An Open Letter to Del. Matt Lohr

Jeremy Aldrich -- October 23rd, 2007

I am a voter in Harrisonburg and I received your flyer about immigration in the mail today. Del. Lohr, I am deeply disappointed, not simply because of your stance on immigration, but because you seem to be ignoring some key facts and perpetrate some common fallacies.

In the flyer, you state that illegal immigration is “an injustice to immigrant [sic] who have followed the lawful path…” For most of the undocumented workers in our area, there is no legal way for them to come to the United States. There are only 5,000 visas available for unskilled workers in the entire US, but by many estimates there are more than 10 million undocumented workers in the US, and about 200,000 in Virginia. Most of these people are employed, so obviously there is an economic need for the labor they provide, yet they are unable to come legally to fill our labor needs. To me, this is a key piece to understanding our broken immigration system. Instead of complaining on behalf of the many educated or skilled immigrants who are easily able to get US visas, you should work to make it possible for our labor needs to match our immigration laws.

Your flyer also states that you support “removing incentives for illegal immigrants to settle in our communities.” What does this even mean? People come here because we have abundant jobs, good schools, beautiful surroundings, and a friendly population. Which of these incentives do you want to remove?

Your flyer says you oppose “sanctuary cities,” meaning localities that tell government workers not to ask about people’s immigration status (such as Fairfax County and Virginia Beach). These policies allow immigrant communities to have positive relationships with local police and other government officials, instead of being afraid of being punished for their immigration status when they report crimes, answer questions from the police, register their children for school, or seek medical help. By the way, I’ve personally been part of a situation in which a victim of crime in Harrisonburg was then reported to ICE for suspected “illegal” status – and it made me sick.

Even though none of the people you’re accusing of destroying our Commonwealth can vote against you, that doesn’t mean you should ignore facts and logic when making decisions.

There are already plenty of laws about illegal immigration in Virginia, and although I’m sure this is an issue you can get plenty of attention with, it’s not what I want my state lawmakers spending their time on.

You seem like a nice enough man. You make a good impression on us by going door to door, meeting your constituents. But this part of your public identity – the uninformed immigrant basher – is enough to turn me off from voting for you any time in the near future. I hope you will reconsider your positions on this issue. I heartily recommend the recent documentary “Latino Underground” from our local PBS affiliate to help catch you up on the background of this important issue.

60 Responses to “An Open Letter to Del. Matt Lohr”

  1. Chad Gusler says:

    Thanks for your opinion. I, too, was disgusted by the flyer, and you have succinctly said all that I feel. Thanks.

  2. Emmy says:

    I agree you’ve said it all. The truly sad thing is, he knows it will get him votes. He doesn’t have to be knowledgeable on the subject or have any real plans to help the situation on either end. He knows all he has to do is mention “illegals” and that’s all that he needs to win. I bet he never deals with it again after getting re-elected.

  3. Josh says:

    Thanks for this post! I cringed when I saw the flyer.

  4. finnegan says:

    After my last documentary won a state award, Mr. Lohr mailed me a letter of commendation, which stated:

    “…Your commitment towards journalistic excellence will make you a trend setter in the Valley. I hope you continue to explore topics of interest to Harrisonburg and the surrounding county as you help to educate and enlighten the community using the medium of film…”

    Of course, I received that letter a week after I was laid off at WVPT. But I made absolutely sure that Mr. Lohr was on the list of invitees to the screening of The Latino Underground last week.

    If he was there, I did not see him. However, his opponent, Carolyn Frank, was in attendance. She sat next to me, and I could see her jotting down notes in the dark theater. I know that Mr. Lohr has also been invited to other events related to the topic of illegal immigration, which I have attended. I have not seen him at any of those. Ms. Frank attended the community discussion group at the library, and the Minutemen debate at the Ramada Inn.

    While I appreciate the letter, I’m disappointed that on the one hand, Mr. Lohr encourages me to “help educate and enlighten the community,” while he helps to perpetuate misleading information in the community on the other hand.

