Monday, July 23, 2007
Endangered Individuals Ruling the Immigration bill with a wave of Xenophobia and Racism. Like Lou Dobbs, Tom Tamcredo, Pat Buchannan, Minuteman Groups, and those who's called themselves patriots.
Lou Dobbs Fuels American Immigration Paranoia.
The Yale Herald,
"Tonight," announced Lou Dobbs at the top of his show on Mon., Mar. 21, "illegal alien invasion."
Should we, and Lou's half-a-million daily viewers, pull out our machetes and join the Minutemen project, patrolling the Arizona border for cold-blooded illegal aliens?
Dobbs has been using his soapbox on CNN, Lou Dobbs Tonight, to sow sensless paranoia in the viewing public. Whether he's reporting on outsourcing—the "assault on the American middle class"—or the issue of illegal immigration from Latin America—the "illegal alien invasion"—Dobbs seeks to isolate the United States from menacing "them." "Feel violated," he drones into the nation's airwaves every weekday evening. Feel angry, mistreated, and afraid.
He is winning national awards for his work. Among other accolades, Dobbs received the 2004 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration and the Man of the Year Award from The Organization for the Rights of American Workers. True, no one can fail to give Dobbs credit for bringing two important issues into national political discussion. By single-mindedly pursuing two topics and making them permanent segments on his news show, Dobbs has amassed a remarkable collection of coverage on the subjects. But something seems amiss when the "Broken Borders" series begins to blame every single problem plaguing American society—from terrorism to education—on illegal immigrants. As recently as the Tues., Mar. 29 show, Dobbs claimed that the public school systems are "losing their battles" because they have been "inundated with illegal immigration."
In between the dry segments of news and peppered rhetoric, Lou Dobbs peddles a latent racist agenda that is an easy trap in today's global economy. A typical debate on Dobbs' show is as follows: "A few generations ago, you'd be talking about the Irish flooding our schools and breaking down the educational standard," said Dobbs' guest Cesar Perales, president and general counsel for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Dobbs replied: "Too many people, it seems to me, are coming to this as a racial issue rather than as a social or an American issue that's fundamental to understanding of what is in our national interest."
Lou Dobbs is in a serious state of denial. His rhetoric is filled with antagonistic sound-bytes about "alien invasions" and "inundations." How could anyone have the "temerity" to speak out in defense of "porous borders"?
How could banks offer aliens home loans and how could realtors sell them houses as if they had a right to even breathe American air? Why, this is simply "madness."
On an international level, the gap between rich and poor nations has become devastatingly wide. The United States is not the only country seeing a large influx of illegal immigration; Western Europe is also facing a similar dilemma. The economic elite need cheap manual labor but turn their noses at the idea of naturalizing the inferior masses as citizens. Those aliens want to be Americans? Like us? In our neighborhoods, our supermarkets, our very workplaces?
With the arrival of the so-called outsourcing dilemma, foreigners no longer only threaten to infiltrate American markets, but also to terrorize our livelihoods. If Dobbs is correct, they will soon make our skills irrelevant and Americans will go hungry. Like our nose-diving currency, we are under assault from people who don't understand our way of life and who are fundamentally different. What should bother us—not only as Americans, but as human beings—is that Dobbs implies that there are people who have a right to certain work, and there are others who do not. If you are not born American, then you were born a have-not. Aliens don't deserve something that is fundamentally American.
In this day and age, globalization has made that nationalistic claim obsolete. There is no group of people who can claim exclusive rights to any sort of mass-scale, multi-national work. As the world gets smaller, the American dream of self-betterment no longer belongs exclusively to Americans.
As a Taiwanese-American who lived for several years in Taiwan, I have witnessed firsthand the fierce competition between nations within the global economy. Taiwan developed into an Asian tiger economy long before China became the world's rising economic star. But when we entered the new millennium, the manufacturing of cheap goods became an increasingly irrelevant industry in Taiwan. Even the high-tech industry wasn't safe from the ravenous Chinese job market. Paranoia ensued: What are we to do? Are we going to starve? Are we going to be swallowed whole by the mainland?
Taiwan's financial difficulties are far from over, but the attitude in Taiwan is slowly switching from hysteria to pragmatism. Industry leaders have begun to seek niches in high-tech research, development, and creative design. The semiconductor manufacturing companies responsible for Taiwan's quick rise have moved swiftly to diversify their services.
The Chinese may be political enemies to some in Taiwan and economic enemies to some in America, but in the end, they just do some things better and cheaper. So does India—Dobb's other scapegoat for the "assault" on the American middle class. Instead of pointing fingers, America's best and brightest should be looking for new ways to shine. And if the American middle class is not hopelessly complacent and incompetent, as Dobbs seems to believe, it will also reinvent itself. I have faith that American society can reassert its resilience, just like the Taiwanese have.
Competition between people of different races, cultures, and nationalities is a natural result of globalization. It is a challenge, not a menace. I hope America will rise to meet this challenge instead of piling accolades at the feet of those, like Lou Dobbs, who make their living by blaming bad economic times on the mysterious "other."