By: Gregory Kane
This Memorial Day, there’s one gravesite I’ll make sure to visit. The only problem is, I don’t know where it’s located.
But I’m sure the object of my search is definitely dead. That would be the thing I call the Great American Backbone. Remember when this nation, and its leaders, had backbone?
That backbone must be dead. How else do you explain Mexican President Felipe Calderon swaggering into Washington D.C. earlier this month, proclaiming Arizona’s law requiring cops to question those legally stopped about their immigration status “discriminatory,” and getting a standing ovation from some members of Congress?
How else do you explain the silence from most members of Congress after Calderon urged them to pass another law banning assault weapons, as if he had the business to presume to tell us how to run our country?
Calderon is the one who can’t get a handle on drug gangs waging a veritable insurrection in his country. You’d have thought those Democrats who cheered him on would have mentioned that, but they were too busy groveling.
It was the most craven display since Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan chumped members of the National Association of Black Journalists – at their own convention. That one happened in 1996.
The NABJ had invited Farrakhan as the keynote speaker. He spent most of his speech dissing the journalists, talking about how their “failure” to go to bat for him when the “white media” criticized him. After he got through telling them how worthless they were, the journalists rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
I’m betting most of them were Democrats.
The nation’s leading Democrat, President Obama, was no better than those in Congress. After Calderon expressed his disapproval of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 during a press conference in the Rose Garden, Obama was quick to second the motion. Here’s what Obama should have said to Calderon:
“It’s inappropriate for you as a head of state to comment on our nation’s internal matters. Furthermore, Mr. Calderon, our nation liberalized its immigration laws considerably by passing the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965.
“The result has been an influx of immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East that has transformed America into the most ethnically and racially diverse country in the world. Your country, on the other hand, has mostly Mexicans, and, compared to ours, a rather draconian immigration law.”
Yes, that’s what Obama should have told Calderon, and would have told him, if he had the backbone. But Americans who cast ballots in the presidential election of 2008 didn’t go for backbone. We went for change, hope and the audacity of hope. We had little use for backbone, and in Obama, we’ll never get it.
But my search for the gravesite of the Great American Backbone may be premature. Maybe it isn’t dead. Maybe it’s simply fled the Democratic Party and taken up residence in … Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.
It was Cornyn who chided both Calderon and Obama for the Mexican president’s stepping out of line with his comments. It was Cornyn who mustered the backbone to tell Mr. “We Send Back Them” that if he wants to be part of America’s debate about illegal immigration, then he’s more than welcome to move to this country and apply for citizenship.
When Obama and the rest of the nation’s Democrats were getting seconds and thirds of wuss juice, Cornyn was in the line getting an extra dose of backbone. I hope he has enough to spread around to the Democrats.
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.