Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Tea Party, Disaffecteds and the "E" Amendment. "Can the Three Become One?"

The Tea Party may have saved the Republican Party. Today, GOP establishment looks upon it as a needed liability.

On the other side of the hill, Democrats label the Tea Party as "what's wrong in Washington." They point to the gridlock and conclude that it is the Tea Party that keeps well meaning pragmatists such as John Boehner from a compromise.

The media, depending on if you're watching Sean Hannity or Al Sharpton, is consistently, inconsistent. Some conservatives quietly wish for a little more political realism. Moderate Democrats actually agree with some Tea Party positions. Republicans don't have an exclusive on fiscal conservatism.

The problem that has surfaced throughout the short life of the Tea Party has been a question of identity. In essence, "which Tea Party?"

We must keep in mind that there is no centralized point of the Tea Party. There are the Tea Party Patriots. There is the Tea Party Express. There is Tea etc . There is now a Tea Party Radio Network. Yet, when attending local meetings, many are dismayed to learn that it's often no more than a county-to-county, even neighborhood-to-neighborhood clique!

Florida Senator Marco Rubio described the Tea Party as a "main street movement." This is a diplomatic way of saying "something without leadership, without clearly defined goals and a plan."

The quickest way to become alienated from one of the Tea Parties is to express support for the wrong Republican candidate. True, not all Tea Party members are Republicans. A large number are Libertarians. Many are Independents and a surprising number of them are Democrats. Most but not all of these Democrats are "D.I.N.O.S"(Democrats in name only). Some voters who claim to be Independents are relative newcomers to political affairs. Previously they had "let somebody else worry about those things." Now, it's a matter of getting involved. The Tea Party can take credit for mobilizing these Americans.

The question of identity comes from "if" only fiscal conservatism is on the radar. The Tea Party Patriots only address fiscal issues. This is a wise starting point. But simply downsizing the government and adopting a balanced budget amendment comes up short in defining a clear path. The Tea Party Express has been more active in drafting candidates for political runs. However, they have not done it without catching contempt from both the left and the Republican establishment. Some isolated remarks have suggested that the Tea Party Express may be about more than fiscal conservatism.

Imagine a large, loosely configured volunteer army. They have numbers. They have a cause. They have an objective, albeit a murky one. But they have no guns or ammunition. They have no battle plan. They haven't given the slightest thought to possible allies or reinforcements. They don't even know who is in charge!

They do know "who" the enemy is.

We have referenced a group of potential allies labeled, "the disaffecteds." They are unhappy with an America that has seemingly forgotten them. They are mostly independents. They have low incomes but work. Almost half of them are parents. They mistrust the federal government and generally dislike the current president. All they need is a chance; and a cause. And, above all, they need to be armed.

Sounds like a war! Actually it is! And it has been going on for quite some time. The only missing ingrediant is the ordnance. Enter the "E" Amendment!

The "E" Amendment would cut billions, if not trillions from federal, state and local budgets. By relieving state and local governments of paying for unfunded mandates so casually issued by Washington, they would free up money to pay for functions the states were meant to handle. Namely education, energy, and environmental protection.

Immigration Reform is considered by some to be a social issue. In reality, it is a fiscal issue. The proposal introduced in the "E" Amendment would fix the problem, and save billions in the process!

Identity theft is a fiscal issue. Why that it continues to lurk in the shadows is simple: "You can't have an adult discussion about identity theft without including outsourcing in the conversation."

Which brings us to the "ugly part of the topic, the true revealing of the dark side of America:" Affluent Democrats and Establishment Republicans look at Wall Street as the barometer for success in the country. In short, if the stock market is doing well, then everything is "peachy."

Are Tea Party members akin to the rabble seen camped outside of Wall Street? Heavens no! This would be like comparing a Billy Graham crusade to the anti-war riots at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968.

Some have suggested that these protesters are not unlike groups seen on the streets of Petrograd(St. Petersburg) in 1916 Russia. More accurately, their anti-semitic intonations are reminiscent of Berlin in 1927. It is a chilling glimpse of what might be in store for America if a constructive alternative is not brought forth.

Whatever, we may think of these throngs of angry countrymen, we must stop and listen to what they are saying: "There has been a drastic wealth transfer in the United States since 1997."

