Mark Trahant: Is America turning inward?
"The Economist magazine asks a provocative question: "Is America turning left?" The British weekly says the "worrying parallel is not 1992 but the liberal overreach of the 1960s. By embracing leftist causes that were too extreme for the American mainstream -- from unfettered abortion to affirmative action -- the Democrats cast themselves into the political wilderness. Now the American people seem to be reacting to conservative overreach by turning left."

The magazine says, "... some sort of shift seems to be under way." The result is Democrats moving to the left on trade "and a more protectionist America would soon make the world's poor regret Mr. Bush's passing."

This is where I beg to differ. The Economist asked the wrong question (leading to an mistaken conclusion). The question ought to be: "Is America turning inward?"

An inward-looking America transcends party labels. The right-wing assault on immigration and immigrants is as much of this trend as is the liberal concern about the implications of trade.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio regularly sends missives to news organizations about the dangers posed by the new majority. He said, "Not only have House Democrats done nothing to strengthen our ability to combat illegal immigration, they have actively voted to undermine our efforts."

This is inward-looking America. We can go-it-alone. We don't need the 12 million people who have been an integral part of our economy, of our success.

This is not partisan politics because many Democrats are expressing the same fearful vision of our future. Substitute the words "free trade" for "immigration" and you can write the same story. We can go it alone. We don't need to connect (or compete) with the rest of the world."

Get the Story:
Mark Trahant: Frightening to think of U.S. turning inward (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/19)

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