First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."-Mahatma Gandhi
How sweet it is to have reached Gandhi's final stage—winning.
For now. You can never rule immigration enthusiasts out.
But, assessing the damage and chaos around him, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said:
"We are finished with this for the time being."[Immigrant Bill, Short 15 Votes, Stalls in the Senate, By Carl Hulse and Robert Pear, New York Times, June 8, 2007]
Reid did allow for the possibility that the bill could be brought up later in the year. And other proponents like Senators Arlen Specter and Teddy Kennedy held out hope that they could revive the amnesty legislation.
But, S. 1348 is down and perhaps completely out. Down with it went all its hateful supporters including but not limited to, John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham. The list of names is much longer and they're all, unfortunately, well known to you.
The pro-amnesty ethnic identity lobbyists—also familiar to you—are licking their wounds and wondering what happened to their well-laid plans.
What happened is that the voice of the American people and common sense prevailed. Look for more of the same in future.
And best of all, the weasel in the White House took it on the chops. Bush has been a bad actor and our worst enemy on immigration since he set foot into the Oval Office.
Studied closely, Gandhi's words sum up the history immigration reform movement…immigration reform, that is, as defined by we the good guys.
The dogfight against the U.S. Senate from which we just emerged was, believe it or not, exactly where we needed to be.
No way could we prevail without first enduring a toe-to-toe battle with the evil forces lined up against us.
And we were poised for victory because we had all already overcome the obstacles to it identified by Gandhi
Look at the evolution of immigration reform.
About ten years ago, when I was the Media Director of Californians for Population Stabilization, a group of us brainstormed about how we could get illegal immigration and its consequences into the national press spotlight.
We recognized that an illegal alien tsunami was bearing down on California. The seeds for still more illegal immigration had already been sown. And it didn't take a genius to project that the alien invasion would soon spread across the nation.
Even though we were eventually proven 100 percent correct, we were completely ignored.
But look at us now! We're on the front page, above the fold every day. Each night, we're the lead story on the network news. And get a load of this: immigration reform is, according to the New York Times, of more interest to the public than sex! Our friend Mickey Kaus made this startling but curiously comforting discovery last week.
Everyone in America—or so it seems—knows about illegal immigration. Most sympathize with our position.
God knows we've been ridiculed although quite unimaginatively. We're routinely called nativists, racists, xenophobes, and much worse. Every four-letter word has been used to describe our dedication to our cause. We've been cussed out in both English and Spanish.
And have we been fought or what?
The most imposing heavyweight we've entered the ring with is none other than President Bush. In numerous speeches, Bush has either directly stated that opponents to his "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill are un-American or has strongly implied as much.
When the President of the United States calls us un-American, as Bush consistently has since 2001, because of our concerns about illegal immigration, that's strong stuff. But let's take comfort in my father's advice regarding name calling: consider the source!
From the Democratic side, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, once an amateur boxer, has also thrown some foul blows our way. The worst insult Reid leveled against us was when he called illegal aliens "undocumented Americans".
As Americans, I'm sure you took great offense at that remark. I know I did. But again, what can you expect from an opportunist like Reid?
Our victory came as no surprise to me.
Worth noting is that the bad guys-our open borders adversaries-haven't won a major immigration reform battle against us in years. We beat their pants off last year during the S. 2611 fuss.
And do you remember 245i—the rolling amnesty by which people could enter the U.S. illegally, then, after paying a modest fine, be allowed to apply for a green card.
That thorn in our side was scuttled in 2002.
Sadly, we will have to fight again another day. As Kennedy said:
"The vote was obviously a big disappointment, but it makes no sense to fold our tent, and I certainly don't intend to."
To borrow a phrase from Tony Soprano, "this thing of ours" never goes away.
Of course, these have all been defensive battles. We still have to move onto the offensive—and eventually tackle the ultimate problem, legal immigration, hopefully with a moratorium.
But we're certainly better positioned than ever. And momentum is on our side.
Winning them one at a time is energizing. And, after all the effort that we have expended, it feels so good!