Last night was the big conference reception at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The reception was nice and I had a chance to visit old friends and make new ones. Alcohol can be a bad habit, but in a social setting it opens people up and sometimes you have good group conversations.
There were two primary topics of conversation: The rape allegations involving Bill Cosby, and President Obama’s executive action regarding those who have entered the United States in violation of immigration law.
With regard to Cosby, the only observation I have is the power of the media. His career has probably been destroyed by allegations several years old. I don’t know if any of the allegations are true, but he was never indicted or convicted of rape. Yet the media was easily able to turn the story of the allegations into a full blown controversy, to the point where two major deals Cosby had for new entertainment were broken.
So far as the immigration reform, I think that the practical implications pale in comparison to the political implications. The people at issue are already here and have been here for many years. There will likely be some marginal difference for them, but if you think about it, they would have been deported already if that was an actual threat. And the fact that they have been here a long time says a lot about their situation; it must be a better life here as an undocumented migrant than if they were to return to their places of origin.
But the political implications are enormous. I’m not a constitutional scholar or anything, but it does seem to me that the President is at least stretching the envelope by not working on immigration reform with Congress. And yes, that’s a two way street, but the irony is that any hope of having immigration reform the old-fashioned way has now been dashed, at least in the short term. And that’s unfortunate, because it’s a real problem that must be dealt with somehow. Even the President acknowledged yesterday afternoon that the action he has taken doesn’t fix the problem.
Polls show that most Americans want immigration reform. Polls also show that they didn’t want the President to do what he did, so it’s a mystery to me why he chose to go it alone.
Anyway, the rest of the conference was a little dry, but it ended at noon. I had plenty of time to drive back to the bay area before the really bad traffic set in.