    I would encourage Mr. Lohr to truly educate himself on this issue. His opponent certainly has. I would be more than willing to meet with him to discuss what I have learned, and to give him a free DVD copy of the documentary (I should have those done in a week or two).

  5. Dave Briggman says:

    Jeremy: What part of the word illegal do you not seem to understand?

    They wouldn’t have to worry about fears of being deported when reporting as crime victims to local law enforcement if they hadn’t breached our borders in the first place.

  6. Bubby says:

    What does Matt Lohr, Virginia Delegate, have to do with United States immigration law? Seriously?

    The guy just spent two sessions in Richmond and delivered the worst transportation funding legislation this side of New Jersey. I guess that’s why he wants to talk about immigrants.

  7. Gxeremio says:

    Dave: what if every time you talked to a cop, they asked you if you had sped that day, and you knew that if they found out you had you would be fired from your job, separated from your family, and sent thousands of miles away because you had broken a fundamentally flawed law? It’s one thing to have to pay a fee or have some light, one-time sentence for a victimless crime, but our current system is just crazy- we need you here, but we’d better not catch you here!

    I mean, what was your stance on the abusive driver fees for ILLEGALLY driving inappropriately? As I recall, you found them excessive. What part of the word illegal do you not seem to understand? ;-)

  8. Dave Briggman says:

    I didn’t think the abusive driving fees were excessive, I thought they discriminated against Virginia residents and could only be “legal” if they were applied equally to all drivers, regardless of where they are from.

    Jeremy, I have absolutely no problem with a law enforcement officer asking people for proof of legal residency, checking them through an ICE database to see if they’ve breached and been deported previously (which I believe means that they are a felon if they have come into the U.S. again after having been previously deported).

    What is fundamentally-flawed about knowing who is in this country legally and who is not? I have no problems with legal immigration, but we as a people simply cannot continue to bear the fiscal costs for illegal immigration.

    From various sources, we have been 12 and 30 million illegals in the U.S., many of them want to take back the southwestern U.S. for their own. God knows what 30 million could do ARMED against this country from the inside if they wanted to.

    Sorry, I’m not an open borders guy…I seem too many areas where we’re all paying for it and I don’t remember agreeing to pay taxes in order to support any third party — especially those who have no legal right to be here.

    It’s damn rude of you to expect society to do so.

  9. Gxeremio says:

    Sorry to mischaracterize your position on abusive driver fees, Dave.

    But we should be careful about criticizing the illegal activities of other people. Especially when so many public records are searchable online. Do we really want to say, “illegal actions equals bad person, regardless of the circumstances”? I certainly don’t like the idea of someone looking over my traffic ticket history to judge my character! Someone who comes here to work, pays their bills and taxes, and follows all the laws they can is better for the community than someone born here who avoids taxes, doesn’t pay their bills and breaks the law repeatedly. Or is it really more important where someone was born than how they act?

    The evidence on “fiscal costs” is skimpy and often contradictory. I would welcome some data that compared the taxes paid vs. benefits received for different groups of people – undocumented workers, senior citizens, military veterans, and average American families. IF the undocumented workers are at a deficit, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that they’re at less of a deficit than those other groups. There’s no way our $9 trillion dollar national debt can be blamed on undocumented workers!

    The fundamental flaw I was talking about is not in the enforcement, it’s in the anti-capitalist, new-to-American-history laws that prevent hardworking immigrants from meeting the needs of American enterprise without living in fear.

  10. linz says:

    Other than “Lohr” the largest font on the flyer states, “Enough is Enough. Halt illegal immigration.” I agree with Bubby, what is Lohr really going to be able to do about it? It really annoys me when campaign materials seem to be developed with the premise that voters are stupid. Like, just by seeing that claim in huge letters, I should think, “Yeah! I’m going to vote for Lohr and stop all them illegals from crossing the border!” The issue is a lot more complex than “halting” anything.

