Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Policy interests me more than character, although I think the latter can illuminate the policy choices a candidate makes. A clueless child of privilege is likely to prioritize policy choices that reflect her background, and a person's history is usually pretty good evidence of what that person is liable to believe important going forward. I've been finding that more than a few people believe that this Presidential election is about character, and are making decisions based on their perception of the characters of the respective candidates. This is, I think, stupid. I want to know what the candidates intend to do on a policy level. A man's character may be his fate*, but the direction the country takes does not have to be tethered to personality, and character, in the end, is difficult to discern in the context of an electoral contest.

So here's my question: is immigration really the most important issue facing the United States? I cannot believe that this is true, but I am open to evidence based arguments, I suppose. Show me the economic analysis. My recent involvement in a deportation proceeding has established in my mind that deportation is a lot more complex (and expensive) than shouting "Olly olly oxen free", and I'm not sure I believe in undocumented people who take all the jobs and drain all the social services at the same time.

There are bigger issues, I think, and I would like to hear the likely next President speak on those issues, rather than hear her having to respond to Donald Trump's braying. I actually think she is trying to do this, and it is on the media to stop giving the Trump campaign the megaphone that is drowning out important civic discourse. 

* “I am an American, Chicago born – Chicago, that somber city – and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. But a man's character is his fate, says Heraclitus, and in the end there isn't any way to disguise the nature of the knocks by acoustical work on the door or gloving the knuckles.”

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