There are those who simply leave it at "damn the godderdamerung." But it's more complicated than that. In a country of laws, we suddenly saw morals and ethics get tossed to wayside in favor of taking care of one's own. People got hurt. In most cases they were people who had played by the rules. The offenders not only went unpunished. They were allowed to keep everything that they had swindled.

The Tea Party can use this scenario to draw a distinction between themselves and those distructively in the streets chanting "anarchy and revolution." By openly acknowleging the problem and simultaneously offering a solution, the Tea Party transcends the steet agitators. That solution is the "E" Amendment.

Far left Democrats won't like it. The Establishment Republicans might scorn it. But those needed allies referred to earlier will embrace it. They will see it as a chance to insure that every American is significant and relevant. And this is where the Tea Party can unite it's behemoth masses. They now have a road map that will bring Americas' fiscal house in order.

It is actually very simple: Pass legislation that eliminates current and previously unfunded mandates. Adopt a fair, practical and comprehensive immigration plan and take exclusive control of American information processing. "Cutting waste, maximizing manpower and creating jobs." Are these not all worthwhile objectives?

What if the "bluebloods" in the Republican Party don't go for it? It's already assumed that the Nancy Pelosi cohorts won't buy it!

We return to our members of "forgotten America." Don't forget,two-thirds of them are independents. The Tea Party has just reclassified them: They are no longer "Disaffecteds." They are now, "Eagles for America."

Don't look now, but a powerful coalition has emerged. This formless, mass of people who suddenly woke up and realized that they were losing the country have an ally. They have been joined by people who felt that the country had left them. Don't forget, only 19% of Disaffecteds identify with the Tea Party. These are distinct segments of the population and they are unified in a common cause.

To bring about a "smarter, stronger, more secure America that is fiscally responsible, energy independent and cares about all of her citizens" will reasonate. The proclamation that "all Americans are significant and relevant," touches people where it counts. A call for unity has that kind of effect.

Adopting the "E" Amendment allows the Tea Party to shed an incorrect and unjustified label placed upon it by the far left: racist. The "E" Amendment promotes assimulation in the tradition of Americas melting pot. "Eagles for America" is the "E" Amendment manifested. It is a signal to all disaffected Americans that "you are invited and will be included in our cause, no matter what your background, race, ethnic or religious affiliation might be."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The "E" plan for Immigration Reform: "A Bridge for the Moderates."

When I wrote "E" is for English the last thing on my mind was conceiving a comprehensive immigration plan. The book is about English literacy and assimulation. As it unfolded, however, it became clear that literacy, immigration reform and assimulation are all part of the same discussion.

Newt Gingrich is correct in saying that "America is a melting pot, not a salad bowl." What comes as a surprise to many is that the vast majority of these "would be, new Americans" don't want a "salad bowl."

The fast track plan for assimulation as outlined in "E" is for English would have far more support than opposition from immigration applicants. The opponents come from various special interests. They see the proposed "American English Unification Amendment"("E" Amendment)as the destroyer of an established standard.

Opposition to reform has it's roots left and right of center. From the left, quiet balkanization of America through the argument of "diversity" holds the aura of compassion. In reality, it encourages complacency and mediocrity.

From the right, the argument of "the law is the law and there will be no deviation from it," sounds good in a political speech. But such rigidity ultimately "shoots conservatatives in the proverbial foot."

In essence, the far left's stance is "unconditional amnesty." It can be described as "we must bring people from the shadows and provide a path for citizenship for those illegally in the country, regardless of circumstance." The goal: "An increasing reservoir of new Democrat voters and constituents."

The far right's stance of "unconditional deportation," can be summed up as, "if you didn't go through the proper channels, no matter what your story may be, you're a law breaker." The goal: "upholding a principle while preserving perceived American jobs and security."

At odds are two perceptions, one practical, the other ideological. The fallacy of both is the lack of room for compromise. Both sides would argue this point. But, in the end, it would be difficult to find a middle ground. Any "bridge" would almost certainly make neither side happy. Such is always the case with true compromise.

My proposed plan strikingly unveils a middle ground. It starts with illegal aliens currently in the country. The legislation would supercede presumed 14th amendment inclusion. However, anyone capable passing a 10th grade English profiency test, would be given a "path to citizenship."

