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Letters week of Feb. 21, 2008
Country's Porous Borders: Nothing to Brag About
I respectfully disagree with Jonathan Tobin's article on illegal immigration (A Matter of Opinion: "Know-Nothing Flameout," Feb. 7).
First of all, it's important to note that opponents of illegal immigration are not opposed to legal immigration. They are not know-nothings or racists. A country that does not control its borders is not much of a county.
Coming into a country illegally is more serious than simply crossing a border without "permission," as asserted by Tobin.
The term "undocumented" alien is political correctness at its most absurd.
It should be remembered that the amnesty in the 1980s was supposed to be the final one. The borders were to be secured and employer sanctions enforced. That didn't happen then, and it won't happen now.
Economic studies have demonstrated that illegal immigration has driven down the wages of unskilled workers.
As such, legal immigration should be supported, and illegal immigration opposed.
Robert E. Cherwony
Comparing Immigrants: Truly a Zero-Sum Game
Again, liberals like Jonathan Tobin refuse to recognize the subject. It is not immigration that's the issue. It is illegal immigration (A Matter of Opinion: "Know-Nothing Flameout," Feb. 7).
Being a first-generation American, I resent Tobin's veiled implication that the majority of past immigrants who came here legally can be equated with the present illegal influx.
This new problem is a matter of law and order. Ignore this concept and chaos prevails!
Heroism, Not 'Amnesty,' Won the Day for McCain
I would concur with Jonathan Tobin that for pandering candidates and "one-trick ponies," the anti-illegal-immigration posture was never enough to close the delegate deal (A Matter of Opinion: "Know-Nothing Flameout," Feb. 7).
It is equally plausible to aver that John McCain has presumably won the Republican nomination despite his immigration policy, not because of it.
First, because he recognized that his immigration proposals were unpopular, but without retreating from them, he managed to shift focus.
Second, he piled on other unpopular mantras, such as telling Michigan residents that certain jobs would never return, and didn't back down from that unpopular position to win votes. He proved over and over that he was authentic, and he stuck by his opinions.
More importantly, he supported the war, advocated the surge and opposed torture.
This became a winning campaign philosophy because he never retreated.
One also cannot gloss over McCain's five-plus years of "street cred" emanating from his stay at the Hanoi Hilton, and his heroic behavior while in the hands of the enemy.
Over half a century ago, Joseph Campbell wrote a seminal work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Throughout time and cultures, people have yearned for and worshiped the authentic hero.
McCain: flawed, yes; temperamental, yes; controversial, yes. But he is also a hero, truly, marvelously and authentically.
King of Prussia
Podhoretz's Prophecies -- Needed More Than Ever
I was a graduate student at the University of Maryland in the spring of 1964, when I attended a symposium with Dwight McDonald, Hannah Arendt and a young lion by the name of Norman Podhoretz.
The subject was Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem. I had never heard of Norman Podhoretz or Commentary magazine back then.
I have been an avid reader since that day, and can honestly say that much of my worldview has been shaped by that magazine and by Podhoretz.
When the smoke clears (if it ever does) on America's role in the latter part of the 20th century and our current dilemma with Islamic terrorism, history will prove Podhoretz to have been mostly spot on in his opinions.
Even Samuel Freedman (Opinions: "Fulfilled Prophecy Puts an End to the Phantasms of Race," Jan. 31) gives Podhoretz his due when it comes to the crucial matter of race in America.
And Jonathan Tobin offers another prescient observation about Podhoretz and the role of neo-conservatism in American foreign policy in his recent column (A Matter of Opinion: "Were They Really So Wrong?" Feb. 7).
To put it plainly, Podhoretz is a giant and, although he is no longer the sprightly young lion that I discovered in 1964, I hope we have him around for a long time to come.
God knows this nation needs him now more than ever.
Martin S. Goldman
The Tolerance of Islamic Threat Is Akin to Suicide
We are perplexed by the position many in the Jewish community have adopted regarding the Islamic threat (A Matter of Opinion: "Were They Really So Wrong?" Jan. 31).
It distresses us that so many of our co-religionists aren't more alarmed by the belligerent actions and statements that terrorist regimes have espoused. It reminds us of those who chose to ignore Hitler's intentions.
Islamist front groups -- representing themselves as rights organizations -- are trying to infiltrate here by subtly exploiting racial and ethnic politics, under the guise of civil liberties.
They understand that the road to America's defeat will be the channels of law and policy. They are using influence, money and the universities to achieve this lofty goal.
It's one thing to be tolerant. It's another to be so tolerant that you wind up inviting the forces bent on destroying you to do just that.
It's no sin against mankind to recognize the enemy, and take every measure to guarantee that his influence and presence do not take root. It's purely an act of survival.