MIA LOVE: ANCHOR BABY
Why is Mia Love hiding her past? Possibly to spare her supporters the embarrassment of backing a candidate who embodies a path to U.S. citizenship that they condemn in others. Love appears to be the proverbial "anchor baby" -- born on American soil to immigrant parents whose legal status has not been fully detailed.
Love, a Republican, has the enthusiastic backing of Utah's far right in her race against incumbent Congressman Jim Matheson for the 4th district. Matheson, a conservative Democrat, is in a panic about losing, at least if his recent piranha attacks on Love are any indicator. Character emerges under pressure.
But character is also shown by a candidate's willingness to address straight questions in an honest, forthright way. On this score, Love has been lacking.
Did her parents enter the country legally in the early 1970s? How did they enter? If they used tourist visas, were they still in legal status at the time Mia was born in 1975? Or had they overstayed their dates, lying low for a few years -- long enough to have a child in America?
According to credible news accounts, there was a law in place at the time that allowed foreign parents to take advantage of their anchor baby to get themselves on a track to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. But what about the gap in Love's case? What about the legal status of her parents from the time they entered until her birth?
On this question, candidate Love has been mysteriously mercurial. Her public statements have been few and nuanced. Phone calls and e-mails from the press go unanswered.
The anti-immigrant voices that support Love must be squirming, hoping for election day, hoping that all these questions will just go away. Many of them have been vicious in their opposition to visa overstays and the exploitation of anchor babies for citizenship. It would be awkward if it turned out that their new standard-bearer, Mia Love, was herself an anchor baby.
Love should come out publicly, and soon, to explain her roots with candor. It would help, not hurt. There is no hiding behind the election. Even if she wins, these questions will dog her in office. And the facts will come out, one way or another. They always do.
THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG
The following letter was sent to the Daily Herald and forwarded to me over the weekend. Names have been changed to protect the naive:
"Hello, my name is Oscar and I am a student at Brigham Young University. I would like to request a story to be written in the paper on the topic of personal cleanliness and responsibility. Too many times do I go to a large function and see people being irresponsible with their trash.
"I am certain that most of us have been taught the importance of cleaning up after ourselves. I recognize that people are employed as janitors and are responsible for cleaning certain areas, but I feel that we use that as an excuse to throw our trash wherever we want.
"I would really appreciate it if a story pertaining to this topic would be written in the paper. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and I look forward to hearing back from you."
I'm shocked -- shocked I say! What sort of civilized nonsense is this you're talking?
Take going to a movie. You don't think paying 12 bucks for a ticket entitles you to dump popcorn and soda onto the floor, or to wipe chocolate from your fingers onto the upholstery? Are you a Democrat, or what? What sort of controlling mother did you have, anyway?
You'll pay 12 bucks a ticket to get inside a movie house, and another 12 bucks for the popcorn and soda. For 24 bucks a pop for each of 100 moviegoers, management should be delighted to muck out the play-pen at 8 bucks an hour.
You don't think paying $60 for a ticket to a football game should include the right to be a slob? Why, that's almost un-American. Surely, slovenly behavior is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. It's an expression of who we are.
And who are we? We are slobs. You're right. We don't want to be responsible.
There is an up-side to this. Along with the soda spilled in the movie theater, wages trickle down, too. Neatness and common courtesy would deprive custodians of their ability to earn an honest wage to support their families. If everyone had good habits, countless innocent children would be driven into the streets to starve. College students would be deprived of income with which to pay their tuition so that they can get higher paying jobs so that somebody else has to clean up the mess.
So don't be too hard on the mess-makers. They create jobs. Just ask Mitt Romney, who has volunteered to clean up a mess of colossal proportions.
But there are limits to the value of cleanup. If Romney loses the election, it will prove that Americans love messes so much, they're even willing to go under rather than clean them up. Let's hope the world's most famous fish, the one in "The Cat in the Hat," was not prophetic when he uttered the immortal words: "This mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up. There is no way at all!"
In that case, we might all wish we'd had more controlling mothers.