Illegal aliens parented 300,000 children in America last year. Under the "E" Amendment, they would no longer be granted automatic citizenship. But they could gain it if they passed the proficiency exam. They would be required to complete the necessary requirements and do so without federal assistance. The "path" would include but not be limited to public service ranging from the armed forces to the Peace Corp, to a specified term of service in a non-profit organization such as the Boys Clubs or Salvation Army. They would not have access to entitlements such as Pell Grants, Food Stamps or Medicaid. Determinations such as work study and out-of-state tuition waivers would be left up to the states.

Some conservatives will say, "this sounds a lot like the "DREAM act." In many ways it does. What's different is the federal government is not providing financial assistance. Participants are essentially on probation. If they do not complete their service obligation, the promise of citizenship would be revoked.While liberals might embrace that part of the plan, it's probable that, unlike conservatives, they would take issue with a change in 14th amendment interpretation.

The left would argue that the constitution explicitly stated "persons" and not "citizens." Their point is valid. Yet, historians remind us that the intention was to grant citizenship to the freed slaves. The fact that Native Americans were not likewise granted automatic citizenship at this time lends credence to their argument.

In short, neither the far right or the far left will be happy with the "E" Amendments position. The far right will see the English profiency test as a "low bar" for amnesty. Their counterparts will consider it "selective" amnesty, showing clear preference for some applicants over others.

There will be those who say that it is discriminatory. They will point out accurately that the 50,000 Irishmen illegally in New York could all likely pass the exam. But it would be impossible for a six-month old baby living in East Los Angeles to do the same. They will predict that any future student would be able to stay by merely allowing their visa to expire and asking to take the proficiency exam. Good argument, right?

Actually, only those who completed a PHD would be given an automatic green card. Those students who overstayed their visa would be required to apply in same manner as everyone else. True, if their English is advanced, they would receive priority points. But only those in the country at the time of amendment inception would be offered the "path to citizenship with service" option. In short, the "door would be cracked, but only for a brief period," likely two years maximum.

With the discrimination question, we must remember America comes first. We want immigrants who can assimulate the fastest so that they may become part of the work force. True, the "E" Amendment favors English speakers. It likewise favors applicants from N.A.T.O. countries. The goal is to make the nation smarter, stronger and more secure. Better educated immigrants already fluent in the language from more trustworthy countries is the way to do it!

We must not be a "magnet" for illegal aliens. However, the definition of "magnet" translates to making it easy for people to illegally live here. The current system creates incentive to sneak across our borders to have babies. When such a practice is no longer the ticket for citizenship it will cease. When federal subsidies are no longer available to illegal aliens, the United States becomes a less attractive rendezvous. When a birth certificate is required for a drivers license and the test is only available in English, mere survival in the US comes in focus. The end result will be "self deportation."

The right might like some of these ideas. But some will have difficulty with the proficiency test concept. "Progressives" might appreciate the "path with service" initiative. But they would scorn the disdain for diversity.

Anyone having a relative in the country with questionable status would embrace the plan. It would indicate that the country was going to favor those who were already in the process of assimulation and/or were expected to be the easiest to assimulate.

The idea of weighing preference toward younger applicants might catch some flack from citizens attempting to immigrate their parents to America. But it would insure a younger population for the future. It would also add younger, better educated, workers to the nation's labor pool. This would equate to badly needed help in paying into the Social Security System. How much is undetermined.

Placing a preference on demand professions such as nursing and engineering reflects both "attention to an aging populations' retirement needs" and "future emphasis on expansion and innovation." Points given to applicants having a skill or trade signal that America has "her eye on industrial expansion."

The "E" amendment is the cement of a sound present and future immigration policy. In taking this path of "case-by-case" assessment, we find that elusive "bridge for the moderates."

This is why the plan was endorsed by the American Foundation for Immigration Control. As Director John Vinson phrased, The plan introduced in "E" is for English is "thought provoking, patriotic and simple common sense."

Could this plan be adopted by a 2012 Presidential candidate?

One thing is for certain: Immigration Reform is something that cannot wait! It has proven to be a political "hot potato" in times past. Still, a plan that answered all of the questions in a fair, constructive, proactive manner would be welcomed. If it managed to address even a small part of another concern, Social Security Reform, it could become a decisive element in the election.