THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION -
MISSING A LINK OF LEADERSHIP
Self-examination can be a useful tool in the detection of medical malfunctions. Liberals and conservatives can reassess the packaged messages they offer for the public's consumption and consideration by employing this same technique. As a moderate-conservative, I have performed a self-examination on The Candidate's Briefing Book-Issues 2002 as prepared by The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).
True enough, The Heritage Foundation offers many solid leadership ideas for conservatives to consider and liberals to criticize. Fair game in the arena of public discourse.
Unfortunately, there is an alarming void among the 24 topics that comprise The Candidate's Briefing Book. That void is the issue of immigration. Leadership in denial perhaps?
Clicking on the link buttons can easily access the 24 topics. Articles and backgrounders are provided to familiarize candidates with salient points. A great source of broad-spectrum brain food.
Wondering if this 'always to be avoided' topic might have found something of a home within other topics, I reviewed a number of the categories. A most disappointing journey in many respects because the complexities of immigration manifest themselves in many public policy areas.
I especially surveyed the links on trade and national security. Not a fruitful effort. The trade category revealed one article titled: The Best Aid for the World's Poor. This piece made the case for improvement in economic infrastructure and freedoms as key to effective use of money. Valid points, but still no links to how and why economic chaos is spurring legal and illegal immigration, with the United States as the desired 'brass ring'.
The national security articles numbered 49. They dealt with military topics. Where are the articles on linking national security to a strong and well-managed immigration policy? Even I know there is more to national security then only arms, ammunition and intelligence. Apparently, the intellectual link between compromised national security and an immigration policy out of control has not been fully integrated into the conservative mindset. If such were the case, surely there would be a couple of articles with such a focus.
The topic of immigration (legal and illegal), however, should have its own category. It deserves to be a topic that candidates understand they must learn about and about which they should be ready to articulate their position.
This self-examination of the Issues 2002 is not meant as a criticism of the thoughtful and professional caliber of articles and backgrounders in the briefing book. It is, however, clearly intended to create the awareness that conservative leadership, in the context of developing public discussion and focus, has a void that needs to be filled, and filled quickly.
Immigration policy is one of the most 'uncomfortable problems' this nation is facing. It is a grave dis-service to this nation for leadership groups of any political persuasion to avoid making it a major item for political discussion. What happens when you avoid effective leadership on problems of this magnitude? Well, 9-ll for one small thing.
Far more importantly, however, avoidance by leaders to adequately profile such a problem creates polarization, jealousy, voter exploitation, ethnic divisiveness and abuse of social, human and natural resources in the United States. A poorly run immigration policy is one of the worst un-funded mandates caused by ELECTED officials who refuse to solve the problem. It is not just the problem of the country from where folks are fleeing. By not preventing the problems of other countries from exploiting the citizens and infrastructure of our nation is to have elected officials fail at citizenship in the most fundamental of terms. Elected officials are a result of candidates running for office. There is a connection, a leadership connection.
This leadership connection can be made if think tanks, leadership forums and conferences, 'message builders' all make a commitment to this nation to take what ever 'tough love' steps it must to link leadership to problem solving. Thoughtful discourse about the complexities and necessity of a good immigration policy serves to fairly invalidate accusations of racism and victimization. It builds appreciation for all nations involved to take their full responsibility for creating the crisis and helping to solve the problem.
That linking of leadership to problem solving can start by publicly recognizing that immigration policy should be on every candidate's platform. It should be link number 25 in The Candidate's Briefing Book-Issues 2002. There has never been a better time! The nation awaits your leadership.
~ Etherzone, March 27, 2002
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