Gravel Offered a Gem of Truth

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I caught only 30 minutes of the Democratic Presidential Debate on NPR Tuesday afternoon on the car radio. I haven't watched any of the televised debates and wasn't sad about missing this radio debate.

Due to the timing, I happened to catch former Sen. Mike Gravel's comment on immigration. I heard most of the other candidates give their nonanswer answers, but was left feeling Gravel brought a little sense to this issue each party has turned into a never ending volleyball match. I found a transcript of the debate on The New York Times Web site, and here's what Gravel said on immigration: 

GRAVEL: This has become obvious in this discussion; that there has to be a reason why, over the last 15 years, we haven’t solved this problem as a nation.

Stop and think. Our unemployment level is about 4.5, and that’s about as low as you can get it. So where is the problem? We have to have people fill these jobs. They come in and fill these jobs. We call them illegal.

Are they illegal? They’re filling jobs that need to be done. If we were to chase them out, aren’t we playing to the nativist, the crazies who are opposed to anybody coming in since they got here?

And the media plays into this. The Congress plays into this. Just open our doors. When the jobs are there to be filled, they’ll come in. The jobs aren’t there, they’ll go home.

We can deal with all these other problems in trade, but we’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. We’re creating laws. We’re trying to deal with this.

Deal with the obvious. We do not seem, as a nation, to be able to solve this problem the way we’ve been approaching it.

Whew ... nothing amazing, but just a little something no one wanted to say, but many have thought. Seems like everyone else wants to make sure they sound as tough as the GOP candidates or swear they've never hired an illegal. Biden was a bit sensitive on this subject.

Gravel's Web site gives his views on all the issues, including immigration. This guy is a fourth-tier candidate, right? But that little nugget made me take another look at him. I discovered he hasn't been invited to other debates, which is probably why I haven't heard much about his campaign in those radio morning news sound bites the day after. Too bad.

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