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GOP Reality Check: Should U.S. Be a "Shining City Upon a Hill" or an Electrified Livestock Pen?

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Looks like a group of Republicans are seeking to impose a litmus test on candidates seeking party support. We think it’s time for the Republican Party to ask themselves which America they want to live in: the “shining city on a hill” or the electrified livestock pen, with the $300 billion price tag.

Entitled “Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates,” the ten question survey includes standard conservative principles: support for smaller government and lower taxes, for instance.

But the immigration plank raises an interesting, if inconvenient, question for the resolution’s authors: would Ronald Reagan have passed this GOP Purity Test

According to the resolution, real Republicans should support:

…legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants. [emphasis added]

Never mind that when President Reagan signed the 1986 immigration bill into law, he stated:

The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society.  Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.

It appears that, given the right’s obsession with “amnesty” – defined as anything short of the mass deportation of the 12 million undocumented men, women, and children living, working and contributing to our nation– Ronald Reagan himself could not have met the “principles” being peddled in his name. 

In his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan referred back to his vision for America as a “shining city upon a hill.”  Reagan evoked this sunny image:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.  In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity.   And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.