Black, Yellow, White, Brown, Red and Green: An E-ssayer on Immigration (March 28, 2005)
“We’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we don’t want the Irish,” the mayor observed in the movie Blazing Saddles (1974). If America can survive the invasion of the Irish, it can survive anything, even the invasion of the Hispanics. Even a half-breed who is 1/4 Irish can hold down at least a part-time job in this land of easy living.
The southern invasion of Mexicans across the American border is causing anxiety. Republicans decried illegal immigration at their convention in San Diego while ordering high balls from the “illegals” working the room. Repubs hire “illegals” and do not pay minimum wages or unemployment taxes, if they pay the “illegals” at all. By maintaining the pool of “illegal” workers, Repubs are able to cut labor costs substantially. The “illegals” do the work that 1) regular ‘Mericans will not do that also 2) cannot be outsourced. Even with today’s technology, an Indian (from India that is) cannot mow our lawns, make our beds, or raise our kids.
Is the invasion calculated and organized with a secret agenda? Land acquisition principles over time are revealing. A young American country expanded geographically in the 19th century by buying land (Louisiana Purchase; Alaska) from countries that did not own the land (France; Russia). The land was stolen, fair and square. Time and practices change. One of the central lessons of the 20th century is that the world will allow a country to take another country by investment but not by invasion (Germany; Japan; China in the current century). The American landscape and mapa may change. “California” and “Baja California” may become “Alto Peninsular” and “Peninsular.” What will happen when (blue) California and the (red) swath running from the Gadsden Purchase region, through Texas and the Southern Southern states become the de facto 30th province of Mexico? What will happen depends on what we want. It’s that simple.
Someone once said that stereotypes are unfair, but they are earned. What stereotype have these people earned? Are they hard working or lazy? Are they patriotic or provincial? Are they selfless or selfish? The “-ezs” (Alvarez, Fernandez, Gonzalez, Hernandez, Lopez, Martinez, Ordonez, Perez, Ramirez, Rodriquez, Sanchez, Torrez, Valazquez, etc.) have contributed a disproportionate share of blood to the recent blood drives conducted by the U.S. military. Seems that such a contribution suggests hard work and patriotism and selflessness. The answer is simple. They are in large part what they are allowed to be. By us.
The War on Immigrants is like most of the wars that America initiates. There is no strategic thought and no thoughtful strategy. By forcing the illegals to act illegally, they are being taught to behave illegally and are learning to behave illegally. Once here (which they will be), they will maintain a distant, distrustful and confrontational relationship with all the institutions that they otherwise might support if they were allowed to support them and be supported by them. They will never trust authority or an individual in a uniform, even a fireman or a park ranger or a brownie scout. They will fear every uniform except the one they wear proudly, the one that allows them to sport the combat infantryman badge.
The immigrants who are allowed to participate above ground in the economy will be subject to taxes easily collected even if unwillingly remitted by their employers. All the whining about the aging baby boomers may be moot if there is a new pool of imported labor into the country. The fundamental and growing problem they will also confront, however, is that America cannot competitively produce goods and provide services that are sought by other countries. Perhaps they will have a solution or be part of the solution.
What about language? The language of the USA is and should be American English. The critical documents and the laws and the literature are crafted in American English. Whether it should have been German or French or Gaelic or Swahili is now moot. The country should not adopt bilingual status such as our more enlightened neighbor to the north. Different traditions; different history; different concerns. English is a bugger of a language to learn except at one’s mother’s breast. There should be many specially tailored programs to make the transition and the translation as easy and seamless as possible. Lessons in both languages in school are appropriate and desirable, particularly in the younger grades. Bilingual signs and directions aid Americans who should be learning Spanish. The signs act as public flash cards; the bilingual instructions are free homework assignments with the answers provided in American. The welcoming sign should say “Rio Grande / Big River”; translations into Mandarin and Cantonese would be prescient. At the end of the day, however, everyone should be expected to speak and write in American English. Did the German immigrants learn English? Did the French immigrants learn English? Did even the Irish immigrants learn the peasant language of the invaders? Will the new immigrants learn the language? Sure. Make the transition smooth and pleasant.
Because no one can win la Casa Blanca without the Hispanic vote, both political parties will be patronizing and condescending. This reality offers great promise. Imagine Paul Rodriquez as Ambassador to the United Nations. Imagine welcoming new citizens who become welcomed citizens.
Samuel Huntington does not need to fret. Everything’s cool. We will get precisely what we want and cultivate from this new wave. Do we really know what we want?