The Coastal Post - February 2000

Phony Compassion For Elian Gonzales

By Antonio R. Serna

It is appalling to watch our opportunistic politicians try to outdo each other in their efforts to project themselves as compassionate conservatives in the handling of the case of Elian Gonzales. If this were not a charged-up election year, and if the other opportunistic politician in Cuba had not seized the opportunity to exploit the young refugee's plight to serve his own selfish ends, this matter would have been silently buried amongst the thousands of similar tragic cases involving illegal immigration and child custody disputes. We have specific laws designed to cover these questions.

What makes Elian Gonzales so special that two countries are playing a high stakes tug-of-war game to lay claim on him? What is so unique in the tragedy that befell the efforts of the mother and son to illegally migrate to the U.S.A.? It happens all the time. It is a calculated risk taken by all boat people who embark into death-defying odysseys to achieve their dreams of living in the land of cream and honey. Is it because all the passengers in the boat that capsized died and Elian alone survived? Is it because the boy is white and has the face of an angel? None of the foregoing will change the fact that the kid is an illegal immigrant and therefore should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

His mother took the same kind of risk taken by the 22 Chinese from Hong Kong recently apprehended in Seattle, who had entombed themselves inside a 40-ft. cargo container for a three-week voyage across the Pacific. Three were not too lucky. They died, days before their container cargo ship reached dock.

Should our compassionate politicians extend the survivors the same compassion that they are so eagerly extending Elian Gonzales? Where do they draw the line? Is it really compassion playing a role here, or a shameless urge to politically exploit a sad situation for personal gain? It is for instance the height of hypocrisy for anyone to declare a feeling of compassion for Elian Gonzales while proving to be terribly heartless in refusing to commute the death sentence of a drug-influenced murderess turned saint (after 16 years on death row) for the simple reason that the law is the law.

If we are to be consistent and follow the law, it is undisputable that Elian Gonzales should be returned to Cuba and given back to his biological father who is rightfully claiming him. Why do we want to bend the law this time? It obviously is a case of political expediency over the majesty of the law.

These terribly compassionate politicians are so obsessed with pushing through their selfish agendas that they are not only trying very hard to bend the law, they are even planning to legislate a measure that will enable Elian Gonzales to be above the law. Could you imagine what is going on in the minds of these people? And they are doing it to get your votes. They are making a mockery of the law in the name of public service.

The American people should send Elian Gonzales back home to his father in Cuba. They should wish him well and thank him for having unwittingly played a role in unmasking our politicians, who are willing to bend the law not for the sake of compassion, as they want you to believe, but to advance their own selfish ends. Elian Gonzales has helped us flush out these pretenders in our society at a time when we should know who we can really trust to occupy our public offices. Watch out for these guys. They are so phony that they are beginning to give the word compassion a totally different meaning. Instead of commiseration, mercy, tenderness, heart, clemency and love, which are what compassion is all about, they are gleefully utilizing its nobleness to hide their true and ugly designs.

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