I don’t know what Keli Goff did to earn her right to be a US citizen other than be born in the US, live in the US, use natural resources in the US—you know, eat, breathe, shit in the US. She’s privileged though and apparently privileged enough to believe that she has the right to tell all of us who is more American than others—privileged enough to make very lazy arguments about immigration reform and people that incorporate conservative, racist tropes to make an emotional rather than intellectual point.
In making an emotional appeal for a friend, she reduces immigrants to a stupid, insensitive binary: those who are in the US illegally yet have proven their legitimacy and those who are in the US illegally and are illegitimate. Apparently, Goff believes two things: 1)that The Dream Act would be a great way to sort who belongs from who doesn’t and 2)that knowing somebody is as simple as hearing stories about them.
Goff believes a Pulitzer Prize winner has earned his stay more than a mother of three because he’s not a burden on tax payers and she is. PATENT HORSESHIT. (Of course, Goff is talking about media darling and liberal pet cause of the moment Jose Antonia Vargas, who I should mention does say a little bit about how everybody deserves equal treatment not just fortunate educated people. I give the guy credit, but his appearance now is much safer than it would have been when he was sixteen.) The problem is that her comparison is flawed and unjust. I think it’s relatively clear why we do not want to compare these two based upon their appearances and CVs. People have stories, just like Goff’s friend. Tthe law purposefully fails to distinguish between people based on their experiences. A broken law for whatever reason is a broken law nonetheless. Herein lies the problem with crappy, half-assed reform.
Goff’s concept Having Earned A Privilege may be improper, but it has a long history. Adam Smith worried about unearned ambition a long time ago in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. The poor mother who continues to have babies is less desirable than the man who is more successful. Open a Horatio Alger, Jr., novel—any of them—and the most apparent lesson is that the smarter and more physically attractive a poor person is, the more likely they are to be patronized by society’s most privileged people. In addition, men are more desirable than women.
In her editorial, she almost dares us to call her out for her explicit bigotry. Dig the clip MSNBC, or Goff, chose to show of the mother of three. It’s disgraceful. She gleefully praises her friend, showing a nice head shot of him smiling. He’s almost defiantly heroic and smiles in spite of his travail. She uses the worst possible footage of the unknown mother of three, though, to gain another kind of emotional response entirely. She can barely hold the one child in her fat arms never mind care for three. It’s a nasty set-up. “Who would you want?” Goff asks. The Pulitzer Prize winner who Goff’s mother loves or the unattractive mother who continues to have children that eat up all our resources.
And need I remind you of Goff’s sly hint at the racist “anchor baby” claim? She implies it without mentioning it, but she’s using it nonetheless. It’s bigoted. It’s bullshit. It should make you mad.
If you want to say citizens must prove they value the privilege of being an American before they deserve to become an American, you are a bigot. Not one of us born in the US need prove anything. We get our privileges unearned. It’s an unreasonable demand that should be vociferously rebuked. Moreover, Goff believes she knows who belongs and who doesn’t. Where did she get this power? Her mother? Fuck you, Keli, and fuck your mother.
Here’s Keli Goff’s profile at Loop21.net. I think everyone should drop her a note about her bullshit and tell her to pull her head out of her ass. We don’t need to cater to conservative, racist tropes in discourse about immigrants to gain ground and promote reform. The mother of three has as much stake in her citizenship as the Pulitzer Prize winner does, whether or not Keli Goff likes it. I need not like a person to welcome them into my home. I do it because it’s right.
Goff titled her segment “In Defense of Illegal Immigrants”. She’s not defending anything other than her petty notions about who does and doesn’t belong. She’s a hater.
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