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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Whoo hoo! ... Must be an election year"

Tim Cahill, gasping for air in his faltering gubernatorial bid, saw Deval Patrick reach out to a group of Massachusetts residents with different religious and ethic backgrounds and cried "pandering." But it's the Massachusetts Senate that wins the Pander Prize this week.

The so-called upper chamber overwhelmingly passed a crackdown on illegal immigrants and those who hire them as an amendment to the fiscal 2011 budget. The provision, which needs to survive a conference committee with the House, would toughen or expand rules that bar illegal immigrants from public health care, housing and higher education benefits.

It would also offer tools like anonymous hot lines to report "suspicious" people or companies. This in a state founded by people fleeing what they thought was religious oppression in England.

The motive was so blatant that Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, could barely contain her glee -- and cynicism -- at a measure that exceeded her expectations:

“Whoo hoo! They voted for it. Must be an election year. I’m surprised it passed in the Senate. I really am.’’

It sure is. And coming the same day that Fox News Tim blasted Deval Patrick for meeting with local Muslims, it presents a sorry picture.

Cahill sought to inject toughness on terrorism into the mix of issues the next governor will face with his blast at Patrick, suggesting it was "political correctness run amok" to meet with 1,000 Muslim leaders. What a governor has to do with fighting terrorism is beyond me.

But in today's climate the politically correct approach -- at least from candidates with little to offer -- is to play to fears that people from other lands are here in this country to steal our jobs and kill us. Of course without offering proof on either score.

Tough times have always brought xenophobia and virtually every ethics or religious group has felt the sting of discrimination. Remember "No Irish Need Apply" Mr. Cahill?

Massachusetts already has in place a system to ensure that benefits go only to those people who are qualified for them. Should the Senate provisions actually become law, it is likely they will actually cost taxpayers more money by forcing the state to hire bureaucrats to police the new regulations.

Of course, then the anti-immigrant crowd can add the creation of hack jobs to their litany of complaints.

I've heard racist bile and incredible blather come out of the mouths of Tea Party members since the movement sprang up. But no on has come as close to Varley in speaking unadulterated truth about the correlation between election years and the lack of political spine.

Should this provision emerge from conference, and count Speaker Robert DeLeo as skeptical, I would hope that Deval Patrick will do the politically (and morally) correct thing and veto it, pandering to the ideals of a nation built upon immigrants and equality and standing up for an end to scapegoating by scared politicians.

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Blogger Judy Meredith said...

Thanks for doing this. I am so angry and disappointed that the Senate has done this I have been unable to write a coherent, productive blog myself. The saddest moment for me was this line from Senator Fred Berry

Sen. Berry said, "A lot of people worked long and hard on this.(amendment) There’s a lot of people being let down here. I see no reason to rejoice. I understand the practicality. A lot of people will be hurt, but I’m going to vote for it."

May 28, 2010 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not racism, get rid of the illegal Irish and Polish too. If you think they don't put a strain on our infrastructure go to the emergency rooms. Don't you think they drive down the wages, by working for less. If employers could only hire legals, they might be forced to give raises to attract workers and the average Democratic working stiff blue collar guy might be in line for a raise. Don't you want to help out the averge blue collar guy?

May 28, 2010 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A large majority of the population support cracking down on the illegals, don't you support democracy?

June 01, 2010 4:47 AM  

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