Dear UCubed Leaders:
Listening to the car radio last night, I heard an ad that started:
We have a jobs crisis in America and Washington is making it worse. Over 21 million people are looking for full-time work. Our labor participation rate is now the lowest since the 1970s.
It caught my attention. Not since Romney’s Bump in the Road video had any advertiser put the problems we face so succinctly.
But then, the female announcer shifted tone. She continued:
Yet our government continues to allow in over a million more foreign workers a year. That’s right. In this sagging economy, our government is still letting in over a million foreign workers to take all kinds of jobs from engineers to accountants, from dieticians to school teachers.
So this was an anti-immigration ad aimed at the unemployed and underemployed. The phrase “to take all kinds of jobs” sought to draw support from working-class and middle-class voters, from white-collar and blue-collar workers.
But the next line demonstrated how nativist, know-nothing sentiment so easily elides into a political screed:
Under President Obama, over two-thirds of new jobs have gone to foreign job seekers. Today many Americans are being discouraged from pursuing careers in science and technology fields because of ever-increasing competition from foreign workers.
The ad ends with a plea for a “fair chance at American jobs” and sends listeners to a new FAIR website. FAIR stands for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Their campaign website portrays a man in a suit and red tie holding a sign reading “will work for food” while sitting with a sad-faced little girl. The wall behind this tableau is painted with “slow mass immigration until Americans are working again.”
Like the five 40 by 10 foot banners that spell out JOBS on the Chamber of Commerce headquarters building across from the White House, the FAIR campaign ad and website are examples of how demagoguery takes the truth and twists it beyond recognition. By playing on their emotions – fear and frustration, loneliness and hopelessness – such demagoguery exploits the jobless but provides them with zero jobs.
In fact, the plight of America’s jobless is being used to advance policies that are inimical to their interests. Their hopes of ever finding work are being delayed by inaction and betrayed by indifference. And yet, the siren call of the demagogue resonates with some.
For those who love this Democracy, now is the time to speak truth to power. Tell your Representative that you oppose efforts to derail real immigration reforms. Tell them that you stand with ALL those who want to work, period.
In Unity — Strength,