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The Democratic Party has struggled since 2010 in building critical mass consensus among voters, save for the blue-hued metro regions. One reason: Special-interest voting blocs demand demonstrative fanatic fidelity.

Any politically correct, entitlement-ordained, protester-driven stimuli now produces a Pavlovian response: Democratic mouthpieces are spurred to antagonistic salivation.

If synergy produces a result that is greater than the sum of its parts, this new leftist doctrine--uncivil extremism is no vice in the defense of special interest causes--does the opposite. It produces a dissection, each part taking away disproportionately from a common-coalition sum.

Tax-cut legislation: swift and slavering denunciation. The fact that a great many middle-income earners were appreciative of higher take-home pay amounted, literally, to discarded crumbs at the unholy feast of opposition furor. Supreme Court nominee: slobbering smears and slander. The 11th commandment of abortion-at-will reigns absolutely supreme, over senatorial repute as well as constitutional qualification.

The latest grail to be hoisted low is the iteration du jour on immigration. Mentioning the phrase "migrant caravan"--like the proverbial metronome in Pavlov's lab--unleashes prodigious secretions of slobbering support for its hordes. What rational person would ever mindlessly endorse such an indeterminate mob en masse?

Within its total number, which the UN semi-officially estimated to be some 7,000 or so, the fact is there are many individuals that no normal American wants in this country.

Cross-sectioning any average group of 7,000 Americans would produce a number of ne'er-do-wells. Nationally, among 7,000 U.S. residents selected at random there would be 193 criminals, including 27 violent offenders. There would also be more than 875 marijuana users, and just as many rehabbers from cocaine use at some point.

If we drill down to an average selection of 7,000 Arkansans, the crime numbers go up to more than 252 criminals, of which 39 are violent.

Take 7,000 from certain major metro areas--Detroit or St. Louis, for example--and it gets scarier: more than 140 violent thugs, plus nearly 350 garden-variety thieves and vandals.

And these are First World American samples, with our advantages of education, civilization, government stability, public safety and general prosperity.

The countries of origin for the caravan--mainly Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala--have none of those advantages shaping their populations. Indeed, they are overrun with gangs, violence, drugs, crime and corruption at rates we can barely imagine.

Latin America contains only 8 percent of the world's population, but criminals there commit more than a third of all global homicides. In some Latin American cities, the murder rate is 30 to 40 times higher than the U.S. rate.

"People here kill people like they're nothing more than chickens," quipped one Honduras mortician.

There is so little rule of law in Latin America that the concept is all but abandoned on the masses, and it's anybody's wildest guess how many lawless, malevolent marauders are caravaning toward us.

Most folks have a bipartisan aversion to those types coming to America, and most also prefer to not import more drug addicts, prostitutes or vice lawbreakers. The problem, of course, is that while many and maybe most of the caravan's members might be good, decent people, we can't tell which is which by looking out over the swarm. In the mass of moving bodies, criminal miscreants are indistinguishable from liberty-loving saints.

That's why we have an immigration process. Its rules and procedures help us identify immigrants who will become valuable citizens; those are the ones we want. For foreigners actively persecuted by their government, we also have humanitarian asylum policies, which self-serving immigrants are happy to dishonestly abuse.

A petty El Salvadoran drug dealer who is "persecuted" by a cruel kingpin may genuinely fear for his family's safety; "flight from fright" is a common Latin American theme. But he does not deserve an asylum spot ahead of truly innocent refugees suffering persecution because of their religion or race.

Our American integrity requires that we exercise due diligence in order to rightly award asylum. That's why it's both puzzling and shocking to see how many liberal politicians are so willing to turn an entirely blind eye to the trampling of fairness by immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally.

Those immigrants most deserving of our national compassion, appreciation and devotion are the ones who scrupulously and patiently comply with our application process and laws. Newly minted citizenship that starts with doing the right thing is infinitely and inherently more precious to the republic.

This caravan was launched in crime-ridden Honduras, and in interviews various members have candidly explained their dubious exodus. One caravaner admitted to being previously deported from the U.S., but said he misses his video games.

By law, any deportee who re-enters illegally is permanently barred from any chance of legal American citizenship. The gamer migrant doesn't respect that law. And chances are, when other American laws conflict with his personal desires, he won't respect those either.

Likewise, logic suggests that the immigrant who sacrifices to obey our laws, before he even gains his citizenship, is likely afterward to remain lawful and respectful of legal authority.

Shhh. The metronome clicks, again.


Dana D. Kelley is a freelance writer from Jonesboro.

Editorial on 10/26/2018

Print Headline: Pavlov-style politics

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  • PopMom
    October 26, 2018 at 6:43 a.m.

    As a Democrat, I want these people screened, and no, I am not in favor of open borders. However, I don't approve of racism in any form. Not all hispanics are bad people as this column seems to imply. Having seen these people walking, there seems to be a fair number of women with children. Perhaps many of them are just in search of a better life for their children? Yes, we have some MS-13 people in the country who cause us some trouble. We also have millions of hard working hispanic people who perform important work which keeps our economy growing. When their young people attend our quality public schools (which we do have in some parts of the country), they excel and grow. It delights me when the children of recent immigrants gain acceptance to some of the best colleges in the country. After all, this is the American dream. Our ancestors came here for a better life. Our we to jerk closed the door of opportunity for others? If so, we should just dismantle the Statue of Liberty now. It may no longer belong in New York's harbor.

  • Dontsufferfools
    October 26, 2018 at 7:39 a.m.

