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There are times when I’ve been embarrassed to be a conservative. Almost the entire period from 2000-08. Hearing conspiracy theories about the “real birth certificate.” Rick Santorum.

And I’m embarrassed about the way some are talking about the children currently in limbo on our border. Actually, “embarrassed” is an understatement.

It’s revolting.

Texas Republican state representative David Simpson is a tea party guy in good standing with conservatives. On Wednesday he held a town hall meeting, where he showed the faces of some of the border children fleeing from Central America and Mexico in a slide show. Raw Story reported:

Simpson attempted to tell the crowd of about 160 residents that the thousands of children arriving at the Mexico-U.S. border are fleeing lives of violence and abuse, including gangsters who specialize in trafficking children as sex slaves. Texans should treat the children with compassion, he said.

Compassion, he advised. That’s when things got ugly.

Longview, Texas’, News-Journal reported:

After Simpson’s slide show of the faces of some of the border children, Longview resident Terri Hill said, “I believe your constituents should come first when you talk about people who are impacted. You are to represent us, and we have children. These [migrant children] are people that are coming in with leprosy, tuberculosis, polio.”

Another resident, Ben Denson, expressed fear that the children could be disease-carriers.

“I’ve got four kids and a fifth one on the way,” Denson said. “These [Central American] kids have scabies and influenza, viral pneumonia, leprosy. These kids are going to be part of the school system… They are bleeding Texas [Democrat] blue.”

Other residents fear that the children are already criminals in their hearts.

“We need our borders protected. We need a lot of things, but what we don’t need is more people at the trough,” said Thomas Rolland to Simpson. “These people are not coming in with a good, Christian heart. Most of them are criminals, anyway.”

Is there a less compassionate and more implicitly racist statement than, “These people are not coming in with a good, Christian heart. Most of them are criminals, anyway.”

It’s also one of the least Christian things you could say.

Such words dehumanize these children as if they are disease-ridden animals.

I don’t care what your opinion is about immigration, illegal or otherwise. No one should talk about children this way.

I used to talk about illegal immigrants harshly as a radio talk host and am embarrassed about it to this day. I fed into that ugliness, which apparently too many conservatives still identify with.

When Glenn Beck announced he would send food, medicine and other aid to the border children recently he was attacked viciously for it. He’s not alone.

If you ever wonder why many Hispanics think conservatives don’t like them it is because conservatives talk like they don’t like them. The last few weeks have been stark reminders.

These kids present a dilemma.

They are also kids.

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