Sunday, September 17, 2006

Go to the island

Earlier in this blog I have written about a fantasy island that I have often thought about where celebrities - both political and entertainment would be consigned to an island in which the following conditions would be established. #1 - once consigned they could not leave, #2 - there would be no electronic contact to the outside world and #3 (and perhaps most important) the only channel on their media centers would be E! or something equally inane. (with this in place E! TV probably would fail - but then it is likely that much of the other tragedy TV channels would also go the way of Air America - that is failing for another reason. I am certain that some kind of media chatter channel would survive in the rich marketplace of the media.)

Yesterday, Patrick Buchanan, former presidential candidate without a chance, current iteration of Fr. Coughlin and general scold that the media networks trot out as a "conservative" critic - called for the Congress to impeach the president for his failure to stem the tide of immigration. Buchanan is a bigot. No doubt about it. He is an embarrassment to reasoned debate. This story did not get much coverage in part because many in the media recognize how silly he is.

Coughlin was called all sorts of things when he had his radio ministry. He was certainly a firebrand but also an anti-semite, perhaps a nazi. But he had the same kind of hard edged language that Buchanan uses. Their contributions to reasoned public debates in their times (Coughlin through the 1930s and Buchanan now) was not a positive one. In the end Coughlin was sanctioned by his bishop and lived out his clerical life in a parish. One commentator suggests that Coughlin mixed "a strange blend of venom and compassion" Buchanan with his brand of fiery xenophobia has none of the compassion. In his mind, the country is beset by the twin perils of globalism that wreak havoc on the economy by moving jobs abroad and immigrants here. His perceptions ignore the very real benefits to Americans of our global economy and gloss over any recognition of issues we should deal with in the influx of immigrats. We had similar xenophobes during the earlier heavy waves of immigration in the country but they did not have easy access to the media in the way that Buchanan does.

The immigration problem is one which every politician should deal with thoughtfully. In my opinion, the Bush proposals for a new temporary worker program, some additional border controls and other mechanisms are pretty close to how a nation that has been built on immigrants should respond to the issues. But Buchanan would slobber with a more radical and horrible agenda that denies our very heritage. The same could be said of our issues relating to our increasing integration into the world economy. But again Buchanan's comments are far from thought.

When the island gets created, Buchanan should be on the first flight.

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