Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The DREAM v. The Nightmare

Today, President Obama, national civil rights leaders, and many more Americans are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. That was when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. 50 years later, there has been much progress... But there's also much more to do to achieve Dr. King's dream.

On Monday, we examined one major civil rights struggle in our time that we've yet to resolve: immigration reform. American families have been ripped apart, and many people still live in fear. Yet despite the US Senate passing comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation back in June, the G-O-TEA run House has not taken any action on it. Instead, Republican House "leaders" are busy peddling manufactured crises (all over again).

And herein lies the newest problem for CIR. Because Congressional G-O-TEA "leaders" are demanding more manufactured crisis drama this fall, they plan to kill CIR by tossing it to the wayside in the midst of ongoing budget battles. Their plan is to essentially run out the clock on CIR by turning up the fiscal histrionics.

Of course, Jed Lewison is calling BS on the G-O-TEA's latest and greatest excuse for failing to act on CIR.

Saying that the calendar is the problem is the same thing as saying that the House has been too busy and will be too busy to deal with immigration reform. This House, too busy? Seriously, can you think of a dumber claim to make than that the laziest, most do-nothing House of Representatives ever was doing too much other stuff to deal with immigration reform?

Moreover, even if you accepted that line of thinking, you'd at least have to concede that in making room for other stuff, House Republicans were implicitly saying that it didn't think immigration reform was all that important. In other words, if they really thought it was important, they'd make time for it, right?

Yes, in September in October, they've got some fiscal stuff they've got to take care of, but they've known this forever. Even if you accepted the notion that they couldn't pass immigration reform at the same time as dealing with those fiscal issues, it changes absolutely nothing about the fundamental dynamics at play—or the fact that they have already had months to act and will still have plenty of time to act after raising the debt limit.

Never mind that the debt ceiling was never a crisis until Republicans decided to turn it into one. Never mind that the House had all of July to pass CIR legislation. And never mind that Republicans can still do the right thing by stopping the reckless hostage taking, letting a fair budget and debt ceiling raise pass, and resuming work on actually important issues (like CIR).

50 years ago, Dr. King had a dream. Today, many Americans are keeping the DREAM alive. But right now, the usual "TEA" tinged suspects in Congress are more interested in foisting an economic nightmare on the world than fulfilling the dream. That's the real tragedy here.

The dream is still here... But will enough Republicans finally agree to drop the nightmare threats and let the dream become reality?

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