Michael Gerson of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the one time “conscience of the White House”, presents the perfect it’s-all-about-winning stance that some Republicans of the Karl Rove wing of the GOP adheres to in this current amnesty for illegals conflict. The idea is that if the GOP is seen as responsible for letting illegals become automatic citizens with little impediment to their attaining that status this will make these immigrants grateful enough to vote Republican and secure a GOP electoral victory for the foreseeable future.
Gerson’s rationale can be seen in his Washington Post article of May 25th, but, unfortunately, Gerson’s is both a cynical and unsafe stance to take. Cynical because it reduces the whole episode to be about nothing but getting votes and unsafe because it is a self-destructive, society destroying move to make the argument into a mere vote mongering scheme.
Gerson’s column starts off with a lament about “anti-immigrant sentiments” in 1882 and goes on to finger point at a current “certain kind of conservative” that we have today who he imagines must be just as racist as our hundred twenty-five year-old kin ostensibly were.
Interestingly, Gerson is all ready to cite a one hundred twenty-five year-old history where it concerns his perception of lurking racism but ignores the only 21 year-old history that figures far more prominently in this debate born of Reagan’s great 1986 amnesty mistake. Few of the requirements and restrictions asked of illegals during the ’86 Reagan mistake were ever realized, yet we are expected now to assume that new requirements will be honored with today’s efforts?
Fool me once…
It is also a bit disheartening that a man with the “religious” reputation that Gerson has would reduce the opponents of this amnesty bill to nothing but wild-eyed racists. What a shame that Gerson had to treat the honest, serious concerns resulting from this onerous bill in such a dismissive fashion.
But in this he seems in familiar company if the President’s recent tirades against those Republicans who oppose the plan is any indication. Bush railed against those of us against the amnesty bill today in Georgia. â€œIf you want to scare the American people, what you say is the billâ€™s an amnesty bill. Thatâ€™s empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our citizens.â€
I can only imagine that the president and Gerson really have no argument to make against those of us against this bad bill that they so blithely mischaracterize our points to advocate for this vote mongering scheme.
Gerson gets right to his point that, “At one level, any immigration debate concerns a raw political calculation: Who ends up with more voters?” Perhaps that is true if one considers this to be about nothing but an immediate electoral demographic that is up for grabs with no other consideration thrown into the mix. And, in fact, that seems to be Gerson’s only concern.
However, it is a great mistake to imagine that the only consideration at stake here is who gets the new “Latino” vote block to go their way. Of far more importance is the character and culture of our country which is threatened by allowing millions of unskilled, uneducated immigrants who bring a tradition unlike our own into this nation in such numbers as to compete with our own. Especially in an age when assimilation is not being asked of them, much less demanded as it was with past immigrant waves.
Gerson, of course, tries to answer to the charge that Mexican immigrants are a threat to our culture.
But the real passion in this debate is not political, it is cultural — a fear that American identity is being diluted by Latino migration…
Gerson assures us, though, that…
…many conservatives, I’d be willing to bet, would feel more cultural affinity with Hispanic Baptists in their church pews than they would with Huntington’s colleagues in the Harvard faculty lounge.
Gerson goes on to claim that Mexican culture is really just like ours — maybe better — because the Mexican people are religious, family oriented, and supposedly just as conservative as we are. A shallow analysis to say the least.
Now, it certainly is true that many Americans south of the Rio Grande are family oriented and quite religious, that cannot be disputed. And the addition to our own citizenry of such a people would be a welcome one, indeed. But after their general Christian background, this is where their similarity to citizens of the USA comes to an abrupt end.
Americans are raised to have a respect for the law that is not inculcated in folks south of the border. There the law is something used or ignored at the whim of the rich and powerful, something used not just to make themselves richer, but to actually harm the lower classes. Law is only for those who can afford to pay for it, something that is not made for the edification of all. The concept of “equal under the law” is a meaningless one.In the end, there is no respect for the rule of law evident in their tradition of Napoleonic styled bribery and corruption, a system so bankrupt that it makes the mafia infested city of Chicago, for instance, look like a kindergarten class. That being the case, why should they have any respect of our laws when they get here?
They won’t and they don’t.
Worse, when these same people look north and see that one political party cultivates its power base by giving things away for free, it’s no wonder that they’ll want to flood across our border to finally get their share from the “rich” folks. That those “rich” folks happen to be US citizens won’t mean much of anything to them. If we make illegals automatic citizens, the party that will give them the most free stuff will be the party they will gravitate to no matter how much “religion” they have at home and no matter how “conservative” they seem to be.
