publisher's note
February 8, 2008



Missed opportunity?
by Bruce Rodgers

A few weeks ago, the Minuteman Civic Defense Corps came to KC. The protesters protested. The media did their he said/she said thing. One side was called racist. The other called supporters of illegal aliens. Nothing changed. The issue of immigration remained a verbal artillery exchange. Kansas City another base from which to hit targets in the distance.

Is this what we must expect now? Like abortion, an intractable issue without any recognizable middle ground, where the political war is one of attrition measured in decades-long mini-advances of which side gets the most judicial appointments or the most sympathetic officeholders.

An arbitration team awaits for its possible role at the site of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps convention. (photo by Ron Johnson)

Maybe, when it comes to immigration, the barren intellectual landscape, scraped by fear, ignorance and policies dictated without thought of the human element, has spread too far, a desertification of intolerance blowing back and forth over the border. And in the hot sand, we build fences rather than talk.

And it held true in Kansas City.

Most Americans know each side has their unequivocal point: entering the United States without permission is illegal; and the United States is a nation of immigrants — legal or otherwise — which has always shown its capacity to absorb the newly arrived and benefited because of it.

So why can’t we begin to talk about immigration? Even start a dialogue in Kansas City, the perfect time being when the Minutemen held their national convention here.

Would the two sides have agreed to sit down together, presuming all were bona fide fellow American citizens?

Don’t know, didn’t happen, not even close. No priest, no rabbi, no minister, no atheist, no humanist, no peacenik, no Minuteman, no member from La Raza, no politician, no attorney, no civic leader, no business person, no talk show host…nobody stepped forward to suggest maybe, just maybe the two sides could, and should sit across a table and talk. The thought didn’t even land on some media-obsessed, attention-starved goof wanting a few minutes of TV face-time. Maybe the thought of a Minuteman/La Raza talking to each other instead of pass one another is so farfetched no reporter would deem such a suggestion worth a return call.


Maybe this is why the young dismiss the old, why America seems terribly middle-aged, an angry couch-potato of a nation, hearing only what it wants to hear…locks on the door, bars on the window, gun under the pillow, volume on the TV turned up — any conversation impossible.

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at


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