RIP Yogi Berra, anchor baby

Would the GOP have deported Yogi Berra?

Item 1: Yogi died last week. He was an American icon of the first order and a legendary practitioner of the national pastime. Wikipedia sums his career up nicely.

An 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion as a player, Berra had a career batting average of .285, while compiling 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in. He is one of only five players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times. Widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

He probably became an even greater figure after he retired. In sum, Yogi Berra was as American as apple pie.

Item 2: The GOP presidential hopefuls, following Donald Trump’s lead, have tripped all over each other decrying the evils of “anchor babies,” aka “birthright babies.” Something must be done about that pesky 14th Amendment. (If you’ve been watching this crowd, especially Trump and Ben Carson, it’s clear that the 1st Amendment is a problem that needs addressing, as well, but we’ll save that for another day.)

Item 3: Yogi Berra was a birthright baby. If we give the 17 16 15 clown car pileup that is the GOP field a hot tub time machine, we can only believe that Yogi will be erased from the record books and from our shared cultural consciousness.

Take a couple minutes and check out Glenn Smith’s commentaries at Quorum Report and Crooks & Liars, where, if I might employ a baseball metaphor, he goes yard on Trump & Co.

This week, as I listened to much-deserved praise of Yogi after his death, the thought occurred to me that Yogi was a hero in more ways than one. He is in so many ways an iconic American, right down to his immigrant roots. As Pope Frances told Congress, “Most of us were once foreigners.”

It seems to me that the current Republican anti-14th Amendment rhetoric comes straight from the polluted minds of the Center for Immigration Studies. They’ve been agitating against immigrants for decades. Back in 2001, a CIS “study” concluded that clever immigrants were even concealing the crime wave they brought with them.

An especially ominous reason for underreporting [immigrant crime] is that what most Americans would call crime many immigrants consider to be tradition, or if a crime, a ‘family matter’ not requiring outside interference.

Meditate on that quote for a moment if you can stomach it. It says we don’t know about all the crime committed by immigrants because what we consider a crime they consider a family tradition. A more bigoted statement cannot be made.

I don’t have anything especially new to say about this particular bout of racist hatemongering, so I won’t torture you with the obvious. But I will ask you to imagine a what if. What if, during the forthcoming “debate” at the University of Colorado just up the road here, one of the “journalists” “moderating” the event were to ask: “Hey Donald, would you have deported Yogi Berra?”

You can observe a lot by just watching.

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