While I vigorously disagree with John Steinbach on just about every issue we discussed, I did find him a polite and well-spoken man who behaved with dignity. Mexicans Without Borders is probably pretty fortunate to have Mr. Steinbach as a spokesman. Given what I’ve seen from the rest of Mexicans Without Borders, he is probably the best they’ve got.
I wonder if public discussions like this, if they happened on a more frequent basis, wouldn’t be a great way to educate the public about the various perspectives on the illegal alien problem. Going head-to-head like this does seem to provide a good opportunity for the facts to get out and really test the policy positions that opposing sides have on this issue. Head-to-head debates are an awfully healthy and productive thing.
George Mason University took a stab at this last summer, but with the intent to create a “dialog” rather than a debate, and I guess that didn’t generate the results they were hoping for. Help Save Manassas was not invited to subsequent events, nor have any other organizations representing an alternative viewpoint from Mexicans Without Borders. I guess the practice of “conflict resolution” is a lot easier when you only have one side at the table. Regardless, the public benefit of that effort was pretty limited.
I’d think that the Prince William Committee of 100 might pick up where this left off, although it would effectively make for a joint meeting of Help Save Manassas and Mexicans Without Borders, which might not be a really great idea. Public meetings at the McCoart Center have been relatively incident-free, but with a dynamic situation in the county right now it’s hard to predict whether that will indefinitely continue. I hope it does. It should.
Doing this in a studio makes things a little easier, but there are only a few opportunities for studio debates to happen. We’ve been working on the Rule Of Law Resolution since June of 2007, and here we are in March, and this is only the second time Mexicans Without Borders and Help Save Manassas have had to directly answer each other, and this was the first time we had to answer the same questions and even respond to each other. I’m sure it’s a ratings winner for News Channel 8, and hope other media outlets figure out that not only could be a good service to provide to their audience, but an economic winner for them as well.
I look forward to other opportunities like this, and I hope John Steinbach is the person I speak with not because I think he’s the easiest person to debate, but because he’s the most worthy opponent I think they have, and also a genuinely decent human being. I can respect the man, even if I disagree with him.
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