RPVNetwork

Grassroots Network of the Republican Party of Virginia

President Bush gave a prophetic statement to Brit Hume in a Fox interview last night regarding immigrants and their value to the GOP:
"... if we're viewed as anti-somebody — in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant — then another fellow may say, well, if they're against the immigrant, they may be against me. We've got to be a party for a better future, and for hope."

The question I ask of you, my friends is, what is the future of the Republican Party if potential voters perceive us to be anti-immigrant or cold and unwelcoming? You may say that is not an apt description of our party, but remember that perception is everything. We cannot afford to deny this. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and pretend this perception does not exist. This is a public relations matter for our party and it is also a personal matter for each and every one of us who cares about the GOP's sustenance and viability. We cannot argue with statistics that indicate the growing ranks of Hispanic (traditionally conservative) voters, growing year by year that we need to jump into our voting pool and not wade over to the other side. We can all help in this effort. I am inviting you all to realize why this is vital to us as Republicans and I am asking you to join the RPV Hispanic coalition. We will be having a Taco Fiesta coalition meeting January 31st and I welcome you all to come. Our plan for outreach will be discussed and you will get your marching orders for this greatly needed effort. Good food, great company and a crucial agenda....Tito and I hope to see you there (see events page).

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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.
Here is more of Bush's interview so I am actually keeping the statement in context:

HUME: Now, your political family, the Republican Party, what do you think is its likely fortunes going forward? How have you left it? What does it need to do?
G.W. BUSH: …… it's very important for our party not to narrow its focus, not to become so inward-looking that we drive people away from a philosophy that is compassionate and decent.
And I would — my call for our party is to be open-minded about —
HUME: About what?
G.W. BUSH: Well, different people's opinions. We shouldn't have litmus tests as to whether or not you can be a Republican. And we should be open-minded about big issues like immigration reform, because if we're viewed as anti-somebody — in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant — then another fellow may say, well, if they're against the immigrant, they may be against me. We've got to be a party for a better future, and for hope.
HUME: You got — do you see new ideas out there that have not been a part of your own agenda or those of your Republican predecessors that might reignite the party's fortunes?
G.W. BUSH: You know, look, I think that we shouldn't change our philosophy. We may want to change our messaging. We definitely want to change messengers — we need a new group of leaders.
I think the Democrats perpetuate this untrue perception. I think it is people like you who need to say no, it has nothing to do with a person's color or from where they were born. Republicans feel that we should have the freedom to create our own lives based on our dedication, hard work and study. We want to be able to do this thru a competitive market where my competence and capacity mark success rather than government subsidy.

I came here to be free and that too is what all Republicans want from those that came on the Mayflower, ellis island or thru an airport or border crossing. We are Americans and we came here for a reason..
OP- To try to "muzzle" anyone gets us into a 1st Amendment issue. I couldn't agree with you more that it is a matter of national security to be aware of those that don't have our best interests at heart. I was watching a TV News show a few days ago where someone from a watch group that stays aware of any protests going on in this country showed clips from 5 anti-war/anti/Israel protests in various parts of the country. The spokesperson brought up the fact that "it is their right to peacefully protest, and say whatever they wanted." There were "death to Israel signs" in the crowd and worse. I also noted many dressed in Muslim/Middle Eastern dress. I believe that far too many have the "perception" that it is only illegal Hispanics coming across our borders, but I am not so sure that that is the case. With the lax adherence to our immigration laws, particularly the "illegal immigrants", has anyone ever checked the citizenship of the growing Muslim population. I am not saying that all Muslims are Islomofacists, but I have never heard of any reporting concerning that portion of our society. It seems many have probelms with the illegal Hispanics, but don't even question some who are not here just to get jobs and live free. I would hate to see happen here what has hapened in Britian with their large and growing Muslim population, that has caused alot of problems in that country not only with Footbath requirements and prayer Time requirements.

O. P. Ditch said:
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.
This is going to sound very simplistic to all of you because it is. Pardon me for being "pollyanna,"but as Republicans and as members of our community we need to teach, mentor, encourage, befriend, honor, respect, invite....others to join us in our love and committment to our party and our country. We should not make assumptions about status (documented, undocumented, legal, illegal) when we hear an accent or see a person dressed in foreign garb. For those of you who say we don't make assumptions, know that some of our fellow Republicans do. I have seen it and I have felt the brunt of it, the profiling and the stereotyping.Tito has talked and written extensively about this sort of discrimination. Yes, immigration reform needs to be addressed, but at this moment I am specifically addressing the need now to reach out in general to all minorities...that is the aim of the Hispanic Coalition.....Be receptive and welcoming...Reach out...That's my appeal to all of you. Join us on the 31st because we have so much to talk about.
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.
Ali- I appologize to you and everyone if I offended Muslims. I should have made myself more clear in speaking out against Anti Islamic/Terrorists, as that is who I was referring to. The point I was trying to make was, why do so many immediately associate Hispanics when the word "illegal" comes up. That I believe is a fact.