    So that left me wondering if Lohr has any real plans for dealing with the issue as it relates or our community – in which he could actually make a difference – and I read on. Well, it looks like he’s in favor of removing the community “incentives,” whatever that means, but it doesn’t sound promising for any of us.

    Secondly, the flyer tells me that Lohr opposes sanctuary cities, thereby maintaining a fearful divide between government services (which working illegal immigrants do pay for with taxes) and the immigrant community.

    And thirdly, Lohr supports strengthening laws on illegal immigrants who commit [additional] crimes. What exactly is he looking to have done to these people that isn’t already possible? They are subject to the penalties determined by the governing body to be appropriate to the crime(s) as well as facing deportation on top of that. To me, the system does not appear to be weak when it comes to prosecuting and punishing illegal immigrants who commit [additional] crimes.

    So I have finished reading the flyer and have not come up with any reasons to vote for Lohr. Finnegan’s notes on Carolyn Frank’s efforts to attend community events and educate herself on the topic firsthand describe a much more reasonable prospect for Delegate.

    Oh, and so far she hasn’t sent me any mailings containing pompous hooey. But I would like other politicians to take a page out of Lohr’s book when it comes to door-to-door visits. I’ve seen him at my door everywhere I’ve lived in H’burg over the years and good old American pride bubbles up in me when I see him rolling up his sleeves so to speak and going door-to-door on his own behalf. Kudos for that. But all the more reason I was also taken aback by the flyer.

  11. Kelly says:

    “We need you here, but we’d better not catch you here!”

    Perfect statement, the joke of it all is that the jet-set republicans are all about illegal immigration because it saves them labor cost. The Wall Mart republicans can’t stand it because they feel that it’s a threat to their jobs (?) or their values (…”I had sex out of wedlock because I lived next door to a person from another country, damn those immigrants (?).”

    The main thing in my mind is that nobody leaves their family and community to find a greener pasture out of laziness or mean-heartedness. Our country was built on a foundation of people who wouldn’t accept the situation they were born in to and worked to make it better. Now we have a similar group coming in and we’re all threatened because…why?

    I, personally, will always have welcome arms for smart hard working people. I consider myself one and don’t see a threat from more like minded people being my neighbors.

  12. Tim says:

    last one was me again, Kelly and I share a computer, don’t want to mislead.

  13. JGFitzgerald says:

    Open borders or not is slightly off topic. More on topic is that Lohr ran against gays last time and is running against undocumented immigrants this time. He plays to the fears of those who’ll vote for him and demonizes those who never will. Shallow as a pumpkin patch, but it seems to work.

    Worth noting, however, that Lohr’s opponent parrots the “nation of laws” mantra of the nativists. If you want to decide who to vote for based on Lohr’s flier, all you have to go on is the fact that he sent it.

  14. Dave Briggman says:

    Joe, they’re “undocumented” because they’re ILLEGAL…doesn’t it screw up the regular ebb and flow of your conversations attempting to be so politically correct?

    And, Jeremy, I have absolutely no problem increasing the number of legal immigrants we can take in from other countries. I am in complete agreement that a large part of the service economy, which the Democrats constantly complain that those are not “real jobs”, depends in large part upon illegal aliens.

    I just think it’s absolutely a matter of national security who we have within our borders. As a matter of fact, those of us who were “imports” from more urban areas of the state and the country are probably more tolerant of foreign nationals that the “natives” to the Valley — with the possible exception of the Mennonite Community.

    Most other people from around here have a hard enough time dealing with the blacks we have in our community — let alone foreign nationals.

  15. finnegan says:

    Dave, I’m surprised that with all the lawyers you seem to know, you still insist on saying they’re illegal, as if they should all be charged with trespassing. You must know by now that being here without permission is not a crime under US criminal code. If you were a prosecuting attorney (US district court, or local CA) what what exactly would you charge them with?

    I remember when I was in Ireland a few years ago, I ran into this girl from Charlottesville. She was a US citizen, but she had been living in Ireland for at least two years. I asked her how she was able to do that, and she told me that when they stamped her passport, she told them she was staying for one month. She’s been living like a gypsy ever since, getting paid Euros under-the-table at restaurants, and moving from town to town.

