Commentary by Ron Miller
This week in politics has proven something I've always believed; the longer a politician is away from the people, the less they remember about what it's like to be one of them. Let me give you a couple of prime examples.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former governor Bob Ehrlich are squaring off in a series of debates that basically repeat all the commercials they've been hurling at one another. Voters looking to learn something new are going to have to listen very carefully, or else they might miss that defining moment that makes them go, "Aha! Now I know who to vote for!"
One such moment occurred during the most recent debate when the subject of illegal immigration came up. While Ehrlich declared he was against it, period, O'Malley opined that illegal aliens were being unfairly blamed for the state of the economy, a line that allowed him to veer off course into the Democratic mantra that blames everything on George Bush, the evil Republicans and the greedy bankers and financiers.
Conveniently left out were the federal government's active policy to increase home ownership in low-income and minority communities whether they could afford the homes or not, the refusal to regulate the actions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until the horse was out of the barn and galloping down the road, their inability or unwillingness to see the risk inherent in these huge subprime mortgage portfolios, a risk identified as early as the first year of President Bush's term, and the eagerness of new homeowners to take on bigger mortgages than they could afford, egged on by the federal government and the banks.
This was a problem with plenty of blame to go around, and it started with government sticking its nose into the private sector and pushing and cajoling financial institutions to take on more risk than they ever would under normal circumstances without government assurances that the gravy train would keep on rolling. I just had to make that point before we move on.
While condemning the "nativist" - another Democratic flash card word - mindset that he believes is at the heart of Americans' opposition to illegal immigration, O'Malley referred to illegal aliens using a term that is actually less accurate and more offensive than "undocumented workers". Listen to the video and see if you can identify the term:
It's not the first time he's used the phrase, either. He did it in their first debate as well.
Have you figured out what it is? Yes, you heard right. He called illegal aliens "new Americans."
My wife came to America from France in 1981-82 on a student visa, and then in 1984 with a fiancé visa. After we married, she applied for and received her permanent resident alien card, and 26 years later, that remains her status.
She has worked in this country as a language instructor up to the four-year university level, and she has consistently obeyed our laws and paid her taxes.
She traveled overseas with me while I was in the military and when I was a defense contractor, and she served in every military community in which we lived. Among other things, she taught conversational German to our soldiers so they could make their way in the host country, and she volunteered her time in various church ministries that cared for single soldiers longing for a taste of home.
In short, she's been a legal resident of this nation for almost three decades, and she has given to it more than she has taken from it.
Yet even she knows that she's not entitled to call herself a "new American." She understands that to become a "new American", she has to pay the fees, study for the exam and pass it, and then be officially sworn in.
Illegal aliens, the organizations that aid and harbor them, and the politicians like Martin O'Malley who pander to them show tremendous disrespect for the value and integrity of American citizenship when they use the term "new Americans".
They disrespect people like my wife who came here legally and continue to abide by the law, even showing their "green cards" if asked by authorities.
Isn't it strange that a law legal immigrants must obey is somehow racially motivated or "nativist" if we attempt to apply it to illegal aliens?
"New Americans?" They are nothing of the kind and, they have already demonstrated their contempt for our laws by their very presence, and their active efforts to falsify documents and elude detection. It is clear they have no regard whatsoever for the price of American citizenship, a price paid by millions who legally migrated here before them, who served their new homeland in the factories and on the battlefields, and who left their homes not to be set apart from Americans, but to become Americans.
Here's an Election Day tip for you. Any politician who refers to illegal aliens as "new Americans", or who has voted to spend your money to provide them with government services or benefits, has no respect for your citizenship either, and doesn't deserve your vote. It's that simple.
Politicians who think your money belongs to them don't deserve your vote, either. I recently read a letter from my delegate, Sue Kullen, defending her support of a bill that would take the money from unused gift cards and put it into the Maryland general fund. She says it's to protect the consumers from the greedy businesses (see earlier mantra) that exploit them.
I can accept forbidding businesses to charge fees, or reduce the value of gift cards after a period of disuse, as consumer protection. Taking the money from unused gift cards and dumping it into the state treasury, however, is consumer extortion.
If the money from that card must go somewhere if it's unused, it should go back into the wallets or pocketbooks of the person who bought the card in the first place. The purchase of that card was a business transaction between the consumer and the vendor, and government's only role is to ensure no harm is done, not to help itself to the proceeds.
Would everyday Marylanders create a tortured phrase like "new Americans" to describe these lawbreakers from foreign lands when "illegal aliens" accurately describes who they are?
Would everyday Marylanders presume they had a right to money from a gift card they neither bought nor received?
And that's exactly the message you should deliver with your vote. These folks, and many others like them, need to come back home and be reminded what it's like to be in the real world for a change.
We should change politicians like we change diapers - often and especially once they've been soiled.
Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Toms Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.