President Bush gave a prophetic statement to Brit Hume in a Fox interview last night regarding immigrants and their value to the GOP:
Well, this perception problem is very very hard to crack. I mean if we can't be "Anti-Islamic Terrorist" because we might be "perceived" as "Anti Islamic/Muslim"? We'll be dead. When Bush, our leader, injects the improper feelings of the "Anti-Illegal" movement to mean "Anti-immigrant", that doesn't help conveying the proper feelings of "Anti-Illegal" Republicans. We may have to find ways to combat these "perceptions" so we can defend ourselves from terrorists, and be for upholding the laws of our land. We may have to try to find ways to muzzle the bigot extremists among us, so we Republicans can be known for our honest feelings for our Safety and the Rule of Law. Difficult, I'm sure. Talking about this subject at the Taco Fiesta could prove to be very helpful. Thanks to Debbie & Tito for hosting it on Jan 31st.
If I'm reading their words correctly I think what O.P. and Debbie are saying fits together very well. While there is a serious conversation that must take place about the party's position on immigration reform (and how to make that high wall and wide gate a reality) but those of us who care can do- starting today- is to fight the perception problem starting today. There is a stone around our neck which O.P. describes very well. That stone does not give us the freedom to talk about the policy issues everyone else is citing. As activists, we can work to take that weight off our shoulders and the shoulders of the elected leaders.
I think Debbie's change in attitude isn't about changing our feelings towards policies on immigration, so much as changing our committment to reaching out to any and all communities of New Americans (and minorities who have not been a major part of the Republican Party for a while now) from "some committment" to "total committment." I really look forward to hearing more about Debbie & Tito's strategy on the 31st. I'll be bringing my father, an immigrant from Pakistan and naturalized U.S. citizen to the meeting as well.
If it were'nt such a large problem then no one would hear a hispanic accent and assume that they were talking to an illegal. -Mark