Oklahoma’s conservative politicians wasted no time in producing some of the nations's most outlandish and bizarre criticism of President Barack Obama’s sensible new plan to stop the deportation of some immigrants living here illegally.
Topping the list of this particular Okie spectacle is outgoing Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who unfortunately had this to say about the president’s decision:
"The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation. You're going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence."
That sounds to me more like “a call’’ to violence than a warning about violence. Note the language “going to go nuts” and “anarchy” and “could see violence." Let me state the obvious: Coburn’s comments are incendiary and irresponsible. If there IS any violence, Coburn should be held directly responsible for it, along with the corporate media journalists who have tried through the years to depict the senator as some sort of reasoned political sage.
I think Oklahomans know Coburn a little bit better than those Beltway journalists trolling for a story that fits a preconceived phony narrative. Coburn is a radical and an extremist. His comments are actually designed to incite violence and anarchy, even though they are supposedly couched as a warning. His comments are no different than what you might hear on a Rush Limbaugh show. Yet Coburn still gets depicted as a serious statesman.
Here’s a point Coburn won’t acknowledge. Even if Obama did nothing about the issue, this country would still be flooded with people who live here without appropriate documentation. That’s going to continue. Why would Americans suddenly go nuts and start rampaging in the streets over one policy shift when the illegal immigrants are already here in the first place? Is it because Coburn WANTS people to go nuts and get violent?
Basically, the controversial point of Obama’s plan is that it protects up to five million illegal immigrants from deportations. It also refocuses our anti-illegal immigration efforts on monitoring and deporting criminals who come to the United States. Here’s a basic outline of the plan. Some experts estimate there are more than 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
Coburn’s siren call to violence—violence against immigrants, perhaps, or maybe even the president himself?—was just one outlandish comment by an Oklahoma politician. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a statement that he plans to “take action” against the president over his new directive. Of course, that means he’s threatening to sue, just as he has sued to end Obamacare so impoverished people can’t have access to medical care here in Oklahoma. Pruitt’s entire focus as the state’s attorney general has been to oppose Obama in any possible way he can. Here’s his statement on the Obama immigration plan:
It is anticipated tonight’s speech will again prove our President sees himself as above the law. Regardless of what the President thinks the law ought to be, our constitution dictates that Congress makes the law, it is the Presidents duty to faithfully execute those laws. If the President takes an executive action that violates his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress, we will take action to hold him accountable.
Note the language “will AGAIN [emphasis mine] prove our President sees himself as us above the law” and “violate his constitutional duty.” It’s sheer nonsense. American presidents have taken executive action on immigration and other issues throughout the years. This is well documented and doesn’t even bear repeating. Obama is doing nothing out of the ordinary, except to maybe get something accomplished in the face of Republican recalcitrance.
Other negative comments from the prominent conservative politicians here in Oklahoma are so typical they should make us yawn. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole claims, “ . . . the president has chosen to pit lawmakers and the Americans they represent against each other.” What does that even mean? U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas asks, “ . . . where does this kind of stuff stop?” Stuff? Come on, let’s have a serious conversation about the immigration issue, not focus on arcane points about implementation and constitutional authority. It’s more than just “stuff.” U.S. Rep. James Lankford, who was just elected to fill Coburn’s Senate seat, claims Obama “does not want to do the hard work of negotiating an actual reform . . .” Let’s be clear: Obama has tried repeatedly to find compromise with stubborn Republicans on an array of issues in his presidential tenure.
The crux of the issue is that we have more than 11 million people living here illegally. Many of these people have menial jobs. They come here to escape poverty and have a better way of life. The vast majority of these people are law-abiding—I get it that they’re here “illegally” so don’t think you caught me in some paradox—and want education and safety for their children. It is logistically impossible to find and then round up all these people and send them back to their home countries.
Our country has needed to do something about this issue for years, but the GOP because of xenophobia and racism has refused to act in a sensible manner. No one, especially Obama, is arguing these people should get blanket amnesty and complete forgiveness. The point is that these people, many of them from Mexico, should be able to come out of the shadows and participate fully in our taxation and regulatory systems. It makes the most sense.
On one hand, there actually are Republicans who do want the cheap labor illegal immigrants provide; on the other hand, the racists and xenophobic people who make up a sizeable segment of the Republican base crave retaliation, maybe even some of that “violence” and “anarchy” Coburn seems to be promoting these days. These two factions will never find common ground, and they both hate Obama with an irrational intensity that can only be contributed to the fact he’s an African American. How is any type of compromise remotely possible given these obvious facts?
Obama’s plan is a sensible start to solving a crucial issue in our country. It’s also sure, on a political level, to show immigrants and other people, and especially those of Hispanic descent in this country, that the Democratic Party embraces diversity and tolerance.