John McIntyre

Parsing bumper stickers

As I was driving to work today, I found myself behind a fellow motorist, another middle-aged white guy with eyeglasses, both of us driving General Motors products. His Lumina displayed his allegiances with bumper stickers, two of which caught my eye: "I DON'T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA" and "ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE NOT IMMIGRANTS / THEY ARE CRIMINALS."*
They have some linguistic interest. 
Take the "illegal alien" sticker. By just about any commonly understood definition, the more or less 11 million people in this country illegally are immigrants. They came from another country and crossed a border to get here, for one. A great many have housing and jobs. Some have raised families and have been here for years, even decades. They have immigrated. 
And whether being here illegally makes them "criminals" is a nice point. They have not violated the criminal statutes. Violation of the immigration laws is a civil offense, which is why they can be subject to deportation but not criminal prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment, unless they have violated separate criminal statutes.
This is indeed a nuance, but you might expect a self-proclaimed law-and-order type to be more scrupulous about the law. 
Then there's the business of not believing the liberal media. What is it that he disbelieves? Does he mistrust the television grid? We list Fox programming. Are the recipes in the Wednesday Taste section suspect? The fashion items revelatory of political bias? Was yesterday's front-page article on topiary at Ladew Gardens too bolshie? I notice that when conservatives write to the editor to complain about crime, they typically cite our police coverage.  
He went his way on his business, and I went my way on mine. Two middle-aged white guys with eyeglasses and General Motors products and oddly divergent perceptions about the world in which we are driving and making a living. 
*My Malibu is unadorned. We who are undermining America and destroying liberty are advised to keep low personal profiles.