What have I done?

UPDATE: The Email bounced back. Here's the message:
User mailbox exceeds allowed size: okgop@okgop.com

I've been writing letters lately. And sending them. Scary territory. When I was a journalist (and young), I simply refused to allow myself to form opinions (or think - so much easier) and reported on what happened. It's taken a while and growing up some to just get sick of what I read, hear and see. And now I thinking ... and live more wholly in our world.

Here's something I sent to the Oklahoma County Republican Party today in reaction to a email newsletter I received yesterday. No idea how I got on that list. But I tell you, I'm reconsidering having any affiliation - for any party.

First, here's the part of the email that I received from the party ...
Message from Chairman Jones

Bipartisan immigration reform legislation authored by Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) , HB 1804, was signed into law last week in Oklahoma and is called the most meaningful immigration reform measure in the nation. Speaker Cargill praised the legislation, and said that "It's about time we started looking out for the interests of millions of Oklahoma taxpayers."

Not only are we ahead of the curve at the state level, but our senior Senator Jim Inhofe is leading the fight for reform at the federal level. Just recently, Senator Inhofe introduced immigration reform legislation in the Senate and also called for English to be America's official language.

The debate on immigration is far from over, as opposition groups are set to take legal action against HB1804. As things heat up, I have a question: what happened to the melting pot?

The "melting pot" term was first used in the early 20th century as thousands of legal immigrants were coming to America. These early immigrants came to America to be American. They learned our language and assimilated into our society. In the process, they brought something new and valubale to America, just as America had much that was new and valuable to offer them. This concept seems to be lost on most illegal immigrants today, who show very little interest in our culture or becoming American.

As President Theodore Roosevelt put in: "There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag."

America is clear, we don't oppose legal immigrants who come and assimilate into our society, but instead illegal immigrants who have no interest in becoming American and who represent a hidden tax on American citizens. So as we continue to debate this issue and find ways to address it, let's not forget---or give up---on the melting pot concept in America. It has worked for this country in the past, and can again.

Here's my email:

Mr. Jones,

I received your Oklahoma Republican Party email this week. I just wanted to share with you, as a registered Republican in this county (for the moment), that I was offended about your comments about HB 1804.

Your flippant remarks and insinuation that our neighbors do not want to be American sounds racist and ignorant. If you are going to compare our country in the early 20th century when immigrants came to become part of the "melting pot" you describe, it is only fair to go back another 200 or 300 years and recall that white European settlers murdered, plundered, raped and annihilated Native American and Mexicans who first "settled" this land before we proclaimed it Our Land.

I know this issue is not easy. I am not a proponent of illegal immigration. I know the problems non-tax paying citizens create for our economy. I also see the double-standard of letting "illegal" children go to our schools, and hiring "illlegals" to do the dirty jobs involved in the back breaking work of the hog and poultry industry, or pouring concrete and hammering shingles in triple digit Oklahoma temperatures. The answers are not easy. Boasting about our reform and claiming that illegal immigrants do not want to become part of our society is wrong and hurtful - and confuses the issue.

Have you met any "illegal" families?

I do know some of them. They long to learn English, if only someone would teach them, or befriend them. They love America. They love their families. Many of them are here to scrape together any money they can to send back home. Right now, they are scared. They are making plans to move to another state that hasn't passed so-called "meaningful immigration reform" like Oklahoma or some will go back to Mexico. What they will leave behind are their American citizen children who will be left with friends and neighbors so they will have an opportunity for education and jobs. After generations of doing nothing, this reform is tearing apart very close-knit families.

Have you ever tried to learn a new language as an adult? It is very difficullt, especially when there is no one to teach you, or extra money to pay for a course. Don't tell me those Russian, Polish, German, Irish and others who made up our melting pot all learned English either. They depended on their own children and grandchildren to translate and teach them.

In addition, there are plenty of American citizens who also do not want to assimilate into our culture and couldn't pass a basic citizenship test.

There are Oklahomans very concerned about this issue, and not just because it's drains "millions of dollars from our state economy." It's because we are humans caring about other humans. Some of us are even Republicans.

I could kick myself for not paying attention to this legislation before it was passed. But that's my fault, not that I have any confidence that I would have a voice anyway. In the meantime, we are among those of us out here, trying to calm the fears and panic of Hispanic families - helping them find solutions so their families aren't ripped apart and they go back to Mexico to unsafe water, no jobs and no future.

What does our country ever do to reach out to the nation of Mexico, to help make that country more desirable for its citizens? The country of Mexico is our neighbor. Americans should be ashamed that our closest neighbor is a third world country.

I have heard enough rhetoric and hurtful headlines from both parties. None of it does any good - it doesn't lead to solutions and only intensifies stereotypes and unkindness. I can tell you that I am not alone in these viewpoints. You are going to lose us. I am not one to generally write critical letters or let my voice be heard. Rest assured, these viewpoints are out there, and they are strong.

Dawn Shelton


  1. Go Dawn!

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