Am I the only one freaked out by this?
Last night on Real Time, Bill Maher and the panel (Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Kennedy and Martin Bashir) were talking about the Obama/Jan Brewer dustup, and the broader topic of illegal immigration. After predictably defending Brewer's behavior, Rohrabacher claimed that "the position of the Democratic party and the president is very clear on illegal immigration. They're for a more liberal system, and allowing more illegal immigrants into our country."
Bashir did an off-camera spit-take ("What?!?!?"), and Maher called it "more inside-the-bubble stuff" (Rohrabacher had earlier claimed that Obama is determined to "slash the military," based on nothing other than the Republican stereotype/caricature that all Democrats want to slash the military), pointing out that "last year we had zero, zero net immigration," which Rohrabacher indignantly pooh-poohed and dismissed. "I'm glad you believe that," he said snarkily. Maher went on to mention Monica Crowley's interview with Brewer where she thanked the Arizona governor for, in Maher's words, "standing up to the President, [and] against this tide, this invasion of illegal immigrants; again, the fact: net zero."
Rohrabacher came back, slightly enraged, "Baloney, baloney, baloney!" And here's where it gets freaky:
"Go to your local schools and find 25% of your kids being illegal aliens, and having, and bringing down the education level of everybody else; having our health care being drained of resources, when we can't even take care of our own; yeah, go ahead and vote for liberals! Go ahead and vote for liberals if you want to give education, health care, and money to people who come here illegally!"
Maybe it's me, but this quote bothered me. A lot.
Forget for a moment that Roharbacher, like all Republicans it seems nowadays, is completely full of it, substituting caricatures and stereotypes about Democrats from the 1970s and '80s for what is actually happening in the real world, and what this President has actually done, said, proposed and advocated. This "Go ahead and vote for liberals if you want [X]" business, where [X] is something no actual liberal and no actual Democrat has ever actually proposed, suggested, advocated, supported or brought about, is standard issue by now.
But the idea that having foreign-born students in a classroom, regardless of where they come from, "bring[s] down the education level of everybody else," is staggeringly offensive. I taught for four years in a large academic high school in the most ethnically-diverse municipality on the planet; I never had fewer than eight cultures and native countries represented in any class. We had kids from all over Latin America, the Near, Middle and Far East, and eastern Europe; we also had second- and third-generation Greek Americans and Italian Americans, as well as a diverse African-American population. I can promise everyone that the presence of foreign-born students did not reduce the quality of education for anyone in my classroom, or any other teacher in that school.
This was appalling; one of the most appalling things I've ever heard on Maher's show.