U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was named to be the vice presidential running mate for GOP Presidential Nominee, Governor Mitt Romney. Ryan, the 1st District Wisconsin congressman, has carved a name for himself as a “budget hawk,” proposing a radical alteration in the US Budget that would cut entitlement programs to dramatically low levels. But ‘Paul Ryan Budget Guy’ is only part of the story of who Rep. Ryan really is. The other side of him shows a man who welcomes conservative views, even to the point of racism, but shouts down anyone who dissents with that point of view.
That was certainly the case at a series of town hall meetings in 2011, but the one that is most notable was held April 26, 2011. There, Ryan took a statement – question from a man who described himself as “an ex-marine, retired.” This is what he said:
“I’m a Master Sergeant, United States Marine Corp, retired. I want to make a suggestion that’s kind of controversial. Most people don’t broach the subject for fear of being called a racist. But a, we can save billions – and I mean billions of dollars – on illegal immigration. I put five months of the year down in Southern New Mexico, and middle of the month, and the end of each month, the post office is loaded with people who don’t speak english and have Mexican plates on their cars – and they’re fancy cars. A, mainly because they have anchor babies – they come across sneak across the boarder, and drop a baby and call that an American citizen. And this child has all the benefits until its 18. We just built a new school in Columbus, New Mexico, and cost $16 million and at 100 percent capacity with 97 percent of the children from Mexico. If we could cut (Ryan: “You mean they cross everyday?”).. Oh, yes sir. Buses down at the boarder pick the kids up and bring them three miles to the school. And when the kids get older, they hit the boarder, they take the buses from Deming, New Mexico 30 miles north. And they take the high school kids, feed em, and take them back down. We’re hemorrhaging money down on our boarders. We have Area 51, where they’ll shoot Americans if they try to cross into dreamland over there. But our boarders are pourous and the United States Government’s not doing much about it. Our boarder agents down there are overworked – they do what they can – it just, uh, the government’s not behind them. The places that have fences, tall fences, have worked to stem the tide. But it’ just pourous, they walk right through. But there’s billions we waste every year on this program.”
As you can see and hear in the video, Ryan said “I agree..” Mitt Romney’s VP selection never stopped to say that he did not agree with the use of the term “anchor babies” or the overall racist tone of what the man said – who himself admitted that it would sound racist.
But when the woman in the video responded with disgust over what the ex-Marine said, Ryan jumped to his defense and shut her down. Here, Ryan defended the man’s “right to speak,” but failed to defend the woman’s right to speak up against the man’s racist take on the illegal immigration problem. Ryan even said the term “anchor babies” himself – he says, reading his notes (see 4:46 time mark in the video) – and never once catches himself to correct his speech.
Anchor Babies Is A Racist Term
What’s surprising to this blogger is some of the commenters at YouTube don’t think “anchor babies” is a racist term. It is. Wikepedia says:
“Anchor baby” is a pejorative term for a child born in the United States to immigrant parents, who, as an American citizen, supposedly can later facilitate immigration for relatives. The term is generally used as a derogatory reference to the supposed role of the child, who automatically qualifies as an American citizen and can later act as a sponsor for other family members. The term is often used in the context of the debate over illegal immigration to the United States to refer to children of illegal immigrants, but could also be used in a similar sense outside of that context to refer to the child of any immigrant “when the child’s birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother’s or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship.”
ABC News reports that the term has a “controversial history”:
..in August of 2006, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn received two complaints from readers after he called for the arrest and deportation of a woman holding sanctuary in a Chicago church. Zorn referred to her child as an “anchor baby.” Zorn argued that the term had appeared in newspaper stories since 1997 “usually softened by quotations as in my column.” He said in a subsequent column that he regretted his use of the phrase and promised not to use it again.
And overall, the evidence shows that the term is borne more of racism than any basis in fact at all. Those who comes over to the United States from Mexico, regardless of how they get here, come to work – some happen to have kids. But there’s no glaring evidence that any one comes over with the purpose of having a child just to get health care aide or any other kind of assistance.
Still, those facts don’t stop anyone who wants to be what this blogger calls a “couch potato conservative” from not only using the term, but insisting that saying “anchor babies” isn’t racist, when it is. Ryan used it in the video without even catching a breath.
Ryan Shouts Down Or Arrests Disenters
Paul Ryan has shown a pattern of either shouting down, or in one case just outright arresting, dissenters. He did that September 7, 2011, when he was a guest at a luncheon of the Whitnall Park Rotary Club at Klemmer’s Banquent Hall in Greenfield, Wisconsin. Ryan also faced a negative audience at Whitnall High School in April.
His pattern has been to either shout down, avoid, or arrest anyone who wants to share a differing point of view. But he has no problem giving platform to a racist one, and even using a racist term.
This is the man Mitt Romney picked to be his vice presidential running mate.