The only other alternative is to unilaterally push through an amnesty that totally disregards the feelings and concerns of at least 50% of Americans, which will certainly lead to the racist and xenophobic backlash that "progressives" and ethno-activists claim to fear. And lastly, those who celebrate Lou Dobbs departure should consider this - right or wrong, he represents the vision and voice of many Americans. Without a rational, relative moderate, such as Mr. Dobbs to air their grievances, many will turn to not so moderate voices who certainly will not grant air time to and intelligently debate their ideological opponents. So, in the end the loss of one voice makes the market of ideas poorer and less dynamic. Here are a few quotes that better represent Mr. Dobbs general positions on immigration:

"I think I'm the only one on this panel who's actually worked with migrant workers in the fields, with beans, potatoes, hay in my youth. I know them to be good and decent people.""You've heard me say time and time again that the only rational actor in this is the illegal alien trying to improve his or her life. You've heard me say time and time again that the illegal employer of the illegal alien deserves the greatest sanctions in this mess."

"I have great respect for the people who make up the preponderance of the illegal alien population in our country, that is Mexican migrant workers."

"For the record, I am absolutely supportive of legal immigration. In fact, I favor even higher levels of legal immigration when it suits public policy. Let me repeat -- we are the most welcoming nation in the world for immigrants and I've consistently called for an increase in legal immigration when warranted."

"The broadcast has repeatedly stressed the need to solve this nation's massive illegal alien crisis. It has always, this broadcast, been a strong supporter of legal, fair, humane immigration policies."

"Isn't it funny how cowardly liars and fools leave out all of these statements over the past six years you've just heard as they attack me. If you have any doubt that we are in a struggle for the soul of this nation, a day's reading of those left-wing activists' blogs and statements will show you who's really fanning the flames of hate."

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