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Phony Immigration Debate vs. Real Police State Threat

The New American | June 23 2006

To understand the patent phoniness of the Republican debate over immigration, and the very real evil that is behind it, we must resort to the language of professional “wrestling” -- an undertaking nearly as fraudulent, but nowhere near as malicious or corrupt, as politics.

In wrestling, a “work” is a staged event in which the outcome is foreordained – the participant (“competitor” isn't the right word) designed the winner will prevail in order to advance the intended storyline.

A work stands in contrast to a “shoot”: In the words of the great Lou Thesz, whose career included both, in a shoot the wrestlers are fighting for “money, marbles, or chalk” -- that is, they're involved in a real match for tangible stakes.

Since the 1930s, very few pro “wrestling” matches have been “shoots.” Promoters learned that it was more profitable to control process through which champions and contenders were chosen, thereby cultivating marketable personalities that could attract crowds across large territories.

Although “works” could often involve real bloodletting and injury (this is sometimes called a "work-shoot"), they are always exercises in controlled mayhem, with a scripted outcome.

Apart from what occasionally happens in a few smaller regional promotions, the people running the steroid-enhanced soap opera that is Pro Wrestling keep it untainted by authentic competition. The objective is to devise and promote audience-grabbing "angles," or storylines.

The same is true of the malignant – and increasingly murderous – farce that is American politics.

The only political objective the Bush regime cares about right now is to preserve the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings or serious investigations (albeit of an undisguised partisan variety) may erupt should the Democrats take control.

To that end, the Republican Party is preparing for a multi-city tag-team “Battle Royale” pitting House “conservatives” against Senate “moderates” over the issue of immigration.

As USA Today puts it: “The congressional immigration debate took on the trappings of a national political campaign ... as each side planned a series of made-for-media events across the country to highlight the pros and cons of granting illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.... The dueling hearings are unusual because both the House and Senate have already passed legislation. Normally, the next step would be a House-Senate conference committee to reconcile differences between the bills. That now will be put off while both sides take their case to the public over the summer.”

The Los Angeles Times plays up what wrestling fans would call the “Heel turn” taken by either George W. Bush or the House Republicans: “The unorthodox plan by House Republicans for a series of hearings on immigration policy represents an aggressive effort by hard-line critics of illegal immigration to reassert control over the emotional debate — and wrest it from President Bush — as this year's elections approach.”

Anybody familiar with pro wrestling knows that if the apparent outcome of a “worked” match defies expectations, it will be reversed through an outrageous and unfair development.

For instance, the “referee” may be temporarily knocked unconscious, missing the pinfall by which the Babyface (good guy) wins the match, only to be dramatically roused from his stupor long enough to award the victory to the Heel.

Or perhaps the match will degenerate into what is called a “schmazz” -- an ending in which the good guy appears to win, as wrestlers from the contending camps pour into the ring, hurling chairs and other objects at each other in what appears to be a chaotic melee. Of course, that apparent victory is reversed on further review.

For promoters looking to create and exploit “heat” among the audience, either of those outcomes is desirable, since it reinforces the image of the Babyface as the innocently wronged champion.

This is exactly the image House Republicans are trying to sell to the conservative public – in order to advance the White House's objectives: No impeachment or serious inquiry into administration wrongdoing, and eventual enactment of amnesty in some form.

That's right.

Write this prediction down in ink: If the Republicans succeed in using the issue of border enforcement to retain control over Congress, we will get amnesty anyway – maybe in a lame-duck session, most likely no later than a year from now.

How can I say this with such assuredness?

Easy: That's the position staked out in the most recent manifesto issued by the self-appointed leaders of “respectable” conservatism.

The “open letter” from the Hudson Institute, signed by a bevy of faux conservatives – from William F. Buckley to Bill Bennett to David Horowitz (as well as the occasional misled legitimate conservative, such as Phyllis Schlafly) – declares:

“We favor what Newt Gingrich has described as `sequencing.' First border and interior enforcement must be funded, operational, implemented, and proven successful – and only then can we debate the status of current illegal immigrants, or at least the need for new guest worker programs.”

In principle, this differs not at all from George W. Bush's approach, which is to enhance border enforcement – and then nullify it by granting amnesty and tearing down our border with Mexico through the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

One thing we see here is that Gingrich – though abundantly disgraced and in bad odor with legitimate conservatives – hasn't lost his mojo as a judas goat.

Back in 1994, when the grassroots were in full rebellion against both the Clinton administration and the Washington Establishment,
Gingrich cobbled together a “Contract With America” intended to nationalize the congressional elections. The idea was to impose message discipline on Republican candidates – to take untamed populist conservatives and break them to the saddle of the Beltway GOP leadership.

And immediately after the Republican victory in November, Gingrich and Senate GOP leader Bob Dole sold the grassroots out by holding a lame-duck session to approve US membership in the World Trade Organization, opposition to which was exactly the kind of issue that propelled Republican congressional candidates to victory at the polls. Gingrich and Dole made sure that the debate over the WTO ended before the new Congress could convene.

This is exactly the type of perfidy we're dealing with here – and the conservative movement, without exception, is falling for it. Which makes me think that the movement is being led by the kind of people who are surprised when the results of WWE events aren't reported in the sports section.

The details of the current sell-out differ from the 1994 edition, of course. For instance, rather than being a hands-on political player, Gingrich is a presumptive presidential candidate and GOP dogmatist without portfolio. And it's possible, given the extent to which the Republican congressional leadership has turned their party into a support mechanism for Bush's authoritarian personality cult, that no lame duck session would be necessary.

But the fact remains that a Republican victory in November will mean amnesty in some form for illegal immigrants, a renewed push for merger with Mexico, and – most importantly – an even more vigorous drive to build a domestic garrison state on a permanent war footing.

In fact, the Hudson Institute manifesto makes that pretty clear:

“We are in the middle of a global war on terror.... Today, we need proof that enforcement (both at the border and in the interior) is successful before anything else happens.”

A step-to-the-side translation of this would be: Build the police state first, and then we can talk about amnesty.

Militarizing the border would certainly go a long way toward that objective.

For a long time our would-be rulers have been looking for an issue that could entice people into surrendering their freedoms: The threat of Communism, the scourge of narcotics, the menace of international terrorism.... They seem to identified the threat of illegal immigration as just the thing they've been searching for. Right now, tens of millions of conservatives, including many who have been suspicious about the Patriot (sic) Act and similar measures, appear willing to submit to invasive, militarized enforcement measures in order to curb illegal immigration.

This fits nicely into the “angle” being scripted by the GOP, as well. As long as we're talking about immigration, we're not paying attention as the Bush regime builds the Reich around us.

No matter what tumult or conflict is orchestrated for our consumption over the next several months, the public has to remember: This isn't a real debate, it's a "work," and the angle it is advancing will end with the extinction of our existence as a constitutional republic.

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