By Bob Ferris
I used to watch Peter Sellers and the Pink Panther series with great glee. In part, this was because of British-born actor Burt Kwouk and his role as Cato the servant and sometimes tester of Inspector Clouseau’s reflexes. We all laughed when Cato would launch a surprise attack at always the wrong moment to devastating effect. I am sure that the Trump Administration and their allies in this RAISE Act anti-immigration legislation push are similarly thinking of this iconic catch phrase. Why?
Because the Cato Institute (nee Charles Koch Foundation) just called horse-pucky on the claims of those in Congress pushing the bill. I think it is wonderful that this conservative think tank would criticize the authors of this bill as they have. Though it is interesting to watch them stand on their heads in order not to call Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA) liars for presenting misleading claims and falsities. Not now Cato, indeed.
And this was followed by Stephen Miller former staffer for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions IIII of Alabama and now with the Trump Administration who wanted to give a history lesson while omitting key facts and context. Miller was making an argument that the Statue of Liberty was not about immigration because the Emma Lazarus poem was an "add-on" in spite of the poem being used as a fundraising device for the statue base. I wonder if Trump’s six-month-pregnant grandmother saw it that way when she and her husband, who was expelled from Germany for dodging the compulsory draft, steamed past the statue in 1904. I wonder too if Trump’s mother who did the same in 1929 from Scotland felt the statue was about something other than immigration.
But we are used to this pattern of taking a slice of something to illogically characterize the whole. The poem about the statue and immigration was attached afterwards so the beacon drawing immigrants to the US is not about immigrant. The Founding Fathers were mostly Christians so we must be a Christian nation. The temperatures cooled for a period so global warming is a hoax. Now is the time, Cato. Now it the time for all of us to be Cato.