Buyers — that’s all of us — who oppose what’s going on at our Southern border do have some leverage. Why not inquire of merchants whether or not the local chamber to which they belong has coddled up to the national chamber on immigration? They will get the point, and conversation can ensue.
Labor Day is approaching, and there is little doubt President Obama will use his pen to sign an executive order legalizing the “children” in the Not-All-Children’s Crusade.
Just a guess, but I say the president, who loves imagery and symbolism, will use the Labor Day weekend to bring the U.S. Chamber more low-paid laborers and the Democratic Party more voters. If he does, then … so much for the supposed great divide between business and Democrats, and so much for the love between conservatives and business leaders.
America is being played. We could speak of the embarrassment if only there were time. It’s better to treat a crisis like a crisis, especially when it’s purposely created, and to keep pressing our leaders for a solution. If the U. S. Chamber was not complicit in its creation, it seems to be hunky-dory with the result. So does its chief megaphone, the Wall Street Journal.
Even conservative columnist George Will has lost his way on the Not-All-Children’s Crusade. On national television, Will asserted, “To say we cannot absorb these children is absurd. It will mean only 27 children per county.” Surely Will doesn’t think that’s how the “children” will be distributed. No, they will be taken to counties and cities — and local schools — in large numbers, not in groups of 27.
I repeat: Ordinary citizens do have some leverage. It’s time to use our pens, phones, computers, and legs to let local merchants and local chambers know that we know what the President and the national chamber are pushing.
Except for ultra-liberals and outright socialists, Americans can and do appreciate the role of chambers of commerce. Most Americans still agree with Calvin Coolidge that the business of America is business. Commerce and religious faith have made America what she is.
As a public school teacher, paid (such as it was) with public funds for my services, I fought the unionization of teachers my entire career. In the ’70s, I helped start a non-union teachers’ association which today is by far the largest of the four teachers’ organizations in Georgia, and a good one at that. My philosophy was if you give me a job, I’m loyal or I’m leaving. I will not organize against you. I’ll find someone else to work for if I don’t like working for you or for your pay. In other words, my philosophy has been a Chamber of Commerce philosophy.
But the U. S. Chamber, created to counter powerful labor unions, is simply lax, loose and wrongheaded about illegal immigration. It plays games with the word “amnesty.”
As it turns out, the chamber has made some wrong political decisions. In the recent Kingston-Perdue U.S. Senate race, the chamber deserted one of its own, long time businessman and CEO David Perdue, for incumbent career politician Jack Kingston. Their candidate lost.
According to the Bloomberg Report, the chamber spent $33 million on races in 2012, only to lose 36 of the 50 elections it participated in.
The chamber continues its denigrating of tea party voters. It dismisses Tea Partiers as Know-Nothings and as an embarrassment to the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal consistently editorializes against them with the same attitude.
To which tea partiers could and just might soon say, “Go ahead. Spill your scorn.”
The chamber is forgetting the smartest politics builds coalitions and scorns no one. Republicans are in trouble if tea partiers go elsewhere or stay home.
It was the tea party and other regular folks that re-energized the Republican Party as recently as five years ago. It is absolute folly for the chamber or anyone else to scorn a party’s core, but that is exactly what the U.S. Chamber is doing.
The pictures of the children on our border are heart-rending. The president and the chamber know that, of course, and they’re hoping emotion will override rationality. Rationality says that America’s ability to absorb all the world’s “tired and poor” is not infinite. Neither is the political savvy of American voters so weak we can’t tell when we’re being had.
Ostensibly, the chamber has become part and parcel of the president’s transformation scheme.
This is not only foreboding, but deeply ironic: a socialist-leaning President and the nation’s business leaders in bed with each other.
Roger Hines is a retired high school English teacher in Kennesaw.