April 11, 2006


Immigration Nation (Richard Rodriguez, 4/11/06, Der Spiegel)

The marches prove that immigrants are not alone. They have families -- and they're woven into America too deeply to tear out.

The crowds parading up the streets of America on Monday, and for the last two weeks, have been telling us with their bodies, if not always in English, that illegal immigrants are not alone in the United States of America.

Indeed, illegal immigrants, who were supposed to live a shadowy existence, belong to neighborhoods and to church congregations that were willing to stand alongside them. And most important: Many millions of illegal immigrants have U.S. relatives, sons and daughters, in-laws, cousins, grandchildren. [...]

For years, the wisdom in political circles was that Mexicans do not vote, are apathetic, too busy or lazy. Mexicans, after all, are not Cubans; they lack the political savvy or will.

The giant was sleeping in Phoenix and Chicago and throughout North Carolina. And the Democrats were just as happy to leave the snoring undisturbed, because of the unhappiness of trade unionists and of the complaints of African-Americans against illegal migrant workers who undercharge America for their labor, then work with third-world fury.

Some Republicans, including the president, saw signs of the giant stirring. George Bush is the first American president to speak Spanish and to run a reelection ad in which he is pictured waving a Mexican flag. His is that portion of the Republican Party that understands big business has a lot to gain from cheap labor.

But then there is the Republican Party of Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo -- a party that now mixes hysteria with patriotism and wars against any notion that America exists within the Americas.

Buchanan likes to portray the brown (suspiciously Indian-looking) Mexicans crossing our Southwestern border as "foreigners." Pat Buchanan, with his rifle butt, may end up responsible for stirring the giant awake.

In the end, however, the gatherings all over America these last days were not most importantly political events.

Their scale has been epic, but their meaning is intimate. No coincidence is it that they were not organized by politicians, but were the result of grass-roots passions -- the encouragements of local radio DJs, nuns and neighbors.

Keep the Latino families and deport the childless natives.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2006 12:29 PM

. . . the Republican Party of Pat Buchanan . . .

Say what? Pitchfork Pat left the party in a huff in 2000 to join some other outfit . . . what was it called again, Deformed? Unformed? Something like that, wasn't it?

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 11, 2006 1:00 PM

Deport Pat first. He's an embarrassment to the human race, black, brown, white, red, yellow or any combination of the above.

Posted by: erp at April 11, 2006 1:08 PM

If this is the Richard Rodriguez I think it is, he did a St. Paddy's Day piece for PBS a few years back that reduced my entire family to tears. It was about his growing up Hispanic in an Irish Catholic Church and what he thought of the Irish.

Posted by: Pepys at April 11, 2006 1:20 PM

He didn't say the Papsts should be deported because they'd never assimilate or complain about them carrying Irish flags at the parade?

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 1:30 PM
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