    Let's see, in the 2016 voting, Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump, and Democratic Senate candidates received 6 million more votes than GOP Senate candidates, facts that blow up this column's lead paragraph.
    Now, as to that caravan. No one is suggesting that we open the gates and let everyone wander in. Obviously, the next caravan would have 100,000 people, and the one after 1 million. The Pavlovian salivating is being done by Trump, whose demagoguing of immigrants now includes flat-out lying about ISIS members infiltrating the caravan's ranks. If you want to get exercised about something, Kelley, that should be the topic. When the president makes such unfounded statements, how can we ever believe what he says in a time of crisis?
    Instead of beginning a conversation about addressing the problems in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that are sending their citizens fleeing north, Trump demagogues. His lack of empathy for desperate people trying to emigrate — to a nation founded by desperate people who emigrated — is flabbergasting. Kelly's use of dubious statistics to vilify these people is shameful, too. Good job of rousing the rabble, though.

  • WhododueDiligence
    October 26, 2018 at 9:09 a.m.

    This is awful. Hopefully it's just temporary madness, but apparently Kelley has become totally captivated by his party's Big Daddy Dear Leader Donald. Kelley complains of antagonistic Pavlovian salivation in response to a political mouthpiece. Could there be any better example of that anywhere than the frequent political rallies orchestrated by his party's Big Daddy Dear Leader Donald? How Pavlovingly responsive can entranced partisans get? Did Kelley recently attended one of those?
    I hope he gets well soon.

  • Packman
    October 26, 2018 at 9:18 a.m.

    Earlier this year I went on a cruise that ported in Belize City. As we reached port the cruise director kept coming over the loud speaker and telling people to beware of crime in Belize City and to not wear jewelry or carry large amounts of cash outside the cruise terminal. Seems the place had something of a reputation for high levels of criminal behavior. Dana Kelley nailed it.
    Bottom line is America is either a nation of laws and borders, or it's not. It's insane to argue against protecting our borders and allowing this type of "immigration" to occur. Simply insane.
    Kelley touched on it but the Democrat Party sh*t in its mess kit when it made the conscience decision to blow off high school educated white males in favor of identity politics. They felt it a winning hand to pander to feminists (the Kavanaugh debacle), socialists (the Warren/DNA test debacle), and immigrants (the mob headed to the US from Mexico) and it's all pretty much backfired spectacularly as those ignorant, uneducated white males have become energized to vote.
    And all they had to do to win the House and Senate in 2018 was not be crazy. That's all they had to do.

  • LRCrookAtty
    October 26, 2018 at 9:29 a.m.

    Kelley...Great column using facts and statistics. However, you fail to understand the average leftist posting here. They do not care about facts or statistics. It is all about subjective "feelings." If what I say makes me feel better than everything is okay. Some will even try to lie to us (by the way without any facts supporting their argument) and say that there are "millions" of illegals here that are not committing crimes. The problem is that the left has removed "illegal" from illegal immigrants therefore they are no longer criminals for past crimes. They must have committed another crime since entering the country. Not only that, but they must have committed another crime, been caught and been convicted. Never mind the fact that they are criminals for subverting our immigration laws.

  • WhododueDiligence
    October 26, 2018 at 10:18 a.m.

    "Special-interest voting blocs demand demonstrative fanatic fidelity."
    Regarding the migrant caravan, Kelley then accuses Democrats of "prodigious secretions of slobbering support for its hordes." That's awfully demonstrative, awfully fanatic-sounding, and awfully faithful to Trump's awful claims that awful criminals are entering through open borders.
    In reality Americans don't want and don't have open borders. In reality the migrant caravan won't be allowed to freely enter. Trump knows that but he continues to repeat "open borders" for knee-jerk political effect, and he continues to use the migrant caravan for self-serving political theater as if he alone has completed his great wall or his iron curtain to turn back the evil hordes and save America.
    Americans DO want comprehensive immigration reform. And every time comprehensive immigration reform comes up in Congress, which party demonstratively and fanatically opposes it? That's Kelley's party with its knee-jerk cries of "amnesty" shouted so loudly that congressional Republicans are intimidated into ending the discussion. And yet decade after decade Republicans knee-jerkingly blame Democrats for America's immigration problem.
    This column is loaded with Trumpian knee-jerk partisan stuff like that.

  • GeneralMac
    October 26, 2018 at 10:52 a.m.

    ..." are just in search of a better life "

    If that is the rationale for letting people in, the majority of third world population will be coming.

    MANY countries have worse poverty than those in that caravan have experienced.

  • PopMom
    October 26, 2018 at 11:34 a.m.


    There are criminals everywhere--in big cities of Europe and in many in our nation. I am careful when I walk through the streets of Little Rock.

  • RBear
    October 26, 2018 at 11:34 a.m.

    And I see we have a new troll joining the usual crew of right wing trolls. Of course, this one has as little in terms of facts as the other right wing trolls. I wonder what "facts" he has that dispute the argument there are millions (actually said in general terms, but he's a nitpick) living in the US who don't commit crimes.
    The fact is there are numerous studies including one from the Cato Institute that validates PM's position. With the latest Pew Research number showing there to be a little over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US and a crime rate of about 1% among them, that means that over 10.8 million are NOT committing crimes. Then again, why should I care about facts and statistics when I produce them in rebuttal?
    I'm sure the new troll will blitz the article with comments since apparently the case load he carries is almost non-existent.

  • LRCrookAtty
    October 26, 2018 at 12:11 p.m.

    Rbear..."11 million undocumented immigrants in the US and a crime rate of about 1% among them, that means that over 10.8 million are NOT committing crimes."
    Assuming that you are not just making up the numbers, that is still 200,000 ILLEGAL immigrants committing crimes that should not be hers.