    We both snickered at the fact that she had been stying there without permission, under the Irish radar. Because, you know, she’s a white American girl living in a white country. We both found it to be cute and kinda funny.

  16. Sharra says:

    I was wondering… I’ve been hearing about this but since I did not receive a copy of this flier… I’d like to see one. If anyone happens to know of where I could get a digital copy, or if someone would be willing to let me have a hard copy of their flier, I’d appreciate it. Please contact me about it! Thanks!

  17. cook says:


    Unfortunately, it is a complex issue and not as simple as Undocumented = lllegal = Let’s kick them out. It is more like Algebra II:

    Undocumented = Illegal = One stroke of the presidential pen from being documented = Documented only if we give them documents = We refuse to give them documents = They can’t get documents = We need them here to work = We allow them to come here to work = We encourage them to come here to work = We bring them here to work = We require them to show documents = We sell them phony documents = We require them to have valid documents = We refuse to give them valid documents = It’s entirely their fault = They are illegal = Undocumented = They are morally inferiior to us = We are morally superior to them = Let’s kick them around a bit = Let’s kick them out = We can’t kick them out because we need them here = Turns out to be not such a bad deal for us as long as they stay undocumented = Illegal

  18. Seth says:

    i feel like we should all be able to agree that illegal immigration is an issue that we need to deal with. i agree that the deport ’em all and let god sort ’em out sentiment is not a practical or well reasoned solution. i’m still waiting for someone to propose some better alternatives. i was dissapointed by the q and a session after Brent’s movie a couple of weeks ago. the film was a well rounded depiction of the complex issues swirling around this debate (nice work Brent) but when the lights came on and it was time to discuss, all i heard was hippity dippity ‘they’re people too and they have a right to live’ kind of stuff. no one wanted to discuss the very real problems we face as a result of the massive illegal presence here. even things that were explicitly mentioned in the film, such as the extra cost ($3000 per year i think it was) associated with each esl speaker in our public schools, were completely ignored as people took the opportunity to demonstrate their sympathy for these immigrants and make themselves feel like decent human beings. i also have a whole lot of respect for someone who risks their life in order to make it better. i am almost certain that had i been born in mexico, i would be here too (and probably not legally since it really is next to impossible). but i am also not naive enough to pretend that illegal immigration is not a growing burden on our society. i don’t think most of ya’ll are either. and in response to the ‘what can a state delegate do about it anyway?” the answer is a whole hell of a lot. plenty of legislation comes out of the states and sets the pace for how we deal with issues nationally. see car emissions in CA, or health care in MA.
    lets encourage Mr. Lohr and all of our other elected representatives to be constructive as they attempt to formulate solutions to these difficult problems and to quit pandering to rednecks and hippies

  19. JGFitzgerald says:

    Not “politically correct,” Briggman, but accurate and precise. The word “illegal” is not a noun and should not be used as one, nor should it be applied, as an adjective, to a person. The word describes actions, not objects or people. I understand that many of those who’ve adopted immigration as their cause du jour need a fresh grammar of fear and hatred, but the language also belongs to those of us who aren’t worried about immigrants.

    Even accepting the notion that undocumented entry is an illegal act (which is, more or less, true only for one who’s been previously deported), one is left with the phrase “immigrant who’s entered the country through illegal actions.” Seems to me if you’re concerned about the ebb and flow of sentences, then it makes more sense to say “undocumented immigrant.”

    I spent 12 years as a newspaper editor fixing the grammar, spelling, syntax, and verb-subject agreement of rookie reporters. If I can be of any further assistance to you in this regard, please let me know.

  20. Emmy says:

    Cook has it pegged.

