As avid readers of the Herald-Leader for many years, we have enjoyed the insights of its editorials, Tom Eblen's column and Joel Pett's wit.
It was thus disappointing to see the editorial, column and cartoon, all of which attacked American citizens who participated in 319 anti-illegal immigration protests nationwide, including one July 19 in Lexington spearheaded by our non-profit, pro-U.S. citizen organization, Americans First.
The editorial, as well as Eblen, suggested that Americans First and the protesters were advocating mistreatment of the children coming across the border. Pett's cartoon implied protesters have been shouting insults and epithets.
No one at the Lexington protest nor in our organization was advocating anything other than humane treatment of the illegal immigrants pouring over the southern border, even though a large majority of them are teenagers and predominantly male, not small children.
The headline to Eblen's diatribe on Kentucky.com said the protests "brought out the worst in some adults." Of course he wasn't there, but we were. In our view, the group of patriotic Americans of different races, sexes and ages who braved intermittent rain to exercise their constitutional rights of free association and speech in defense of their fellow citizens was beautiful.
Those gathered were not advocating law-breaking by illegal aliens and were only demanding that our government enforce, instead of ignore, our existing immigration laws.
Had Eblen bothered to attend, or speak with any of the protesters, he would have heard our discussion with a fellow protester of African ancestry about how illegal immigration is hurting lower-income Americans, especially minorities, by flooding the labor market and depressing wages.
He would have heard from young college graduates struggling to find jobs. He would have heard from senior citizens who live in fear because illegal alien gangs have taken over their neighborhoods. He would have learned that one of Americans First's goals is to work to bring citizens together, instead of trying to divide us along racial and ethnic lines.
Eblen states that America "can't take in everybody." Americans First agrees. He goes on to state that the U.S. needs a "just and rational immigration system." We already have a system, it's just not being enforced.
In fact, the border crisis is the direct and predictable result of the president's sustained policies undermining America's immigration laws and his continued refusal to enforce our laws. The illegal aliens rushing into the country think, if they can just get here, they will be able to stay. We don't need reform, we need enforcement.
What we find ironic is the editorial's assertion that we have a duty to help the impoverished children of other countries, yet the previous day's paper included a study documenting that the number of Kentucky children in poverty has risen 13 percent, with one in four now impoverished.
Isn't there a duty to take care of our own children first?
The editorial also said the first Americans were dark-skinned people. But America did not exist as a nation until 1789. The ancestors of the people that populated our continent before the arrival of Europeans had themselves come from Northeast Asia.
And if the Indian tribes had a more effective immigration policy maybe they would still be in control of the continent instead of corralled on reservations. We want our nation's immigration laws enforced precisely because we don't want to see that happen to our descendants.
Eblen derisively singled out a protest sign that said "Americans First" and the editorial ridiculed the name of our organization. Since Eblen and the editorial board don't think citizens' interests should be the first priority of our government, where exactly in their hierarchy do those interests rank? And whose interests would they prioritize over those of their fellow citizens?
Dan M. Rose and Ron Vissing are leaders of Americans First Inc., in Lexington.