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The Political Werewolf

If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.

All righty, here we go.

Why I'm Not Voting for Bush

Yes, you read that right.

Tomorrow is what's known as Super Tuesday, when just abut every state that hasn't had their primary yet gets their out of the way. Typically, one candidate on the non-incumbent side runs away with the votes that day and the rest of the nomination process is a formality. Since John Kerry pretty much has this thing wrapped up anyway, even tomorrow has been looked upon by many to be pretty anti-climactic.

Here in California, we've got our own issues to deal with - on top of nominating a candidate from our party, we have four propositions to vote on (which reminds me: No on 55, HELL No on 56, Yes on 57, and Yes on 58). But even though the Republican Primary is by all accounts a slam dunk for Bush, I've decided that now is the time for me to make a statement to the administration and tell them that I don't like the way they're handling certain issues.

George W. Bush has been a very good president. He's been fantastic on the war on terror. He's doing everything he can for the economy. His pursuit for a marriage amendment is a bit of a reach, but I like how he's responding to the anarchists in Massachusetts and California who are basically ignoring the Constitution and the will of the voters. But on other social matters, he's been pretty weak. Almost as soon as his $400 billion spending plan for Medicare was passed, the price tag suddenly jumped over 30%. He relied on the Supreme Court to rule against the campaign reform law he signed that restricts the very kind of speech that the first amendment was designed to protect - political speech - and the courts went along with it.

But even those issues pale in comparison to the one stand that Bush has taken which, in my opinion, is mishandling one of the most critical issues of this country right now: illegal immigration.

If people actually knew what kind of a drag illegal immigraton is on this country in every apsect - education, health care, welfare, jobs, crime, even traffic - you've have lynchmobs in the streets with pitchforks in hand. Granted, that's not what I want either, but the flow of illegal immigrants into this country is rapidly reaching critical mass - and all Bush wants to do about it is run up the white flag and give them all guest worker status.

Now, I know that just about everyone who is coming into this country is doing so for honorable reasons. America is the pinnacle of prosperity around the world, and many people want to escape their miserable conditions and try to make a better life for themselves in here. But just as there's a right way and a wrong way to cross a street, there's a right way and a wrong way to cross the border. If you don't cross the right way, then you need to go back and try again. It's a tremendous disservice to those who do follow the legal process of entering this country to allow so many people who aren't willing to follow that process to be given the same privileges and opportunities that they have earned.

I know it seems callous or insensitive to say some of this. Most of these immigrants are desperate to find a better life elsewhere; I can sympathize with that. But the more illegal immigrants we allow into this country, the more overcrowded our schools and hospitals will become, the fewer jobs will be available for other residents, the more tax dollars will have to be spent on health care for all of them. We simply don't have the means to tend to every person who wants to come to America, and the more illegal immigration seeps into this country, the more the livelihood of every American is diluted.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we build an electrified fence around this country. That's not the way America works. It would be hypocritical of us - a nation of immigrants from its very beginning - to wall off the country and turn everyone else away. But the way we get a handle on this problem is by tracking down the people living in this country illegally, and sending them back to their country of origin. Yes, I know that many of them have already established themselves and started families here in the states, but we have to be firm here. If we let an illegal immigrant off the hook because they have a child now, the whole point of this would be lost. Everyone who enters this country illegally understands the risk involved with their action. If they realize that getting caught will result in the loss of everything they've accumulated in this country, then maybe they'll think twice about taking that gamble.

Instead, though, Bush is suggesting we do the absolute opposite - give the illegal immigrants in this country an opportunity to earn their residence by becoming guest workers for several years. Now, never mind the fact that this logistically makes no sense - if these people didn't bother to enter the country legally, and they understand that the government is making no attempt to stop them, then what's going to make them follow this process lawfully? - the result that amnesty would have on illegal immigration would be directly antithetical to what we're trying to accomplish. The tidal wave of illegal immigration wouldn't diminish, it would hasten. Even more people would enter this country illegally in the hopes of getting in before the bill was passed.

Sadly, I think this is the one case where Karl Rove and Bush's political advisors are winning out over the principles of the base. This is an election year, and I guess Bush figures he needs to shave off as much of the traditionally Democratic Hispanic vote as he can. But in doing so, he's alienating his true supporters. People like me, who've stood up and argued in Bush's defense in many different issues, from his tax cuts to the war in Iraq. Many Republicans - especially from border states, who have experienced the effects that illegal immigration have on their lives - are not happy with the stand Bush has taken on this issue, and in my case, I'm going to stand idly by.

So who am I going to vote for if I'm not voting for Bush? Well, to send a message that Bush needs to get tougher on illegal immigration, I'm going to write-in my vote for the person I know who has been most vocal and most passionate about this issue - Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado. I've heard the man speak, and I feel that he's the party's best spokesman about the problems that this country is facing as a result of the spread of illegal immigration. This is all I can do as a voter, but as a conservative I feel that I have a duty to stand up for the issues that I think are most important for this country.

I know that Tom Tancredo won't come anywhere near winning this state's primary. If I can get my message out on a radio show or two, maybe I can get a thousand people to follow suit, and maybe he might get enough votes for the media to mention it - and the administration to take notice. It's the longest of longshots, but this is my chance to show to everyone that I'm not some Bush cheerleader who immediately and unquestioningly agrees with everything he says and does. When Bush does something I don't like, I'm going to do something about this.

Of course, in the November election, I am most certainly voting for Bush. It's a no-brainer to whom I would rather trust the economy and security of this country. As I said above, those are two places where Bush is doing a bang-up job. But I cannot, in good conscience, support George W. Bush without first making an attempt to point out his most visible flaw. Maybe it'll work, and maybe (probably) it won't - but it's my vote, and I can cast it how I choose.

Care to discuss this?

Previous columns:

2/22/04: The Natives Are Restless
12/17/03: Catching the Rat
12/9/03: Thank God for Freedom of Religion
10/8/03: We're Not Gonna Take It
8/27/03: Getting Rid of Splinters
7/14/03: Where's the Utopia?
6/30/03: Minority Reports
6/9/03: With a Capital D and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism