The home grown values of a county fair help ground you. One can’t help reconnecting with the principles this nation was founded on by those who remain stewards of the land.
Walking around the Caroline County Fair stock yard communing with the blue ribbon roosters and grand champion cattle, the sounds and smells of rural living were calming.
I needed calm in the face of the media firestorm about immigration and children who continue to flood our southern border due to a misunderstanding of President Obama’s DACA ruling, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It may have been an attempt of compassion by the President, politically oriented or not, but the consequences have our nation in an uproar. It has enraged the Hispanic community regardless of political orientation.
Dr. Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, Board President of Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect (HACAN) in Northern Virginia, called the action nationally and Virginia’s response an abomination at so many levels.
She correctly states, “It shames all Latinos and makes us look so bad.”
Unintended or not, the surge continues with projections of approximately 150 thousand undocumented children that will make their way to America next year. Virginia may have to compassionately deal with some in the not too distant future. But what will be the political consequence by members of the Republican and Tea Party persuasion if we choose to ostracize them and do nothing?
Walking the fairgrounds with Bowling Green Supervisor Jeff Sili as he showed off some of his talented wife’s displays of clothing and artifacts along with his award winning bee honey display, he stated presentation was at the center of winning the blue ribbon. Judges didn’t actually taste the honey in his category. That statement was an epiphany.
Sili, fine man of the people that he is, identified the problem and the answer on immigration and outreach. It “is” about presentation.
First District Congressman Rob Wittman, who toured the fair along with Sili, expressed his views on the difficult immigration situation with the clear compassion expected. He shared my angst over the nation’s inability to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform.
The decades old standoff remains over the border enforcement issue and who presently resides in the White House and Virginia mansion. Liberal open borders types use humanitarian compassion as a way to demonstrate the hard hearts of emerging tea party leaders like David Brat who defeated Minority Leader Eric Cantor in the recent primary.
Brat’s inferring PhD and Masters Degree legal immigrants were not welcome in the U.S. while on the campaign trail still has Hispanic leaders like Mancheno-Smoak fuming and wallets closing. The minority vote that conservatives need most to retake the oval office and control Richmond keeps being driven away by a lack of Republican compassion as the President acts by executive fiat.
Perhaps it is time to give the devil his due and use Sili’s unintentional remarks as a capital solution.
The entrepreneurial atmosphere at the fair promoted an embrace of agricultural appreciation and good business, political or otherwise. As a culture that thrives on the need to prosper, perhaps a greater sensitivity by all can be had for immigrant children, political pawns or not, that need to prosper in a civil environment. That was the basis of the Bracero program of the 1940s through 60s when millions of immigrants were sought to work the nation’s agribusiness and our rails after World War II.
Sadly, corporate greed and union bullying violated the nation’s noble intentions and our agreement to allow those who met the federal mandate to legally assimilate. Thousands and their offspring remain here hidden in the shadows. Legal enforcement of federal mandates remains a decades old problem.
While I don’t advocate open borders perhaps it’s time for Republicans to deal with the reality of what they helped cause due to their inability to compassionately and responsibly act when they controlled Washington and Richmond. It’s not capitulation to start leading immigrants who may become legal or not, to the virtues of entrepreneurial advance and the obstacles of government corruption through education.
Tactically speaking, it’s time for Republicans to reconsider and delay on the border issue, redirecting their fire and instead invest in “all” communities of immigrants. While not the establishment or ultra-libertarian tea party platform, it remains the independent mindset of those who remain disenchanted with Obama’s lack of action and Republican insensitivity.
It could start with Stafford’s William J. Howell showing leadership by taking some of that $7.1 million in his Dominion Leadership Trust and present scholarships to qualified students in the Hispanic, Black, and Asian communities.
Imagine what kind of PR could be gained if every member of Congress and every member of the Virginia House of Delegates put 10 percent of their campaign donations to educationally cultivating the voters who they badly need to effect positive change?
As a proud American of Hispanic descent from a family of many veterans, all immigrants who have served in war and peace, I, like Mancheno-Smoak, take the recent events personally and with great shame.
Clearly those who are most culpable remain home nations who should be charged with international crimes against nature by allowing defenseless children to go through scorching deserts and be victimized by coyotes who profit by human trafficking, forcing our nation to deal with them.
Virginia and the nation must act now regardless of who takes credit and end the immigration debacle. Once Republicans actually win major elections, their legitimate immigration concerns which have great validity can be implemented.
Whether we support misplaced motives or those who would take political advantage of our national compassion, Sili is correct … presentation is everything. Virginia should, when the time comes, show its compassion to defenseless children, legal or illegal, though aid and “temporary” comfort. But without equivocation these new illegal children must go back.
Regrettably, not all Republican elected officials act like Sili and Wittman. But if they do, county fairs will continue to be presentations of multicultural and national pride … through education.
Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org