If he weren’t so woefully injurious to the sensibilities of others, I might actually consider it a blessing to have Rep. Dana Rohrabacher around. By “around,” of course, I mean as a dead weight lashed around the legs of the Republican Party as is struggles to swim from the shipwreck of 2012 to shore. He’d be the Democratic Party’s secret weapon, if he could keep his barking mad stupidity a secret.
Just as the Republican Party suddenly gets clued in to the idea that bashing of “illegal immigrants” — what I call “unauthorized residents” and some call “undocumented workers” — is really not conducive to long-term (or even medium- or short-term) electoral success, here comes Rep. Rohrabacher to make a hash of that in grand and baroque style. It’s impressive, in its way.
Rohrabacher is currently raising money for — OK, being used to raise money for — PICO, a progressive faith-based group calling itself “People Improving Communities through Organizing.” (The link is to their FAQ.) Rohrabacher — in the manner of last year’s failed Republican U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, the “no abortion even in case of rape” twins — just did something really memorable, something that we’ll be talking about for a long time, something that may have Democrats sniffing the beach air and reasoning “well, if Ron Varasteh could win 39% of the vote against Dana in the 48th District with almost no budget, maybe I could move in and help rid the country of this embarrassment.” But I’ll let PICO tell the story — they, after all, are the ones raising money off of it.
This appears under a beautiful photo of young Jessica Bravo, an OC resident with a nice smile, a strong spine, and a compelling story.
During a recent visit to Washington, Jessica, an 18-year-old aspiring American, walked into the D.C. office of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher – her hometown congressman – excited to have a meeting with him to discuss citizenship legislation.
The congressman, a powerful man three times her age, told her “I hate illegals,” and threatened Jessica and her family, shouting at her “I know where you live!”
No matter what Rep. Rohrabacher thinks about immigration reform, what he did was just plain wrong. Every person is made in God’s image.
I spoke to Jessica, and while she is still hurting – she wants to stand tall. Not just for herself, but for all the other 11 million aspiring Americans who are our neighbors, friends and who worship in our faith communities.
I told her that none of God’s children deserve hate. I also said that I know that the PICO National Network and our allies will fight for her and others like her even harder in this citizenship debate.
Just to make it clear how many people of faith have Jessica’s back, will you join me in calling on U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to publicly condemn the behavior of his colleague Rep. Rohrabacher? And then, invite your friends and family to join you in sending a clear message to Speaker Boehner?
The message to Speaker Boehner reads:
“None of God’s children deserve hate. We call on you to publicly condemn the actions of your colleague Rep. Rohrabacher against Jessica. This incident will motivate us to fight even harder for a roadmap for citizenship for 11 million other aspiring Americans.”
We’re going to take your signatures and deliver them. We’ll be using your notes to condemn these attacks and demand an apology from Rep. Rohrabacher. We will push his allies to condemn the remarks as well as to support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million other aspiring Americans like Jessica.
Then, we’re going to call the media and make sure they know what he said to this young woman and that people of faith everywhere are standing up against this kind of ugly rhetoric against any of God’s children.
Please join me and people of faith from across the country in standing up to these ugly attacks. Jessica and the 11 million others like her deserve better.
With concerted action from our community, we can demand better treatment from members of Congress for the 11 million aspiring Americans just like Jessica and get a fair hearing for a path to citizenship they deserve.
With faith and hope,
Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews,
Director of Clergy Organizing
P.S. Read Jessica’s story as published on the Sojourners blog today. What courage this young woman has.
She’s the kind of young adult we should be pleased to welcome as a citizen; the kind who, unfortunately, until the federal DREAM Act passes has to be worried about the prospect of deportation. And what Dana Rohrabacher says to her, to win an argument, is: “Now I know where you live.” (This was just after asking her, at the end of their meeting, whether she’d signed the guest register for meeting with him. Classy!)
To be fair, the impression I get from the movies is that this argumentative gambit does work for mafiosi and other villainous types trying to scare vulnerable people into submission. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Rohrabacher decided to wield this weapon for show, the way he has many others.
The problem he faces is that it turns out that Americans do seem to have some limits when it comes to what they’ll accept of their public officials — look at non-Senators Akin and Mourdock, look at the treatment of Crazy Wayne LaPierre. And damned if he may not have just found a way to undercut all of the nice-nice that Republicans are trying to make during this cycle.
I’d almost want to thank him for making the job of Democrats too easy. That may be letting him off too easily, though. I will wait until after Jessica Bravo does so first.