Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weekly Podium: "Digging For Some Answers"

It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these columns. I frequently comment on articles in The New Dominion. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, watching, and thinking, and lately, I feel a few topics have come about that warrant discussion.

The first topic that has weighed on my mind is a news story out of Virginia Beach that has garnered a national stage. For those who haven’t heard the story, I’ll sum it up for you. A man, Alfredo Ramos, was driving drunk and subsequently caused an accident which killed two teenage girls. This is a terrible tragedy that kills thousands each year and affects millions of Americans at the same time.

The underlying issue with this particular incident is that Mr. Ramos is an illegal alien who was been convicted of 4 misdemeanors during his time in the U.S. , one of which was a DUI. He has never served time in jail. His illegal alien status has never been reported to the proper immigration authorities. In fact, after each of these convictions, Mr. Ramos has been allowed to walk freely from the courthouse.

Virginia Beach has a written, on-the-record policy that states that police officers are NOT to ask about the immigration status of suspects and convicted criminals. In fact, the Police Chief in Virginia Beach , Alfred Jaycocks, Jr., further supported this position when he stated “Not only do we not have the capacity to do the federal government’s work in the area of immigration, but we have no business doing so.” Excuse me, Chief Jaycocks, but if I’m not mistaken, illegal immigration is against the law. Is it not the duty of the police to uphold the laws of the land, from the municipal level to the federal level as necessary?

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that the mayor of Virginia Beach, Meyera Obendorf, does not know that this “do not ask” immigration policy exists within her city’s own police department. When Jesse Walters, producer of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, approached Mayor Obendorf and asked her if the police had such a policy, she flatly denied its existence. In other quotes that I have read, she has stated that she “does not know” of any policy. So, either the mayor is lying to the press and the public, or she is ignorant of her own city’s police policies.

The real underlying question remains: should we be so tolerant of criminal acts by illegal aliens?

I believe we shouldn’t be so tolerant. Lest we forget, simply being an illegal alien is a crime in itself. So that already puts them on thin ice, and by committing another criminal act (or multiple ones, in Mr. Ramos’ case), they have pretty much waived their right to claim that they are a productive member of society, and therefore should have their illegal status overlooked.

My mother and grandparents came to this country in the early 1970’s from Brazil. They did it the lawful, proper way. They did this because they believed that you should respect the laws of the land, and they came to this country in a lawful manner. They filled out the right paperwork, talked to the right people, and never had a problem with their status as legal immigrants.

I sympathize with those who are fleeing their country to find a better life in America. I’m a first-generation American on my mother’s side. I know my family’s story, and I know why people immigrate to America in the first place. We live in the greatest country in the world, and that’s not propaganda. That, my friends, is a fact.

It should be noted that nothing stops these illegal immigrants from entering this country lawfully except for two things; impatience and a lack of respect for the law in this country. If these criminal offenders can’t respect the laws they already broke to come into this country, then they should not be allowed the privilege to live here.

Moving on…

During my many conversations with people of all races, religions, genders, creeds, and sexual orientation, the topic of the 2008 Presidential Election comes up, as it is already shaping up to be a very important race and one of the most closely watched in history. While I find that the majority of people do not support Hillary Clinton, there are some that do. While they are entitled to support whomever they choose, I often wonder “why her? What is her appeal to these people?”

When I ask Hillary supporters why they support her, 99 percent of the time the response is something along the lines of “it’s about time we got a woman in there! Men have been screwing up things in America for too long!”

Not shocking, we’ve heard that statement before. However, other than her one term in the Senate, what qualifications does she hold to be President? That question gets much less of a rousing answer from most of those who support her.

Then, I follow that up with “what does Hillary stand for that you like?” Other than a few jabs at Bush and the Iraq War, or maybe some pro-feminine sentiments, I don’t get much else in response, either. By this point, whoever I’m speaking to at this point is visibly angry at my line of questioning.

When I bring up her failed health-care proposal from the early to mid-90s, or her stated intent to raise taxes across the board, I then reach a common response amongst most of the Hillary supporters, especially female ones. That response will fall along the lines of “you’re just sexist, you don’t like the idea of a woman as President because you are a sexist male!”

This could not be further from the truth. I don’t care of our President is male, female, black, white, Hispanic…as long as it is the “best candidate” for the job. Gender/race/religious identity should not be a factor. The fact that I currently favor Rudy Giuliani over the rest of the candidates who have officially joined the race has nothing to do with his being a white male. It has to do with how closely do his political views and my political views match. THAT is what we should be looking at.

Speaking about the former First Lady, after reading a direct quote from a Hillary Clinton fundraising speech from 2004, in which she stated to those who were there in support of her…

“Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

…wait a minute, is Stalin posthumously writing Hillary’s speeches? Since when did we become the Peoples Republic of America?

These tax cuts have helped me, and I fall under the scope of “lower middle class”, so it’s not just a “rich people” tax break. So you mean to tell me that since I (along with millions of Americans) benefited from Bush’s tax cuts, Hillary and the Democrats are going to “take things away from me on behalf of the common good?”

I’ll pause for a moment to allow you to let that “common good” statement soak in.

Who is Hillary Clinton, or anyone in our government, to say that I have to give up things for “the common good” to get American “back on track”. I’m sorry, but realistically speaking, America really isn’t that “off-track.” Even more significant is the fact that widening the influence, size, and power of the federal government is NOT the answer. It hasn’t been the answer since the Great Depression. Last I checked, our economy was growing at an encouraging rate with no signs of financial collapse.

So Hillary wants you, the taxpayer, to pay more in taxes so that she can once again attempt to introduce a heavily-bureaucratic universal health care system that will simply widen and expand the powers of Government over what doctors you can see, what medicines you can get, and how soon you will get those much-needed medicines. Big Government…not working for you.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”