My seventh open letter to Mr. Mitt Romney on immigration
Dear Mr. Romney,
The immigration issue is about America defining itself at the beginning of the 21st century. Is America a place where people born here are entitled to cutting coupons from the wealth accumulated by previous generations? And, should they guard this wealth from being accessed by immigrants? Or, does America embody the concept of individual freedom? The concept that the well-being of the nation would be best achieved when individuals will be guaranteed the freedoms to pursue their best economic interests? We have to revisit the fundamental question of what we want our government to do. Should it guarantee an equal right to pursue happiness for everyone, or should it provide at least a little bit of happiness for as many Americans as possible?
Conservatism was mentioned in almost every presidential debate. Professor Milton Friedman was a conservative. So was Father Charles E. Coughlin. Could you define your conservatism Mr. Romney? Sometimes, I am under impression that the more parochial and narrow-minded a view is, the more conservative you see it. How much more conservative along this path do you want to be? Did you use the same approach when working at Bain Capital?
Since 1924, we have had a malfunctioning immigration policy. We stick to the concept of closed borders with government controlling the inflow of immigrants. So far you seem to be following the prevailing mantra that we should not take responsibility for our failure in enforcing our own policy. You echo the voices from the street that our failure should be blamed on others, and that instead of correcting our action, we should do with greater determination the same thing that has not been working so far. Did you use the same approach when resolving problems at Bain Capital?
In the media, the immigration agenda has been besieged by a small group of fast-talking commentators that represent narrow-minded anti-immigration sentiment, originating from nativist concepts, empowered by the social nationalistic strand among conservatives. They are full of lofty patriotic phraseology but are short on facts and logic. The arguments are sometimes laughable; however, in the mouths of influential political commentators and politicians, they are simply dangerous. We observe a very peculiar cycle: intellectually shallow political commentators spread anti-immigrant demagogy, the disoriented public seems to go for it, and the politicians follow the public, giving extra momentum to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the commentators. Individuals that might have doubts suppress their thoughts, being overwhelmed by high-pitched patriotic demagogy about protecting borders, terrorists, illegal aliens, and preserving American values. This self-propelling nonsense gets momentum all the way to the hallways in Washington.
If you are as skillful and talented a businessman as you claim, do not you see the nonsense of our current immigration policy? Do not you see the shallowness of the anti-immigration rhetoric? You claim that you will support entrepreneurship in America, and out of the other side of your mouth you promise to chase out illegal immigrants instead of assimilating them. You cannot do both. Could you clarify for me when you lie and when you tell the truth? I am puzzled that instead of finding a creative way to resolve our almost one hundred year old problem, in your political declarations you mindlessly follow an angry mob which is almost literally craving for the blood of illegal immigrants. Are you afraid that you have no chance of being elected by telling Americans as it is? Or, do you actually not know our problems and have no original ideas for what to do? I mean, besides following the mob mindlessly.
My inquiry amounts to the Shakespearian dilemma you face: to lead, or not to lead, that is the question.
Huffington Post refused to publish this text. Henryk A. Kowalczyk is a long-term blogger at Huffington Post, and letters to Mr. Romey are the only texts that editors of HP ever rejected.