To Gregg County leaders:
Don't buy into fear and ignorance represented
in proposed resolution on immigration
Any serious idea proposed by constituents might bear consideration, but I implore our county leaders not to follow their peers in Rusk County down the path of ignorance and fear. The actions of the Rusk County Commissioners Court can only lead us away from love and compassion for our fellow man and further down the sinkhole of hate and scorn.
From health care matters to school funding, I disagree with State Rep. David Simpson on just about any major political issue you can name, but I admire his principled approach to first assessing the immigrant situation and then taking a stand that he knew would not sit well with many of the people that some call “the base” of the Republican Party. He has demonstrated a great deal of integrity in recent weeks.
Personally, I refuse to accept that the people who decried Simpson’s stand and who have attacked other conservative officials who don’t toe their extreme line are really “the base” of the GOP. After long years of experience in dealing with truly principled GOP leaders such as Bill Ratliff and Kevin Eltife, I am convinced that the true “base” of that party is wondering how the situation ever came to the point we see now.
On the matter of the wave of illegal immigration by children and families during the past year, our nation and our state will be best served by leaders from both parties who, like Simpson, first stop to consider and address the humanitarian issues involved in the issue and then decide to work together to resolve the political and practical issues of what to do for the long term.
This situation is not going to be solved by a governor who goes the border, dons military-style garb and conducts photo ops with Fox News pundits while leaning on a machine gun. Nor is it going to be resolved by a president who lets himself be cornered by the political agenda of such governors and stands a bit too far above the fray of this debate.
We need the emergence of leaders on both sides of the political aisle who can put principle ahead of ideology. We need leaders who can put their spiritual values ahead of their party planks and who can recognize that no matter what distance these immigrant children and families have travelled, they are in every sense, including the Biblical sense, our neighbors. We need to love them, care for them and respond to them with that lesson in mind. Actually, I have been taught that “need to” is too weak … that I must love them and treat them as I would treat my Lord.
Locally, we need community leaders who can recognize the difference between bluster and principle; leaders who will stop and listen to men like Simpson or U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who lives on the border. Our Gregg County leaders’ reaction to the first salvo of public pressure on the proposed resolution earlier this week was evasive at best.
I implore Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt and my County Commissioner Darryl Primo to listen to these leaders of principle and fight back the urge to heed the clamor of people and organizations calling for an ill-considered resolution that will have no effect other than to put an official stamp of approval on fear and ignorance. Our local leaders need to take a clear stand against ignorance and fear when it comes to the issue of immigration.
Longview resident Pete Litterski, former editor of the Longview News-Journal, is a freelance magazine writer and author.