Thursday, April 13, 2006

The muted voice of protest

The flooded the streets of cities across the U.S., large and small, thousands in New York , perhaps a quarter million in Los Angeles.

Demanding a voice in the debate over reforming immigration. Many of them illegal immigrants themselves.

Failing to understand that the very conditions of their presence in the U.S. mute their voice.

One does not gain a voice through protest, because the only ones who listen to protesters are the protesters themselves and those who agree with them.

The way you get heard in this country are through the following:

-- Voting -- and illegal immigrants can't vote because they are not citizens;

-- Taxes -- and illegal immigrants don't pay a representative share of taxes, and can't even take credit for the taxes they do pay because, as I mentioned before, they're here illegally.

-- Economic power -- illegal aliens have some of this, as a labor force and as consumers. But again, they can't participate fully because of their illegal status -- they can't, for example lobby their Congressmen for stricter enforcement of working conditions and the minimum wage. They can't join collective bargaining organizations like unions.

So, they mostly talked to themselves. And what a confused message it was. One banner displayed on the front page of a local newspaper declared "Oust the Bush Regime Now."

Ironic, since it's the Bush "regime" that is advocating the very reforms they are demanding -- a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship for current illegals.

Some were demanding the return of California and other parts of the Southwest to Mexico. Yeah, uh, hey listen, good luck with that.

Despite such idiocy and confusion, I expect Congress will pass immigration reform to address the more serious issues. Hopefully, they'll forgo stupid ideas like building a $2 billion fence along the Mexican border.

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