I posted this to RedHot the other day, but a conversation in our little cabal made me decide to open it to whatever comments y'all might like:
Most Americans are not techno-libertoid late-20s/early-30s cubicle dwellers with corresponding views of politics and social issues. In other words, they are not blogosphere dwellers. At best, we're putting ourselves in a position to get demagogued like mad on this, either by a clever Democrat (they do exist) or by a third party that'll get to our right. Most Americans will pay an extra $.25 for a head of lettuce so that bands of illegals don't loiter in a Home Depot parking lot, and so that their fundamental sense of justice isn't violated every time they drive by a construction project. Regardless of the merit of the law, those folks are breaking it. Americans inherited a fairly strong sense of law and order, and when there are folks here glaringly and without much hesitation clearly breaking the law, it rubs a lot of folks the wrong way. And that's without once getting into racist sentiment, MeCHA's blathering notwithstanding.
The fact that they're now organizing in protest marches -- after coming here in violation of the law -- is not gonna sit well, long term. We ignore this, in crass partisan terms, at our peril. We ignore this, as being the only remotely serious political party governing today, at our nation's peril.
What's worse is how this is being handled. The folks setting policy -- and, respectfully, the folks discussing this issue on this blog and others -- live in the D.C.-N.Y.C.-Boston corridor, or on the East Coast, by and large. They don't deal with this issue day in and day out. While illegal immigrants are now everywhere, the problem is developing by and large in the South and West, which is to say, the biggest law-and-order sections of the country. I suspect that's why there's a growing discontent between the policy makers, who tend to view this in bloodless, abstract, sometimes economic terms; and the folks on the ground, who do not.
Frankly, I suspect that the GOP is gonna get pasted on this; not because we will have an internal civil war over the issue, but because our policy positions -- including, and especially, the Senate bill -- are so far out of step, and because this issue is starting to really heat up, that we're going to take the Democrats' traditional place at the wedge end of a 60-40 issue.
The least bad thing I see coming of this is the rise of a third party. I have a famously low opinion of human nature. If this problem isn't resolved, posthaste, then we get to find out if men are inherently good, or if the Founders were right.