“Whoever first defines the situation is the victor.” So said the iconoclastic psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. Consider, for example, the difference between dealing with the “Soviet government” or an “evil empire”—between paying “confiscatory taxes” and making “infrastructure investments.”
The accuracy of Szasz’s statement is further illustrated in the debate over…illegal immigration. The prior sentence would have had a different impact if the word “illegal” were omitted—as it typically is when “mainstream” media cover the issue.
The day after this year’s May Day marches, a North County Times headline announced, “Local immigration protests draw few.” Hometown television hairdos employed similar lingo the evening before, speaking of “immigration activists” and “immigration rights.”
Other terms included “humane progressive change,” “meaningful immigration reform,” and “undocumented immigrants.” The final construct is a tad more honest than the insipid phrase “undocumented residents” that a local TV reporter invented a few weeks ago.
As I switched from one station to another, the uniform story line was that though the rallies were shadows of last year’s events (The Vista march, one journalist said, numbered around 50.) the protestors’ points were made just as forcefully. In other words, it was implied that numbers don’t matter—a perspective never voiced when marches are “massive.”
The most honest reportorial moment occurred when a trifecta of protestor demands was announced: no guest workers, stop the raids, legalization for all. There was, naturally, no commentary about the realistic consequences of this no-border policy.
After fluff coverage of the marches, a brief statement by Congressman Brian Bilbray was imposed on the screen and read: “While we may be a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws, and it is absolutely absurd for anyone who has broken our laws to demand rights such as citizenship.”
KUSI then proceeded to a segment about the rise of hate crimes and of “anti-immigrant” hate groups—drawing special attention to a Klan member who hoped for a bomb to “blow up a busload of Latinos.”
So there you have it. On the one hand we have persons who only want “a decent living wage and a decent life,” and on the other hand you have those who want to murder Latinos—a group juxtaposed with the North County Congressman who dares ignore the protest sign: “Ninguna persona es illegal.”
Missing was any honest analysis of how twelve million “illegal aliens” affect local schools and hospitals. Missing was any discussion about welfare benefits, gangs, and the impact of “open-borders” on persons at the lower end of the economic ladder. Missing was commentary, like Diana West’s, that highlights the four-decade transformation of Anglo Los Angeles into the second largest Mexican city in the world—behind Mexico City.
I’m perfectly willing to agree that most “illegals” come to this country to work and to work hard. What I won’t do is ignore the difference between regulated legal immigration and unregulated illegal immigration. Just as I won’t pretend, for PC’s sake, that a locked back door equals the Berlin Wall.