When I listen to Palin describe how inspired she was to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, only to immediately turn around and attack the Dream Act - I can't help but be reminded by one very iconic and familiar character in recent American media.
The Soup Nazi.
Apparently his type of capricious authoritarianism is exactly how Palin believes that immigrants should be treated. Step outside the unwritten and arcane "rules" even one minute iota and BAM - No American Dream For You!.
Watching Matthews try to make sense of Palin's statements at the Statue of Liberty is both painful and hilarious.
Steele: You're missing the point. You see that's the problem, you're fixating on Sarah Palin. What Sarah Palin is doing something is connecting the people the something, it's about the broader argument
Ellis Island opened in 1892 and was operating until 1952 during which time 12 Million Immigrants were processed. During that time immigration from Europe was completely open and unlimited, in fact the only possible "Illegal" immigrants would have been Chinese who entered the U.S. in defiance of the Chinese Immigration Exclusion Act which was implemented following the completion of the Railroad and the Gold Rush.
In other words, our very first set of immigration laws were clearly and directly Racist in origin. But for everyone else besides the Chinese - there was no Limit.
There only reason there were lines at Ellis Island is because there were So Many People Coming In. On the average of about 5,000 per day.
It wasn't until 30 years later that the Racism of the Chinese Exclusion law was expanded by the Immigration Act of 1924 where quotas based on National Origin went beyond just China to other nations.
For the next three years, until June 30, 1927, the 1924 Act set the annual quota of any nationality at 2% of the number of foreign-born persons of such nationality resident in the United States in 1890. That revised formula reduced total immigration from 357,803 in 1923-24 to 164,667 in 1924-25. The law's impact varied widely by country. Immigration from Great Britain and Ireland fell 19%, while immigration from Italy fell more than 90%.
It was NOT THE CASE that if you simply worked and followed the rules you would have a fair and equal shot at the American Dream, not if you came from the wrong country...
"Woah, there swarthy Italian man, where do you think your're going? Did you SWIM your way across that Ocean? NO DREAM FOR YOU!"
Or to put this in Palin-speak after 1924 we decided that for some people from some countries - there was No More Room at the American Inn.
And of course that attitude makes perfect sense when you take something like this into consideration.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Yeah, it's not like the Statue of Liberty is or was a welcoming beacon of Hope for the Hopeless. How could that be possible?
And as much as what Palin says seem mangled and garbled, the idea that the American Dream is Only for the Special People is exactly what she's really saying when she followed up her Statue of LIberty/Ellis Island Visit with this commentary about the Dream Act.
“The immigrants of the past, they had to literally and figuratively stand in line to become U.S. citizens. I’d like to see that continue,” Palin said. “And unfortunately, the DREAM Act kind of usurps that-the system that is a legal system to make sure that immigrants who want to be here legally, working hard, producing and supplying revenue and resources for their families, that they’re able to do that right and legally. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act doesn’t accomplish that.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/...
You have to realize that just everything out of Palin's mouth is intended to be a indictment of Obama - so when she says something that seem ridiculous and stupid - it's deliberate.
Even though Obama has been the most aggressive implementor of Immigration Laws in well over 20 years, and in fact, the actual number of illegal immigrants have began to decrease for the first time in a generation - Palin can't help herself but to attack him on this point because He Supports the Dream Act.
Clearly the Deam Act is the exact opposite of what Palin Describes, but in a way that's not the point - it's not about the facts, it about evoking that Us vs Them knee jerk "USA USA! Fuck Yeah - you TELL HIM Sarah" reaction.
As I've been saying lately as I talk about the mental phenomenon of Confirmation Bias, people tend to believe that which feels more "correct and right" to them based on their existing opinions rather than accept or serious review that which challenges thier beliefs.
This is why to Palin Paul Revere was Warning the British Not to take our guns away, because y'know - Obama so HATES guns, being the Anti-American Socialistic Commie Bastard that he is.
She's makes this "mistake" because it confirms what she already believes, and more importantly it works give her even more "cred" with her flock because that's what they want to believe too. And even when the media or the Left attack her for it, they rally to her side, because they're being "Oh so unfair to poor Sarah".
