Yesterday, the leader of a foreign nation — visiting Washington as a guest of the American people — stood before the United States Congress and denounced a democratically enacted state law. Apparently taking his cues from his American counterparts, the Mexican president condemned a bill that either (a) he has not read, or (b) he has read, but chooses to intentionally distort for political purposes. For example, during his remarks, Mr. Calderon incorrectly asserted that Arizona’s law “introduce[s] a terrible idea of using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.” The legislation explicitly forbids racial profiling.
On Wednesday, appearing at the White House, Calderon again assailed Arizona for passing a law that “is forcing our people to face discrimination.” Charles Krauthammer asks the incisive questions:
If they’re his people, well what are they doing in the United States? If they’re his people, why do they leave Mexico, abandon his country, to live under the jurisdiction and the laws of the United States?
Calderon surely knows the answers to both queries — but he’s content to overlook them and shift blame for his own country’s dysfunction so long as the gravy train of American remittances continues to prop up its economy. Perhaps Mr. Calderon also forgot to prepare a passage in his speech excoriating his own nation’s draconian and discriminatory (by comparison, and by his own standard) treatment of illegal immigrants.
I’d imagine that many Americans are repulsed by the spectacle of a foreign leader lecturing and hectoring our elected representatives — on our soil, no less. Although Calderon’s hypocrisy and misplaced sanctimony may be galling and undignified, one could argue that at least he’s doing his job. He is simply tending to the best interests of his own country and people: stricter enforcement of American immigration laws would hurt Mexico, therefore, he opposes it.
Yesterday’s truly scandalous behavior, therefore, was not Calderon’s speech. It was the reaction of many American members of Congress — mostly Democrats — who stood and applauded his dishonest and self-serving invective. It was a despicable scene: Elected American representatives enthusiastically cheering a foreign leader for his salvos against an American law passed by a freely elected legislature, signed by a freely elected governor, and supported by a substantial majority of Americans.
It was a jarring display of how dangerously out of touch our elite “leaders” have become, and how willing they are to (yet again) cheerfully ignore the will and interests of their own countrymen. For far too many of them, the ultimate goal is not the defense of a Constitution they swore to uphold, but an indefatigable pursuit of a political ideology that – as our president recently articulated — transcends borders and traditional notions of national sovereignty.