September 19, 2007


Immigrants Are Americans After All (Ruben Navarrette, 9/19/07, Real Clear Politics)

Hispanic Heritage Month only started a few days ago and already it has produced an epiphany.

It came from an unexpected source: a concert by Mexican superstar Luis Miguel on Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16. Four thousand fans flocked to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for an event that sold out months ago. [...]

Having performed for more than 20 years, Luis Miguel has made millions of dollars and built a vast and incredibly loyal base of fans in both Mexico and the United States. Once, he even recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra.

But in 2004, Luis Miguel released a CD that further endeared him to his fans -- especially those who happen to be Mexicans living in the United States. Titled "Mexico En La Piel" (loosely translated as "Mexico on your skin"), the CD is a mixture of mariachi tunes and silky ballads. The title track is a song about the wonder and beauty one finds in the various states of Mexico, implying that this is how an entire country can stick to you.

I've seen Luis Miguel perform this song in concert twice -- in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles -- and the reaction was the same: a mild form of pandemonium. Members of the crowd cheer, especially when their home state is mentioned. Some people sing along, while others unfurl Mexican flags.

Yikes. I thought to myself, "What would Lou Dobbs say?" And would anyone in the audience really care?

Watching this, I realized that America isn't like the witness protection program. Immigrants come here for economic necessity -- not a new identity. It's an old story. Those from Ireland or Germany or Italy were in no hurry to renounce the homeland. Nor should they have had to for the sake of placating those who were too insecure to grasp the possibility that people could make room in their hearts for more than one country.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2007 6:03 AM
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