Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rock 'Em Part 4

Rock 'Em IV: The "Turning Point" or Just the Flushing of a Single Turd?

"Few things stand out less clearly at the time than a turning point in history, at any rate when one is living through it. As a rule it is only in retrospect that an event can be seen clearly as a turning point. Historians write as if they were looking at the past in the rearview mirror of a moving car and, of course, picking the turning points' of history is something of a specialty for many historians -- in some cases the more obscure, the better. Turning points, however, are much harder to recognize as they occur, when one is looking through the windshield." -- Michael Korda, Journey Into a Revolution: A Personal Memoir and History of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, HarperCollins, 2006, p. 1.

"I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about ... this piece of sh-t bill." -- House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking to a private gathering of the Republican Rapid Responders, 22 May 2007.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." -- Toshiro Mifune, as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, in Tora! Tora! Tora!, 1970.


"Grass Roots Roared and Immigration Plan Collapsed" -- New York Times headline, 10 June 2007

You know, that quote above from the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" about the consequences of the Pearl Harbor attack is the most famous line Admiral Yamamoto never uttered. Scholars have been unable to document that Yamamoto used those exact words, although he said something similar that the screenwriter likely "interpreted" into the famous line.

Somewhat more reliably than the screenplay version, Yamamoto was also reputed to have said: "Gentlemen, we have just kicked a rabid dog." Well, I guess George Bush, Teddy Kennedy, Trent Lott and the rest of the Amnesty Conspiracy know how Yamamoto felt now. They kicked the dog and the dog ripped their trousers off, exposing their naked backsides for all to see (a not uncommon occurrence for Kennedy) . They can each consider themselves lucky not to have lost a leg.

"(T)he legislation sparked a furious rebellion among many Republican and even some Democratic voters, who were linked by the Internet and encouraged by radio talk show hosts. Their outrage and activism surged to full force after Senator Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican who was an author of the bill, suggested early this week that support for the measure seemed to be growing. The assault on lawmakers in Washington was relentless. In a crucial vote Thursday night, the bill’s supporters, including President Bush, fell short by 15 votes. While there is a possibility the legislation could be revived later this year, there was a glow of victory among opponents on Friday." -- Julia Preston, "Grass Roots Roared and Immigration Plan Collapsed," New York Times, 10 June 2007

Glow? The talk radio circuit and the blogosphere just about broke their arms patting themselves on the back by the end of this week, congratulating themselves on have forced the withdrawal of the immigration bill in the Senate, that "grand bargain" of the Amnesty Conspiracy. I heard on one of the talk shows that we had reached "a turning point." The feeling seemed to be that "they won't try THAT again." Geraldo Rivera whined, "I really do fault extremist radio. I think a lot of it was scaring people. This talk of amnesty..." Yep. Watch for renewed Democrat interest in "The Fairness Doctrine" after this. No good deed goes unpunished.

"We Are A Bunch of Rodents."

"There are rats in the corn!" -- Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail Freemantle in "The Stand," 1984

Certainly something extraordinary happened on the way to the forum. I've been trying to get folks to throw bricks through the politicians' windows for the past few weeks, but just when it looked like the old-fashioned, traditional ways of getting our "rulers'" attention were not going work (and therefore bricks would be required), they apparently did. The phones melted down, Senators' local offices were besieged. Diane Feinstein was shocked by the vociferous criticism, calling it "racist." Trent Lott moaned in the Senate that his constituents apparently no longer trusted him. Yet still he challenged his colleagues to show some backbone and vote for the bill:

“'Are we men and women or mice?' Mr. Lott asked. 'Are we going to slither away from this issue and hope for some epiphany to happen? No. Let’s legislate. Let’s vote.'” -- New York Times, 8 June 2007

Perhaps Lott confused his colleagues with that mixed metaphor about mice slithering but they voted, and Lott and his Amnesty Conspiracy buddies came up short. The Washington Times reported:

"Throughout the day, (Lott) had challenged senators to answer whether they were 'mice or men.' As he left he called out to reporters: 'We are a bunch of rodents.'" -- Stephen Dinan, "Filibuster spoils 'bargain'" The Washington Times, 8 June 2007

"We are a bunch of rodents." On that, I think we can all agree, Senator Lott. But you and your fellow Amnesty Conspiracists are rats, Senator Lott-- big ugly, hairy, bloated, power-hungry rats of the kind that will swarm and devour a sleeping child and certainly not inoffensive little field mice.

"It's ALIVE!"

"No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while congress is in session." -- Mark Twain

But, to paraphrase the English town criers, "The bill is dead, long live the bill!"

"The White House insisted Sunday that radical plans to overhaul the US immigration system were not dead, amid calls for Republicans and Democrats to work hard to save a controversial bill." -- "US immigration bill alive and well, White House insists," Associated Press 10 June 2007

Remember the bill has been withdrawn, not killed. The "leadership" of the Amnesty Conspiracy says it can be reintroduced in July. I have visions of Dubya, dressed in a white lab coat, shrieking like Dr. Frankenstein: "Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!" while Trent Lott, John Kyl and Teddy Kennedy jump and cavort in celebration like triplet Egors.

"Turning Point" or the Flushing of a Single Turd?

So, in John Boehner's famous characterization, this "piece of (excrement)" may or may not have been reliably flushed. It may indeed float back to the surface for a reconsideration. Whether we have indeed reached a "turning point" remains to be seen. I have my doubts. Even if we kill the bill for the next ten years what does that leave us with? The status quo, only growing every year. Have we then won anything thereby? Before we start patting ourselves on the back, consider that. As for me, I'm still yearning for the sound of tinkling glass. It's the Son of Liberty in me. And THAT would be a turning point.

Mike Vanderboegh
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126

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