Saturday, September 2, 2006

Colorado candidate wants draft for border patrol

Two years ago while working as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Republican Rick O’Donnell, now running for Congress from the 7th district, penned an article for the Denver Post that has come back to haunt him. In the Jan. 3, 2004 article, “A New Rite of Passage,” O”Donnell called for compulsory service for all male high school seniors in their final semester of school, proposing that young men’s time would be better spent “securing our border with Mexico… (or) providing homeland security at ports and other vulnerable locations.” than “wasting time in 12th grade”

Stating that “since more than 25 percent of Colorado men drop out before the 12th grade, and for those who remain it is a blow-off year,” he questioned “why are we paying for it?” Instead he proposed “that after the first semester of 12th grade, all young men in America do six months of service… After a basic-training type orientation, they would be given various duties in sore need of attention (such as) securing our border with Mexico.” According to O’Donnell, his plan would ultimately provide a great savings to tax payers as “we spend more than $ 370 billion every year on K-12 public education in this country. By eliminating the last semester of senior year for men, we could devote billions of dollars toward establishing the service corps.”

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O’Donnell’s opponent, Democrat Ed Perlmutter, denounced the recently unearthed proposal.

In what can only be described as a bizarre and dangerous plan in 2004, O’Donnell pushed for a “new rite of passage” that would make it mandatory for all male high school students, many only 17 years old, to forgo their last semester of school, end their college preparation, leave their families and do active duty “securing our border with Mexico.” O’Donnell proposes that “instead of wasting time in 12th grade…..(teenage boys) would undergo a society-wide rite of passage into manhood, one that provides…..a sense of adventure and risk.” O’Donnell argues that this “bolder approach is needed to help boys successfully become men of character.” In addition, O’Donnell plan calls on those students who drop out of school before 12th grade, regardless of the reason, to serve additional years patrolling the border. O’Donnell proposes paying for the national service corps for boys with the “billions of dollars” that would come from eliminating the final semester of high school for all male students. O’Donnell’s initiative does not address female high school students, who presumably would be allowed to continue their last semester of high school and preparation for college or post-graduate opportunities.

Perlmutter stated, “First Rick O’Donnell wanted to abolish Social Security when he worked for Newt Gingrich, now his answer for illegal immigration is to draft high school boys in their final semester of school to patrol the Mexican border. Rick O’Donnell has said that illegal immigration is his #1 issue, but during his entire career with Governor Owens, his only solution to the problem was this ridiculous and dangerous idea that places high school boys at the borders to deal with the illegal immigrants, criminals and drug smugglers who too often enter our Country.” Perlmutter added, “This absurd idea is just another example of how out of touch Rick O’Donnell is with the hard working families in the 7th CD. My opponent needs to understand that parents don’t want their sons forced to patrol the border and they don’t need Rick O’Donnell to help them with any rites of passage into manhood.”


When questioned about the article recently by the Rocky Mountian News, O'Donnell said that although he believes Perlmutter's slant of his article represented a "reckless distortion of the truth," his position on the national service corps is unchanged and he still stands by it.

Perhaps instead of looking for ways to "save" education dollars, or build boys into "men of character," O'Donnell should be asking why fully one quarter of his state's population don't complete even the minimum educational requirements to compete in today's competitive economy. Instead he sees those whom his state's educational system has failed, as fodder to be throw at the border in some sort of quixotic Children's Crusade to stop the flow of economic migrants.

In O'Donnell's worldview, that favors a constant race to the bottom for the American people, rather than educate his state's children so they can succeed in the workforce, he would have them patrolling the borders to prevent low-skilled workers from competing with them for the dead-end jobs left to those at the bottom of the educational scale.

Herein lies one of the great paradoxes in the anti-immigrant philosophy.

Instead of working to make sure that the American people are provided with a good educational system, access to healthcare, a stable job market or economic opportunity, the anti-immigrant cabal favors stripping working and middle-class Americans of all resources, than blaming their condition on increased numbers of immigrants.

In the short-run this plan might work, but over time even those whom Mr. O'Donnell has left behind without a high school education will eventually figure out they've been duped, bamboozled and played for suckers


XicanoPwr said...

No fucking way. This is too much. I am going to write about on Monday at VivirLatino. This is total bullshit.

Duke1676 said...

It's for real. The guys a nut-job.

This kind of stuff is only going to increase in the next few months. With nothing whatsoever to run on, the House Republicans will ratchet up this kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric in hopes to pull off a miricle in Nov.

What they haven't figured out yet is the base their firing up most with this kind of stuff is the one that's going to come out on eletion day to make sure they DON'T get into office. This will for sure blow up in their faces.

Alma Mia said...

This type of thinking is very representative of Colorado's GOP.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this type of thinking also very representative of Nazi Germany?

Now you know my constant frustration with Colorado politics.