For her, it's a a Win, Win, Win to spout this nonsense.
This is why Palin says the Statue of Liberty was a gift from other nations to remind them of how much better we are than them - when in actuality it was truly intended as common monument to both the American and French Revolutions, particular since France was so instrumental in our battle against the British toward a more egalitarian society without the rule of cruel and uncaring aristocrats and monarchs and we were so inspirational to their revolution to do the same.
When people like Palin make what seems like an obvious gaff like her complete mangling of Paul Revere, it's not really an accident - she's attempting to Redefine Reality, the Constitution and Reality according to her preordained beliefs.
Like Steele says, this isn't about Sarah, it's not even about what she believes - it's about how she can exploit and amplify the xenophobic paranoid beliefs of her most ardent fans.
She and only she Connects with the most Wild-Eyed Wingnut because she makes their bullshit sound perfectly reasonable - at least to them.
To Palin the immigrants of the past were the "Good" kind of immigrants who stood in line and patiently waited their turn to have access to the promise of America - even if some of them were clearly being excluded by quotas based on race and nationality, it doesn't matter because that fact doesn't Confirm Her Bias.
In the 1960 those nationality quotas were finally removed, but there are still quotas in place particular for those who wish to come to America not just to sight see or visit but to Work and Build a New Life for themselves and their children.
If you want to legally immigrate to America and work you need to be Sponsored by a company that is looking for employee with your skills after they have already attempted and Failed to find a qualified American Citizen/Visa Holder for that job(s). (Note: Also if you want to come to America and Start you're OWN business, you're kinda shit outta luck pal) There are three primary types of U.S. Work Visas.
The H1B Visa for highly skilled workers with a college degree or expertise in a critical field such as Medicine or Technology - which is limited to 65,000 persons per year.
The H2A Visa for Temporary Agricultural Workers which has no limit.
And the H2B Visa which is available for companies to recruit temporary non-technical laborers such as plumbers, landscapers, construction workers and other blue collar jobs which happen to be the primary professions where we find so many undocumented workers - this too is limited by a quota (or Cap) to 66,000 per year by Congress.
The question I have for people like Palin and other Free Marketeers is this: Why should the rate of Legal Immigrants who do wish to work and wait in line for their chance at the American Dream be arbitrarily limited by Congress? Shouldn't we let the MARKET DECIDE and allow companies and "Job Creators" who feel they can't find willing and qualified U.S. employees to fill these slots? Why can't they request as many Legal Worker H1B and H2B Visas as as they need, in the same way that the H1B Agricultural Worker Visa is Unlimited? (This assumes of course that they can only hire these workers by providing them with Standard Competitive Wages and Benefits in the process, rather than paying them under-the-table cut wages with no benefits)
But of course that's not going to happen - because far too many U.S. Business have a Vested financial interest in maintaining very low and restrictive immigration quotas so that these business can use that as an excuse to maintain an unlimited flow of underpaid, unprotected, underground workers that give's them an anti-competitive advantage over other companies who follow the rules and pay people reasonable wages and benefits.
Here's the real dirty secret, if U.S. Companies and pompous bloviating skinflints like Lou Dobbs weren't saving a buck hiring the undocumented there wouldn't be so many people undocumented in the U.S. The vast majority would be here legally if they had a valid legal choice without being locked out by an arbitrary quota.
It's all about minimizing the bottom line and maximizing profits. They don't WANT immigration laws corrected to fit the actual supply and demand of workers because they like having a Volunteer Slave Trade of these tired, huddled masses of wretched homeless refuse constantly swimming through our deserts and washing up on their loading docks yearning to make 15 or 20 cents on the dollar in exchange for just barely a wiff of Freedom.
All this patriotic xenophobic posturing is just about making a few extra bucks on the backs of the desperate and destitute who often have little choice but try to escape the poverty, or war, or oppression of their circumstances and come to America to try to find dream of "Freedom" if only for their children, if not themselves.
Yet Palin would take that Dream away even from their kids.
Yet again, since their parents dared to got out of the barely existent line. NO AMERICA DREAM SOUP FOR YOU!
How you like them Traditional American Values, eh?