The political contest that has resulted from our immigration and border crisis produces great passions and every bit as much heat as light. Unfortunately, the facts and the independent, nonpartisan reality that my colleagues and I try to report to our audience each night are inconvenient obstacles for the ideological orthodoxies and conflicting partisan, establishment, ethnocentric, and even radical agendas that motivate most of our national dialogue and debate on so many critical issues, and nowhere more powerfully than on the illegal immigration and border- security crisis. Too much of our national mainstream media is content to devote more airtime, ink, and kilobytes to Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith than to the events, ideas, and issues that will determine our quality of life and our future as a nation. Ours is a national entertainment media that is incentivized to appeal to the lowest common denominator in our society, a national news media that reports the ideological postures and rhetoric of both Republicans and Democrats and regards such journalistic efforts as fair and balanced. As I've said frequently, the truth is seldom fair or balanced, and it is certainly seldom represented by the partisanship and ideology of our two principal political parties.
Even before the final Senate vote on "comprehensive immigration reform legislation" was tallied, e-mails and telephone calls of congratulations started pouring into my office. But I was surprised by my reaction to that vote and to all the congratulatory messages. I felt great satisfaction, to be sure, that many of our elected officials had actually listened to their constituents, but I felt more a sense of relief at the prospect of a pause, for a while at least, in the political and media battles that might well give us all the opportunity to reflect and consider carefully our future course. And I was grateful that for the first time in a long time that senators, both Democrats and Republicans, stood up and acted like they really cared about our nation and found the courage and good judgment to demand better of themselves and the leadership of the upper house of our Congress. Senators Jeff Sessions, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, and and Byron Dorgan stood out in the fray on the Senate floor as people of character, quality, and commitment to our fundamental national values, the common good, and our national interest.
Fifteen Democratic senators and thirty- seven Republican senators voted to kill the legislation, and each of them played an important part in asserting the public good against what has become the almost always overwhelming political influence and power of corporate America and special interests, particularly the business associations and ethnocentric activist organizations that have played a disproportionately dominant role both in the national media and on Capitol Hill.