  21. Reaganite says:

    The following is a free-to-Matt Lohr solution to our current problem, put in terms and means that my right-wing friends find necessary to use for all problems these days (those being governmental coercion of the individual, expansion of law enforcement power, and increasing the number of prosecutions as the measure of “increased public safety”):

    During this session of the General Assembly, a law must be passed that makes it a crime for a Virginia employer with more than 15 employees (we don’t want to unduly burden small business) to employ an undocumented worker. The punishment for a first offense (defined as one event or prosecution, not as one employee; but, feel free to make it per employee!) shall be a $500 fine; the punishment for a second offense shall be a $1000 fine; the punishment for a third offense shall be up to a $2500 fine and up to 12 months in jail for the top executive officer of the concerned business. If after 2 years, we still have a problem, then we will pass another law to make a fourth offense a felony with mandatory jail time. All funds raised as fines shall be be put in the Literary Fund to assist our schools (or we make them abusive employer fees and build more roads).

    Now, once this law is in place, we get our police and prosecutors involved. When a potential illegal immigrant comes into contact with law enforcement, law enforcement shall undertake efforts to determine the person’s immigration status. If they are illegal, then law enforcement shall propose the folllowing to that person: if you identify your employer and agree to testify against the employer at a trial, then federal authorities will not be notified about you and your criminal/traffic charges will be handled in the courts as if you were born in this country; if the person refuses to identify/testify, then ICE will be notified (as is currently being done) and you will be held until they can pick you up.

    All prosecutions of businesses under this new statute will be instituted by direct indictment in the circuit courts. As courts of record, this will make it easier to track repeat offenders and to publicize their illegal actions in the press. It also has the added benefit of increasing the sentencing event numbers by which (in part) we are able to justify the continued growth of all prosecutors’ offices.

    Now, isn’t that a better proposal than anything put forward by our delegate? Well, don’t be cynical and say it has to be better because it is a proposal and he really doesn’t have one! Also, ignore the fact that the proposal targets big (or, biggish) business instead of the poor little immigrant.

    If we really want the illegal immigrants to go home, remove the reason they come here: to work. We won’t have to catch and deport them, they will just leave. If we won’t do this because we care more about profits and cheap labor, then we should leave them alone and put up with our, not their, hypocrisy.

  22. Gxeremio says:

    Reaganite, I like the way you’re thinking here, but I should say that big employers don’t try to hire undocumented workers; it’s the last thing a corp wants hitting the news. They never hire people without papers, but they sometimes hire people with false papers because the law prevents them from pushing too hard to make sure their documents are legit. It’s an almost intractable problem, in my view.

    So the porous borders are a federal problem, the hiring laws are a federal problem, enforcement of deportation is a federal problem, and on and on. But as we saw last year, the federal government experiences a kind of paralysis in dealing with their problems related to immigration. To me, the solution for states and localities in the face of this federal abandonment is to legitimize all the people in our communities and recognize that it’s not in the interest or the power of state and local governments to fix immigration. The federal government created the problem by setting up a stupid system in the 20’s, screwing it up further in the 60’s, and then muddying the waters even further in the 80’s. Now it perpetuates the problem by refusing to fix it. States don’t consider it their role to fix our other stupid federal policies, so why this one?

    So I say, let’s address this not on a national scale but a state scale – people who live here and contribute to our society are citizens (in the classic sense, if not a federal sense) and should be treated as such by the state, including the ability to get drivers’ licenses, apply for bank loans, even vote in local and state elections if they meet residency requirements. Most of the “problems” of undocumented immigration that are borne by the states and local governments could then be addressed logically and effectively, rather than hoping for a deus ex machina solution from an unwilling higher power.

  23. David Miller says:


    Love it. That, in a addition to Gxeremio’s addition of documentation (ie federal identification) should take care of the “problem”. Or maybe the “issue” isn’t being lobbed at voters with the altruistic intent of fixing a problem. Maybe it’s just to create division (anyone remember gay/straight alliances, thank god we took care of that one).

  24. Dave Briggman says:

    finnegan, they’re illegal if they’ve breached our border AFTER they’ve already been deported…thus, it’s perfectly reasonable to run EVERYBODY suspected of not having immigrated here in accordance with the laws of the United States to be run through the INS database to see if they’ve been previously deported.

