I was on the phone doing Coffee Party USA business, a trans-partisan organization when a man approached me. I think he wanted to talk politics but did not know where on the spectrum I fit. It was easy to discern that he was a Trump voter. MAGA and all.
This Trump voter, I initially thought he was stuck in his ways. I could not believe that with all that had happened he could still embrace his guy.
Earlier on I remember he was defending the President on the premise that somehow his utterances would materialize. But it's on immigration where I think he had an epiphany. He was all in with the wall and bought into the fallacy that illegal immigration is a significant problem in the U.S.
How did he come to his epiphany? He read. He found an article he could believe that pointed out the stark reality that America is not creating enough babies to take care of the older generation. He got it. But how is that to square with his previous state of reality. It did not matter. The message reached him, and he was going to do something about it.
My friend showed up at Starbucks with a big grin.
"I want to talk to you about immigration," he said. "And you are going to like what I am going to say."
"Really?" I replied.
"We need immigration," he said. "Lots of it."
Suffice it to say; I was shocked. The Trump voter explained that we were on an unsustainable path. He realized that Social Security would go bankrupt if a lot of immigrants were not let into the country. He said he would write a piece for my blog detailing his thoughts on the issue.
A few days ago, sitting across from me on a shared table, he flipped his computer around.
"Here it is," he said. "Tell me what you think."
I read it. Absent a few 'erroneous facts' it is a negotiable concept. A Trump voter turned supporter of immigration will not have suggestions like a Democratic Socialist. This wasn't empathy. It was transactional. But if you can get Trump supporters to arrive at the tenet that immigration is good and immigrants are inherently good, that is a massive achievement.
My friend titled the piece "COME to AMERICA: Monetize Immigration" which I found amusing. Look, he is a Republican. His first paragraph starts with a false premise but ironically it had little impact on what he wants to accomplish with immigration.
America, we have a problem. Immigration is the foundation of America, but illegal immigration is growing exponentially, causing a political divide rooted in polarization without a pragmatic solution. The problem is not going away. America is now competing globally for our political and economic future. Let's change our paradigm. Let's grow America with human power.
He starts in a place Progressives would mostly like or can live with to some extent.
At the moment, the illegal and legal immigration challenge is mired in endless debate and it is out of control because we are too focused on these tactical topics:
- Strengthen the Border- build the wall (physically and/or digitally)
- Illegal Self-Deportation- destroy incentives (anchor babies, access to benefits)
- Improve Legal Immigration- improve the legal process (use work visa)
- Use America's Military at Borders- legal or civilian voluntary solution
- Mandate E-Verify- end employer hiring of illegals with penalties
- Legalize with Amnesty- settle the immediate population (maybe 20-40 million)
- Strengthen Interior Enforcement- the most controversial (criminal targeting)
Let's end the immigration debate. We no longer need to argue about open borders or the terminology of legal versus illegal immigration. Let's take control of the problem and address the big picture of how America can compete globally and thrive.
The Trump voter realized that immigration is also about growth and he modifies MAGA to Make America Grow Again. Is that not a much better connotation than the dog whistle? He writes that America is about solving Global problems and business. His 180-degree turn wants to brand America "Come to America."
America was founded on solving global problems, with its early message... "The Business of America is Business". How America has historically solved problems, innovated or created new technologies has always involved "thinking big" or attracting "big thinkers". Globally, in the big scheme of things, America needs more revenue sources and to capture revenue legally that builds our American brand- "Come to America."
He writes that we should be there selling the America brand by letting folks know we want them. This man, this Trump voter, may not admit that he made a 180-degree turn. In fact, in his piece, one can detect that he is fighting with himself rhetorically as many times the false Right Wing Trumpian narrative bleeds in gratuitously. He ends his piece with a paragraph I wish he would start narrating to the Trump and Right Wing base.
I'm a conservative, libertarian who wants America to excel socially, politically and economically. I want America's global brand to prosper in the potential of human being- leveraging human nature and be globally competitive. I do not want immigration fears to dictate how we solve or delay solving America's immigration problem. We need to think big and we need to sell America's greatest value- our LIBERTY and RULE of LAW brand.
Most Liberals, Progressives, Democratic Socialists, and the general Left will scoff at his piece. I told him that as a white guy with Trumpian proclivities, he could be a bridge to many on his side with Progressives to come up with a solution all can accept. We should share his article with our Trumpian friends, families, and neighbors. They would likely listen to him as one of them.