Power is far more attractive than what is “right” to a class of people who have been traditionally oppressed. And, once this giant voting block is here and legal, the socialist styled policies that they will constantly vote for will continue to tear down our nation only to have it rebuilt on the failed European model. It is inevitable that it be so if we simply legalize all illegals.
Gerson then mentions the theory of Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, who posits that a giant influx of Catholic Mexicans will dilute our Protestant undergirding, destroying our culture in the process.
Gerson scoffs at such a claim, dismissing it out of hand because of the supposed religiosity of these immigrants’ background. But, Gerson should not so quickly dismiss the basic argument that Huntington postulates.
The main reason that the United States has so easily weathered past waves of immigration is because when those immigrants got here they had to assimilate into a Protestant culture that was the overriding matrix of our society. It is pretty well accepted that a culture that has no social narrative, no homogeneous memory, cannot stand strong and our touchstone was the Protestant base upon which this country was built. The current bill will put quite a dent in our cultural memory.
I am not here saying that Mexicans are incapable of assimilating like some on the anti-amnesty side are. I am, however, saying that the way we are operating now, they have absolutely no reason to do so. We cater to their ignorance of our system and history by printing government documents in Spanish, coddling their children with so-called “bilingual” education (which is neither bilingual, nor an education), and relaxing all rules from attaining driver’s licenses and car insurance, to offering free government services regardless of citizenship. Not to mention how our government turns a blind eye to the business community that illegally hires them.
The result of this coddling will be (and is fast becoming) a Balkanized society where a seriously undereducated and isolated segment of our country will become a permanent underclass who will forever need government to help them keep their heads above water — Not that the Democrats would too terribly mind that. Rather quickly they will come to assume they somehow deseve their freebies and have a “right” to them. And, why wouldn’t they feel this way when the Democrat Party will be telling them that their assumption is true the whole time?
With this to compete against, the GOP, the Party of rugged individualism and personal responsibility, cannot possibly compete at the outset. To become a conservative one needs education to understand its concepts and ideals, one needs to work past the “feelings” and over emotionality of liberalism. With time, there is no doubt that many Hispanic people will come to the GOP. But, they will not so easily take to a Party that requires so much of them.
Still, the recipe for gaining the so-called “Latino” vote ( I really hate that word. It is a fake construct, not a real ethnic appellation) isn’t to just throw open the border and hope that the incoming immigrants will be grateful enough to vote for those holding open the door. It is to foster a respect for our American way of life and teach them why they should want to vote for the righteous Party.
But this is something that takes time. And time is something this bill will not afford.
We need to stop the flow of illegals by securing the border, passing a national English only law forcing all government documents to be presented only in English, and we need to eliminate bilingual education and go back to the ideas of forcing assimilation on immigrants of all sorts.
In any case, back to Gerson’s bad policy ideas. He ends his piece alluding to the fact that a real Christian would apparently be for open borders.
The Christian faith teaches that our common humanity is more important than our nationality. That all of us, ultimately, are strangers in this world and brothers to the bone; and all in need of amnesty. This belief does not dictate certain policies in a piece of legislation, but it does forbid rage and national chauvinism. And this is worth a reminder as well.
This makes me wonder if Gerson imagines we ever have been a nation of Christians in the first place? After all, we have never been for open borders in our entire history, always seeking to control immigration with restrictions and forcing those who make it here to become Americanized.
And that is something we need to return to; forcing immigrants to become Americanized. Without that step, we cannot long stand as a nation united and all other rules and laws cannot possibly be effective. Without that step we’ll only end up as the Tower of Babel writ large flying the Stars and Stripes above its decaying edifice.
Gerson’s editorial scolds those of us against this horrible bill as racists, nativists, and extremists and he warns that we will lose this voting block and, therefore, all elections hence. Bush says we are just trying to “scare the American people.” But what exactly is so wrong with wanting America to stay America? Why are we so evil to want to safeguard our history, culture and forms of government?
Still, while Gerson and Bush hurl a long list of name calling at us, it makes me wonder who is really trying to “scare the American people”? The conservatives, or the Vote mongers?
Sadly, the Democrats, the party that stands to gain the most out of this fight, is happily sitting quietly by as Republicans duke it out. Bush is handing them a victory, one they don’t even have to work for.
According to Gerson, the “Christian” thing to do would be to damn our culture because its all about the votes.