    If they haven’t been previously deported and not been charged with any CRIMINAL offense, cut them loose.

    And, Joe, you attempted previously to correct a supposed grammatical error regarding the term “illegal” alien…I think I demonstrated previously that you were WRONG.

  25. Dave Briggman says:

    Although I haven’t finished reading this document, here’s a great source about laws relating to illegal immigrants…and if Joe doesn’t like that term, how about wetbacks?

  26. David Miller says:


    If you are so unwilling to accept the buzzwords for hot “issues” that the right wing media (ie all media) create and use to divide us; then you might as well go back to Communist Russia, where they at least knew that their “news” was propoganda. God, its so un-American to question authority, think for yourself and use proper grammar. I mean…..wait……..that came off wrong.

  27. JGFitzgerald says:


    I notice you always capitalize the word “wrong” as if you were shouting it. Is this in emulation of some TV comedian or something? I admit to some cultural inadequacies. For instance, I was under the impression that the use of a term such as “wetback” indicated the deepest kind of bigotry, not to mention simple ignorance of the fact that most of the people you’re referring to come by desert, not across the Rio Grande.

    In addition to my curiosity about your capitalization of “wrong,” I also wonder why you often put up two or three comments in a row instead of just one. Were I to do that, I would take it as evidence that I hadn’t completed my thought before posting, or that I had too many bouncing around at once. But that’s just me.


  28. Emmy says:

    “and if Joe doesn’t like that term, how about wetbacks?”

    I love it when people resort to racial slurs during what could be good discussion.

  29. Dave Briggman says:


    I always capitalize the word WRONG with reference to you because you frequently repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. Pointing out to you when you’re WRONG is an attempt to help you identify when you’re WRONG so they you might not be WRONG again in the future…an effort that most will recognize as being futile, but an effort nonetheless.

    The term, “wetback” was coined by Dwight Eisenhower, when America actually had the balls to do something about illegal immigration.

    Instead of jumping to calling me a racist, why not (and I know this will be a stretch on this particular blog about this particular subject) educate yourselves.

    And, Jeremy, for the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what Hispanic journalists believe we ought to call the illegal aliens in this Country.

    You went from Libertarian to liberal exactly how?

  30. Gxeremio says:

    Haha…immigration is one area where I still agree with the Libertarians.

  31. Dave Briggman says:

    And the Libertarian position on the failure to defend this country’s borders is why we’ll never see an (L) in any significant role in this Country’s government.

  32. Gxeremio says:

    By the way, I don’t self-identify as liberal. I agree with some positions of the Democratic Party, but far from all of them. Plus, I don’t like the way the word liberal is used. It’s more of an emotional marker than a definable word for most people.

  33. John Marr says:


    Eisenhower did not coin the term, he simply used a preexisting derogatory term to name a program he was spearheading. Perhaps you may need to educate yourself a bit:

    Even if he had coined the term, why would it make it acceptable for you to use a word that is commonly understood to be a racial slur?

    Also – how can you justify discrediting someone’s ideas solely based on their race or country of origin as anything but racist? “for the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what Hispanic journalists believe we ought to call the illegal aliens in this Country”

    Emmy – well said.

    I apologize in advance if this takes the thread even further off topic. I’m sure this may inevitably turn into more finger pointing and name calling, but what was said was offensive, and I felt it needed to be addressed.

    We should all be capable of having a civil discussion without resorting to name calling, finger pointing, and derogatory comments.

  34. andy says:

    I believe Gxeremio’s original post was not so much about the issue of illegal immigration per se, which is a valid political issue. Rather, it was highlighting the not very subtle scare tactic behind Delegate Lohr’s platform. So I proclaim this thread officially now off-topic.

    To get it back on, I’d like to offer a quotation. A political operative from the 30’s and 40’s in Germany named Josef Goebbels was Hitler’s public relations man. He wrote that if you can successfully identify the “other” you can rule a nation. We all know how that story ended.