We have the Hispanic Coalition and the African American Coalition here on this website. Each seem to have the goal of attracting either Hispanics or African Americans to their groups. I understand the fact that those of a like mind, like culture, like language and etc. are attracted to one another, and that the purpose is to draw those into a Republican/Conservative conversation. It is a great start, and very necessary. It is my greatest hope that eventually all of the seperate groups can come together in one Coalition that is inclusive of all races, religions, and nationalities. Isn't that the ultimate goal? Ali- If you are a Muslim, have you worked with other Muslims to get the message out? As I said in my last post, I do not believe that everyone who is a Muslim is a Terriorist, but the peaceful Muslims need to find a stronger voice in denouncing the activities of those that hate Americans. Who will be that voice?

Ali Ahmad said:
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.
Sandy:

Worry not- wasn't offended and you bring up a very good point about the all too frequent conflagration of the term "illegal alien" and "Hispanic." In Northern Virginia you likely have a significant population of people who have overstayed visas.

Sandy- I'm not a muslim but most of my father's family is muslim.

I don't really have the time right now to respond comprehensively to your points but I don't want you or anyone else to think that I was offended by anything you said. I just thought that Debbie & O.P.'s points tied very nicely together and I wanted to reinforce the point that any conversation which tries to fix "the whole problem" is usually doomed to stay just a conversation.

Like I said- I think Debbie and Tito have some concrete ideas and I really look forward to hearing them laid out on the 31st.
Mega Dittos- As they say
I agree that we have to overcome this anti-iimigration perception if we wish to be a viable party. I remember last year, we had a group that were regular attendees at our breakfast meeting and they spoke about the immigration issue as they were hispanic and were very passionate about this problem.
Of course, most of those in the audience were not receptiive to their concerns and some even offered snide remarks to them. Well surprisingly, they never returned.
No matter what side you take on immigration, we have to listen without shouting out the other side. However, I do not see this happening.
I believe that what Deborah is doing here and what Coby is doing with the African American Coalition is very important. I would however like to hear Deborah's views on illegal immigration. 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. I grew up in an area with a large Puerto Rican population so I never really put the hispanic accent or Spanish speaking people in the immigrant category. I don't dismiss people that do however as rhetoric has created an atmosphere of distrust and resentment from both sides.

As others have posted on here I believe that the conservative stance is one of compassion and law. Liberals seek to gain immigrant voters because they percieve that they will be poor, join the welfare roles and thus vote liberal. Republican blue bloods want them as a cheap source of labor. Conservatives want legal immigration that would preserve the dignity of the human being who is coming here to make a better life and experience freedom.

The problem is that conservatives have not been running the Republican party for some time now. Thus we have a problem with both our policy which has been all over the map, and with public relations as with so many issues.

I also made the mistake of assuming that a middle eastern man was a muslim a few years ago. His name was Amer and I consider him a good friend. When we first met all I knew was that he had come from Syria. It never occured to me that he could be a Christian but he was actually from a race of people that still speak the ancient language of Christ. They were used as consultants durning the making of "The Passion of the Christ". I spent a lot of time with him last year and gained a whole new perspective on the middle east and it's politics. He came here because he could't keep his mouth shut in Syria and that's not a good place to speak your mind. His perspective on our freedom and how we take it for granted is the reason why immigration is so important. It did me so much good to have someone who's experienced tyranny remind me of what it means to be free. We can learn similar things from Tito I'm sure.

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
I don't understand that assumption, but I think you are trying to explain where stereotypes come from. My views on immigration are somewhat complex and something I prefer to discuss in a different forum. My family immigrated three generations ago from Lithuania and we are American Jews. The photo you see above (titled Israel at 60) might tell you something about how I feel in general regarding immigration. I was raised among many who thank God every day of there lives that they were able to leave Eastern Europe and come to the U.S. or Israel. I never take freedom for granted and I cherish every day of life. I am married to Tito, and I have great empathy for all immigrants who come to this wonderful country of ours to be hard working and law-abiding citizens.

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