“There You Go Again”

By Stephen Steinlight on July 24, 2008

Is it possible to read any Washington Post editorial on immigration – especially the continual harangues against the now successful campaign by local government in Northern Virginia to rollback the tidal wave of illegal immigration – without recalling Reagan’s historic retort in his debate with Jimmy Carter? Reagan’s bon mot brilliantly encapsulated the widely held sense Carter was hopelessly out of touch, a bungler whose self-righteous aspersions spoke volumes about his sanctimony but little regarding the issues of the day or the lives of ordinary Americans. Carter’s signature style is on full display – again – in the Post’s latest outburst of vituperation in “Prince William, a Year Later.”

Its editorial tantrums on immigration are so repetitive in content, the arrogant rhetoric of vilification so familiar and reliance on arguments ad misericordam so predictable it’s difficult to resist the illusion they’re produced by an offset printer on automatic pilot. This impression’s so strong it’s impossible to silence the “blah, blah, blah” sound they emit when one tries to read them and discover whether there’s anything there.

No worries. Once again the Post’s editors are indulging their disdain for the American people who, in displaying belief in the rule of law, American sovereignty and the dignity of American labor by opposing illegal immigration merely evidence “an ugly strain of nativist intolerance that has deep roots in American history.” The Post ignores survey research by the liberal sociologist Alan Wolfe who doesn’t find xenophobia or bigotry at work. Americans venerate legal immigration. It’s illegal immigration they abhor, willful violation of the rule of law and the demand for entitlement as reward. The Post’s failure to draw a fundamental distinction between illegal and legal immigrants – indeed, its blurring the line between the two – represents the kind of elitist casuistry the great majority of Americans revile.

We won’t condemn Chair Corey A. Stewart of Prince William County’s board of supervisors who wisely spared himself the admonitions of arrogant Occidentalist clergy and those looking to fill empty pews. On the contrary, we commend him and his board. Their example should be emulated. If we must rescue America from the crisis of illegal immigration through attrition – one municipality and county at a time – so be it. While we strive for the broadest vision we can attain, we practice our civic virtue and personal ethics first at home. The Board of Supervisors of Prince William County has set the example.