    Last election it was homosexuals, this election it’s illegal immigrants. Whatever your opinion on either topic, this political tactic is right out of Goebbels playbook and lots of Americans fall for it everytime. Just like the Germans did.

  35. Dave Briggman says:

    John. Don’t supply quotations from the College of New Jersey, where there is likely nothing resembling an objective mind within a 60 mile radius — I know, I frequent the campus and have met Professor Pearson. A more flaming liberal I have never met.

    Does anybody on this blog believe that this Country has a right to know just exactly who is within it’s borders and to weed out those who are not within it’s borders legally?

    Andy, that’s a cute trick of trying to compare Republicans with Nazis…kind of like making an argument that all liberals should be subjected to eugenics, huh?

  36. Gxeremio says:

    Dave, was that a trick question? Yes, we should know who’s within our borders to a certain extent. No, we should not weed out those who are not here “legally,” because 1) they’re humans, not weeds, and 2) no one’s presence here is illegal, though how they got here might be.

    I mean, I’m somewhat surprised to hear you coming out on the “cameras on every corner and national ID cards for every person” side, which is a lot farther than I would go, for sure.

    As apt as the comparison is sometimes, almost any reference to Nazis is inflammatory.
    Maybe it’s better to compare the scapegoating we now see to McCarthyism (blame without evidence) or Iran’s Islamic revolution (cast out foreign influence). I mean, they’re not 1:1 correlations, but elements of the same ideologies and tactics seem to be at work.

  37. JGFitzgerald says:

    Granted, comparing anybody to Nazis is inflammatory, but if you’re dealing with Briggman, who’s apparently added bigotry to his repertoire of nativism, invective, unsupported certainty, and over-dependence on obscure site “research,” you make exceptions.

    I’m reminded of the story of the high school teacher who, after assigning an essay on the use of dialect in “Huckleberry Finn,” received a half-dozen essays saying slavery was bad.

    It was, but not because of dialect, and the anecdote is about being off-topic, in case I wasn’t clear.

  38. andy says:

    No David, I did not compare Republicans to Nazis. I compared the campaign tactic employed in Delegate Lohr’s mailer to ones dreamed up by a Nazi operative.

    The Nazi’s killed millions of people. That’s bad. I did not imply in the slightest that Republicans kill people — you did. In fact, I never even used the word Republican in my post.

    My point is perfectly underscored by your response; you fall immediately into the false dichotomy of “Democrat vs. Republican”. Don’t you realize you’re allowing your agenda to be set by the parties and by the media that carry thier messages unfiltered? Come one, David, you’re smarter than that.

  39. JGFitzgerald says:

    “Come on, David, you’re smarter than that.”

    Actually, andy, he is. That’s why I think Briggman is engaged in a kind of performance art: Andy Kaufman as blogger, or something like that. I’m thinking he’ll use Myron’s victory press conference to announce his new career as a wrestler.

  40. Kyle says:

    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. ” –joseph Goebbels

    “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” –george bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”–sinclair lewis


  41. finnegan says:

    Anyways, back to the flyer… Here’s the WHSV story about it:

    “…But our country was founded as a country laws, and we need to make sure that we’re encouraging people to come to this country legally, and by providing services to illegal immigrants, we’re rewarding those who broke the law and who cheated,” says Matt Lohr.

    “The only thing that we can do as a local body and a general assembly is basically deal with the issues of illegal immigration, we cannot halt illegal immigration,” says Carolyn Frank, the 26th district candidate for state delegate.

    The election is in less than two weeks.

  42. Gxeremio says:

    What Rick Castaneda said after the documentary screening really got me thinking about the phrase “nation of laws” that is often used to defend blindly prosecuting (and persecuting) undocumented workers. This is a bad understanding of the concept.

