The recent commentary by Paul Mero, Senator Curt Bramble, and David Irvine, demonstrates the politics of personal destruction. Every sleazy technique to shut someone up seemed to be used, personal smears, the “church” card, the “God” card, the “race” card, half-truths, Orwellian doublespeak, and innuendo. Not bad for an 800 word essay.
Rather than attack policy positions, they attacked the person and attempted to destroy a life-time of honorable work. Washington and Chicago style politics shouldn’t come to Utah with what the National Review has called, “The Smear Campaign against Ronald Mortensen.”
Mortensen is a veteran, spent 20 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. He has a masters degree in public administration and Ph.D. in political science. He’s spent the last two decades risking his life around the world for USAID — five assignments rebuilding Iraq, front lines in Africa for the Ebola outbreaks and countless other dangerous missions. Mortensen once admitted “saving lives and alleviating human suffering — what better job can there be?”
What Mortensen’s thought crime? Like the Trump administration, Mortensen believes taxpayers’ money is best used when refugees are resettled in their native countries or surrounding countries rather than coming to the United States. Twelve refugees can be supported for every one brought to our country (which has $22 trillion debt). Unfortunately, the National Review claims resettlement is a litmus test for the left and continued:
“What should be a civil policy disagreement has turned into a smear campaign against Mortensen. The ACLU has falsely called him an ‘anti-immigrant zealot.’ The Anti-Defamation League has defamed him with an erroneous claim that his supposedly ‘extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric’ is ‘disqualifying.’ And the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is ‘infamous for lumping mainstream conservative nonprofits alongside legitimate hate groups,’ has slammed Mortensen.”
I got to know Ron when I was a member of the Utah Legislature. The Chamber of Commerce, UEA and other special interests had paid lobbyists. The citizens had none. So Mortensen quietly typed away in committee rooms and hallways, putting out policy briefs and exposing things some wished hidden. Ron gave a voice to those the media ignores — victims of child identity theft and taxpayers. He’s mild-mannered (unlike me). He’s an effective David going against the Goliaths which is probably why the smears have been so vicious.
The hypocrisy of the religious criticism especially bothers me. Members and nonmembers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, criticize the church over LGBTQ, race, history, women’s role and children interview issues, but dare even report other’s questions (which hundreds have personally asked me) how the church squares the 12th Article of Faith and D&C 58:21 prominently displayed on Temple Square with the church’s support of illegal immigration, and immediately Mortensen is viciously “attacking and maligning” the church. Come on. That’s pathetic and the self-righteousness oozes.
I’m tired of people like Mero, Bramble and Irvine judging others’ motives and souls and using religion as a political weapon. Many of us simply believe that the rule of law provides the most compassion for the most amount of people around the world. We believe it’s wrong to discriminate against those waiting in line and to silence the victims of illegal alien crime. We recognize Nature’s Law and the Christian principle of the Law of the Harvest which predicts that if you reward illegal behavior you’ll only get more and the misery which comes with it.
President Trump got elected exactly because of Orwellian Doublespeak of Mero, Bramble and Irvine: ”Our nation must be one of laws, but ...” as they completely undermine the law and play favorites. I can easily show how the U.S. policy of non-enforcement has led to the most discrimination immigration results in U.S. history (with the exception of the horrific slave trade), but I don’t go around calling everyone racist who disagrees with my policy beliefs.
The establishment in Utah, with their hatred of Trump, are simply out of touch. A dozen legal immigrants live in my LDS Ward (I live with one). None I know supports illegal immigration and most have strong feelings against. Mero penned a similar hit against me when I ran for Congress yet, on the 4th of July at my campaign booth, I looked around and I was the only native-born (but Mero infers I hate immigrants). The socialists destroyed my volunteer’s native Venezuela, another’s Nicaragua, and stifled the growth of my friend’s Mexico. The communists destroyed my wife’s native Ukraine, and another volunteers Ethiopia. These regular immigrants think we are naive, and frightened by our becoming “useful idiots.”
The simple truth is that the Utah Compact is a failure and has caused pain and suffering for legal immigrants, U.S. citizens and even illegal aliens. Most see through the compact, as the primary benefactors of illegal immigration are wealthy investors like those of the Chamber of Commerce. The Utah Compact mentality is directly to blame for the crisis at the border as risking-your-child and traffic-a-child becomes the norm. Besides, where’s the compassion for the families of victims of the 90 illegal aliens in Utah prisons for murder? What do you say to the 135 victims of child rape and other sexual crimes currently imprisoned?
A fundamental part of all religions, is the importance of honesty and integrity. Mero’s, Bramble’s and Irvine’s commentary failed on both accords, as they attempt to sully Mortensen’s lifetime of work.
Chris Herrod, Provo, is an author of “The Forgotten Immigrant: How Tolerating Illegal Immigration Hurts Immigrants” and served in the Utah Legislature from 2007-12.