Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Am I Still Here?) sort of stepped in it the other day, making a comparison that’s ill-advised nine out of ten times and indefensible the other.
Yesterday’s Boston Globe, Page One:
(Interesting – but not unusual: The web subhead was the much blander “Says immigrants detained in Southwest deserve a safe haven.”)
As night follows day, crosstown rival Boston Herald found a politician to jump on Patrick’s comments. From today’s edition:
Rep: Gov’s Holocaust analogy is ‘ludicrous’
Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to compare the flood of unaccompanied Central American kids crossing the Texas border to the Holocaust sparked outrage in some circles yesterday, including a Jewish lawmaker who said the “off-putting” remarks had no place in the immigration debate.
“I think it was a poor choice and a poor analogy,” said state Rep. Steven S. Howitt, a Seekonk Republican. “Does he get a free pass because he’s the governor and he can say that?
“I just feel that one does not equate one to the other, and to compare Central America to Nazi Germany is just ludicrous,” Howitt said. “The children that were sent back (then) were sent back to death camps and eventually the gas chambers. To my knowledge, we don’t have them in whatever countries these children came from in Central America.”
Back at the Globe, it was left to a reader to point out Patrick’s misjudgment. From today’s Letter to the Editor:
No comparison between migrants and Nazi victims
GOVERNOR DEVAL Patrick is attempting to guilt-trip us by contrasting US refusal to allow legal entry of European Jews in 1939 with his decision to support the illegal entry of immigrant children. His statement offends the memory of six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust (“Patrick wants Mass. to host children,” Page A1, July 17).
Patrick referred specifically to the St. Louis, a ship with 928 passengers, almost all of them Jewish refugees from the Nazis. They were victims of a mandate to torture and exterminate a people because of their faith.
The passengers of the St. Louis never tried to force their way into this country illegally. They did not seek to come here for free health care, free housing, welfare subsidies, or better jobs. Theirs was a voyage of survival, not economic upgrading. Just to save their lives, they would have been content to settle in Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador, where many immigrants originate today.
The governments of Central America are lax, corrupt, and inefficient, but, unlike Nazi Germany, they do not have an agenda for their citizens’ torture and extermination.
Those that govern us should be ashamed of their self-serving obfuscation of fact and their violation of the sacred memory of the Holocaust victims’ annihilation.