    The phrase, “government of laws, not men” may originate from John Adams, who in the midst of the Revolutionary War (1776) wrote “Thoughts on Government,” a defense of republican government (in the sense of having elected representatives). He said, “We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best… If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form? Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it…. [T]here is no good government but what is republican. That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; because the very definition of a republic is ‘an empire of laws, and not of men.’ That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangement of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics… As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good. ”

    A further iteration of the idea comes from Chief Justice Marshall in 1803, who said in the Marbury v. Madison judgment: “The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws, whenever he receives an injury. One of the first duties of government is to afford that protection. The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.”

    In other words, being a “nation of laws” means the elevation of rights above rank, the pursuit of justice rather than the perpetuation of power structures. It does NOT mean that we must bow to the “powers that be” and enforce their edicts without regard for their effect. Goodness knows we’ve had some horrible laws in our country’s history (the Indian Removal Act, the Fugitive Slave Law, and the Jim Crow laws to name a few), to say nothing of the myriad strange laws throughout history that defy logic or explanation, and certainly don’t merit enforcement.

    The proper stance towards a bad law is not obeisance, but challenge and defiance. This is especially true when that law infringes on someone’s fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Using the “nation of laws” bit to justify denying those rights to undocumented workers and their families is not only wrong, it’s contrary to the very meaning of the term.

    I read a beautiful article on this topic that I recommend to you.

  43. linz says:

    Lohr’s comments:

    “..and we need to make sure that we’re encouraging people to come to this country legally…”

    Somebody needs to watch the documentary, cuz it ain’t that simple.

    “…and by providing services to illegal immigrants, we’re rewarding those who broke the law and who cheated.”

    God forbid that every cheater and lawbreaker in our country should be refused public services.

  44. David Miller says:

    God forbid that people are kept alive, we should really just block the door to the ER and let em’ die in the street. Our nation of law demands it.

  45. Dave Briggman says:

    lina and Dave Miller, can you provide me with any legal citation that requires my family or me to pay for medical bills incurred by ANY third person, whether they are in this country legally or not? Can you cite anywhere in “our nation of laws” a statute which states that illegal aliens cannot be treated at our emergency rooms? I think not.

    It is a violation of state and federal law to refuse ANYONE appearing at an Emergency Room emergency treatment.

  46. Dave Briggman says:

    Damn, 2.5 hours of silence on that last question…you guys must be thinking really hard. I caution you though, when my 3 year old thinks hard, he sometimes forgets to go to the bathroom and ends up pooping in his pants.

    I don’t suggest that. :-)

  47. Gxeremio says:

    Haha. Your last comment made me laugh and make a face at the same time!

    You asked two separate questions. I will try to answer:
    “Can you provide me with any legal citation that requires my family or me to pay for medical bills incurred by ANY third person, whether they are in this country legally or not?

    Depends whether or not you think you’re required to pay taxes, which pay for Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, etc. etc. Are you saying that you don’t believe the government uses your tax money to pay for medical care for people outside your family?

    “Can you cite anywhere in “our nation of laws” a statute which states that illegal aliens cannot be treated at our emergency rooms?”

    Well, I don’t think any of the previous posters suggested that’s what the law currently says. They were responding to the idea of Matt Lohr saying it’s a bad idea to “provide services to illegal immigrants.” However, it is interesting to note that the feds are trying to change the rules of what is an “emergency” to exclude more treatments from coverage. So now, many life-saving treatments (like organ transplants and chemotherapy) are not covered under Emergency Medicaid, the only government medical program that undocumented non-citizens have access to.

    By the way, by “lina” I assume you meant “linz.”

  48. Dave Briggman says:

    The fact is, Jeremy, that we are obligated under the law to pay taxes and we have absolutely no say as to how that money is spent.

    Of course, your answer to the first question is non-responsive.

    I’ll mark your second answer as non-response as well. One doesn’t report to an Emergency Room for chemotherapy. And, as that article says, many states agree that treatment that would require an appointment doesn’t not constitute “emergency treatment” — certainly not emergency room care.

    While his or her name may be “lina”, she wrote “linz” in the above posting to which I responded to.

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