What is a conservative? Is he or she a person who believes in branding illegal immigrants as criminals, executing felons even if it is against the conservative belief in "life" and violating the privacy rights of American citizens? Or is a conservative someone who believes in compassion, justice, privacy and civil liberties? These questions haunt the so-called conservative movement today. This discussion is important because if conservatives are to successfully oppose President Obama's attempts to move our nation far left, we must first figure out who we are as conservatives.
Lets look first at the immigration debate. For decades our nation has allowed immigrants to cross the Mexican-U.S. border with impunity. Other illegals have entered the country through other means. We now have millions of illegals here, and in the face of a severe economic crisis, which has heightened traditional American xenophobia, states like Arizona are passing draconian and reactionary laws meant to make illegal-immigrant status a crime.
Regrettably, many conservative groups, including the organization I founded but later left to run for the U.S. Senate, Judicial Watch, have venomously applauded Arizona's new law with particular pleasure. Of course, this helps raise money for their coffers, but is it true conservatism to beat up on immigrants? While we all want secure borders in the future, particularly for national-security reasons, as Americans we must always remember that our ancestors were immigrants who frequently fled foreign oppressors illegally; "the huddled masses yearning to be free." My Ukrainian grandparents, for instance, were illegally smuggled out of the Soviet Union. There is no crime per se in wanting a better life and to be free. So if immigrants have entered this country illegally, they are not necessarily bad people. However, the mood among many conservatives today is to treat them like felons, with all the attendant racism that flows from this.
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I call upon fellow conservatives to treat these illegals with respect and to understand that it is impossible now to throw all of them out of the country, particularly since many industries depend on them. The hard fact is that most native-born Americans will not do the menial chores illegals will do. This fills a void in our economy. Let us show some compassion and common sense and force our government to close the borders to illegals in the future, but not harm families, with children, who are already here – whose only "crime" was to come here illegally. While I never, in general, liked President George W. Bush's policies, I thought his immigration bill, which allowed illegals to earn citizenship, made a lot of sense.
Then there is another issue I find troubling among my fellow conservatives – that is capital punishment. How is it that conservatives generally believe in "life," but are very willing to allow a corrupt and hugely flawed court system to condemn someone to death? As I discuss in my new book "Whores: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment," the legal system is so compromised that innocent people are found guilty of capital crimes. Are we prepared to execute them under these circumstances? Indeed, in many instances life sentences, with hard labor, would be a more severe punishment. Thus, why compromise our values and kill people? Only God can take a life.
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Finally, at least for this column, there is the issue of privacy. Conservatives believe generally that the power of government should be limited whenever possible. Conservatives also profess generally to believe that an individual has the right live his life in private. However, during the administration of President George W. Bush, secret warrantless wiretaps of American citizens were the norm, and few if any conservatives spoke out. I, of course, filed suit against the president for this, which case is still winding its way through the courts. But, as a conservative, I have always been troubled that most so-called conservatives are happy to allow police powers to run amok, but when it comes to social programs complain about the power of government. In this age of Obama socialism, which I myself oppose, I find this inconsistency in the conservative movement very troubling.
So, fellow conservatives, these are just a few examples of the inconsistencies in our own ranks. That does not mean that we all must think and act the same. Clearly, an issue-by-issue analysis is necessary. But the fundamentals of what it is to be a conservative must be addressed. Its time that we all took stock of who we are . For if we cannot figure this out, how can we forcefully fight against the left? The fate of our nation, as envisioned not only by our Founding Fathers, but also ourselves, hangs in the balance.
To be a conservative is to be a thinker, not a "Kool-Aid" drinker that follows the "wisdom" of predictable, opportunistic and ratings-hungry conservative talking heads on radio and television. For if our movement is to survive, defeat the left and save our nation from Obama socialism, we must first decide who we truly are and what truly American values we stand for.