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The blame game in Washington was continuing even as the clock ran out on the chance to keep the federal government in business after last week's end. It's enough to make readers of Arkansas' Newspaper wonder who's acting like spoiled brats--the innocent young people whose fate is being decided in this congressional debate or the alleged adults in Congress debating their fate.

Then there are assorted other questions less than central to the immediate business at hand, like the precise vulgarity our president used to describe the less than favored nations around the world. Irrelevancy, thy name might as well be the Congress of the United States at an unsettled and unsettling time like this one.

Even this state's junior senator, Tom Cotton, who used to be Arkansas' great hope, now is proving a great disappointment. He sounds unsure about the continuing issue before the U.S. Senate--how to avoid a government shutdown--and has taken refuge in explaining how tough his job is, how carefully he has to tread, and so forth and so disappointingly on. As if the rest of us are supposed to forget that nobody made him take the office he sought so avidly. "No one wants to see these people face deportation. They were brought here as children years ago through no fault of their own. But if we give them legal status, we have to realize that's inevitably going to encourage more illegal immigration in the future, especially with children, which is a dangerous thing to do."

If the senator would permit us, allow us to point out, that, no, as free and rational beings as well as American citizens, we can choose the dangerous course, just as he did when he chose to join the U.S. Army as a lowly infantryman instead of settling for a nice safe berth with some corporate law firm or as a law clerk to a member of the judicial branch of government.

Each of the country's major parties seem to be too busy blaming the other for this impasse to break out of it. Why not just do right as God gives us the power to see it and let the devil take the hindmost? Or would that be too simple a solution to this oh-so-complicated problem? A problem that's not complicated at all if our leaders would just remember that simple solutions are better than complex ones and the simplest best of all.

So let's keep it open and running. And instead of blaming each other, let's remember that united we stand. Instead of muffling freedom, let it ring loud and clear. Instead of bemoaning our fate, let us determine it. For we Americans are no more pawns in some game of politics than these dreamers of the American dream are. Why hold them hostage to Washington's small and self-centered game? For we are a generous people, and still hold up the torch of liberty beside America's open door. And it's all paid off as the children and grandchildren of those immigrants legal and illegal have built a nation that is still the envy of the world.

So, no, don't close that gate or put up a sign saying No Admission, but open it wide--and never deign to shut it. For our history is still largely the history of immigration. And let's never ever forget it. Let's keep on truckin' instead of holding these new Americans or their government hostage to politicians' partisan whims and small-minded games. God, keep blessing this land of the free and home of the brave no matter our origins. For it is not our past that's the most important thing about being American but our still shared future.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Editorial on 01/21/2018

Print Headline: The gates of freedom

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  • 23cal
    January 21, 2018 at 7:42 a.m.

    About Tommy's "But if we give them legal status, we have to realize that's inevitably going to encourage more illegal immigration in the future, especially with children, which is a dangerous thing to do."
    I don't know how much that is going to "encourage" desperate people. I tend to think desperate people will continue to move with or without anyone with a brain can see they did before Obama started DACA. If protecting children through DACA was so "encouraging", one would think that illegal immigration numbers, especially for families with kids, would have surged exponentially since 2012 when DACA began.
    * didn't surge in fact, illegal immigration has gone down since 2012. The facts....simple numbers.....kind of give the lie to Tommy's xenophobic claim.
    What DOES seem "encouraging" for illegal immigration is that employers will supply the parents with jobs. It would seem reasonable that stricter punishment for employers would better address "encouraging" than punishing innocent children who are already here.
    It would seem at best that Tommy's priorities are misplaced.
    Who can't see that Tommy is just pandering to the farthest right xenophobes and racists who happily ignore facts and numbers and gladly throw innocent kids under the bus because of their own xenophobic paranoia?
    91% of the DACA kids are employed and 100% have no criminal record.

  • cliffcarson
    January 21, 2018 at 7:49 a.m.


    When the Illegals register as illegals acceptance or rejection can begin. Failure to register means they remain illegal. How many illegals are in the United States? Rather than 800,000 I seem to think that it is somewhere between 10 and 20 million.

    Ignoring this problem does not solve it. There are two decisions to be made:
    Address the Illegals already here
    Stop new illegals from entering

    The Two Parties and their minions are the problem

    America needs a Party that is American in deed. Current rules make that almost impossible.

  • BoudinMan
    January 21, 2018 at 9 a.m.

    PG actually used the root "disappoint" twice in reference to Tom Cotton (In His Ears). Whew! My head is spinning. Between PG's diatribe (for him) against Ranger Tom, or Masterson's support of the little guy, I had to check twice to make sure I was reading the ADG.

  • notbot
    January 21, 2018 at 12:32 p.m.

    PG, beautifully stated piece of writing!

  • Lifelonglearner
    January 21, 2018 at 1:35 p.m.

    I am happy to see that one positive result of having President $45 in office is that your editorials have stopped being so biased.

    Continued illegal immigration is all about cheap, willing labor for American industry. Otherwise, there would be more than a few locally owned convenience stores being raided by ICE, and major illegal employers would be in jail instead of desperate families.

  • PopMom
    January 21, 2018 at 3:05 p.m.

    Beautiful column. Thank you.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    January 21, 2018 at 3:37 p.m.

    Paul, if that gate is opened wide, the welfare state must end, and all American traditions will die as with all Americans way of life.
    Immigration is not for the benefit of the immigrant, but for our country.

    January 21, 2018 at 4:23 p.m.

    Greenberg makes slight reference to an enigmatic and unpredictable President unable to provide substantive leadership or direction on any issue. The lapse of a day is like a sea change in Trump world. This art of the deal surely must be on the level of kindergarten finger painting.