A video making the rounds on the Internet, titled Aztlan, shows immigration demonstrators in the United States, carrying a sea of Mexican flags and rallying for the 'rights' of illegal immigrants. Aside from the hypocrisy of breaking United States immigration laws and then claiming to have 'rights,' what is truly astounding is the sound track.
The narrative includes segments of speeches given by Hispanic government leaders in California, and Hispanic college professors in California and Texas. Their message is twofold: first, "White" America is dying off and Americans of Hispanic descent should breed like rabbits so they will eventually gain numerical superiority; and, second, that all of the American Southwest and California actually belonged to Mexico, was forcibly taken by the United States, and therefore should be retaken by force.
On one hand the commentary is horribly uninformed, on the other it is abysmally stupid.
The uninformed part is that Southwest America is the rightful motherland of all Mexican descendants.
The truth is that until the 1500s what is now known as Mexico was the domain primarily of the Aztecs, and the remainder of the Southwest and California was home to other indigenous American tribes. Many scientists believe they had been here since at least the last Ice Age, which ended some 10,000 years ago, during which the Bering Land Bridge provided a direct route to the Americas from Asia.
That arrangement went on uninterrupted for thousands of years after global warming melted the glaciers, swamping the land bridge and isolating the Americas. (Sorry, can't blame that one on George Bush, he wasn't involved.)
The Aztecs and other tribes carved out their territories, and established societies, lasting until Cortez the Killer came ashore in the 1500s bringing war, disease and devastation to the entire region. Spanish Conquistadors travelled throughout the area conquering tribes, forcing them into slavery, and laying waste to their homes, families and societies. Terrific record, wouldn't you say?
Then came the Mexican War - Remember the Alamo? - which ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In that treaty, signed by the United States and Mexico, what became the American Southwest was SOLD to the US by Mexico, for $15 million, in addition to the US agreeing to absorb another $3 million in debts owed by the Mexican government.
Considering the condition of much of that land - arid desert and unusable mountains - I'd say that Mexico came out way ahead, far more so than the French who four decades earlier had SOLD the Louisiana Purchase - much larger and containing the Mississippi River - to the United States also for $15 million.
Based on the arguments the Hispanic leaders are using to call for the return of the American Southwest, Mexico had no rightful claim to it in the first place, since it was taken through force, and has no claim to it now since it was sold through agreement by both governments.
Now let's get to the stupid part.
One of the primary reasons many immigrants, legal and otherwise, come to the United States is to escape oppression, crime, squalor, illiteracy, unemployment, scarcity of resources and hopelessness, all of which directly result from the number one affliction facing the human race - overpopulation.
They come here first and foremost for opportunities - opportunities to build homes, families, careers and meaningful lives. They can do this because democracy and capitalism provide opportunities limited only by the boundaries of the human mind.
To do this there has to be a manageable population that provides sufficient skilled and educated workers to supply the goods and services that drive our economy, but not so many people that the labor supply exceeds the labor need, resulting in high unemployment.
The surest way to upset this delicate balance is to suddenly flood the country with people who either have no skills, or who have skills for which there isn't sufficient demand. Then you get unemployment, followed by crime, squalor, and hopelessness in an ever downward spiral. That is why there are controls on immigration, and why immigrants to this country are supposed to be able to show that they can make a contribution, not just come here and live off the labors of others.
To actively preach that the way to emancipation is through overpopulation is stupid, just plain stupid.
And while we're on the subject of numbers, let's take a look at the commonly held political 'wisdom' concerning the Hispanic vote. First and foremost, to lump everyone of Hispanic descent into one voting block is to engage in stereotyping and at least latent racism.
To say that someone is of Hispanic descent and imply that it means a similar background, heritage, and political persuasion is akin to saying someone is of Asian or European descent and thus thinks, acts and votes like all others of the same heritage.
The Japanese have a different culture than the Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and so on. Europeans can be as diverse as the difference between Scandinavia and Greece for instance, and Hispanics also come from a wide range of geographical and societal origins.
For that matter, Spaniards can also be classified as Europeans, so where does that leave us?
In terms of a voting bloc, to say that 'Hispanics' all vote the same way is to ignore the differences in priorities between say Cubans, Filipinos, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Colombians, to name just a few. They have a language and genetic background in common, but then, so do many white people who speak English. But socially and politically there also are myriad differences.
I know this from personal experience because one of my five or six best friends I had in the Marines was of Hispanic descent, Mexican actually, who lived in Texas. Our backgrounds has more similarities than differences and we saw the political world in a similar light.
When my unit from Vietnam was planning a reunion 20 years after we served there, the first trip I made to see a long-lost brother-in-arms was to his home in Texas. His mom had moved to this country when she was young, and had clung to her language and customs, but her children were Americans first and foremost. (She also could cook Mexican specialties with a flair you'll never find in chain restaurants - but that is another story.)
Even after 20 years we still shared similar political philosophies, although I did find one major difference. To stay in shape he played tennis while I lifted weights and took Tae Kwon Do. Everything else was pretty much the same though. But I also remember him debating political matters with others of Hispanic descent who didn't see things the way he did. Thus to assume that all voters classified as Hispanic will vote the same way is naive, and a sure way to lose an election.
Also, even though voters who classify themselves as 'Hispanic' may be the fastest growing demographic in the country, they still account for only about one-eighth of the total population. Even if every single Hispanic woman in the country gives birth to a child tomorrow it still will be a generation before they are old enough to vote.
Do you know what they call second-generation immigrants in America? Americans.
Know why? Assimilation.
Kids go to American schools, even if they still speak their native tongue, learn the ways of capitalism - by absorption if not through schooling - see the opportunities open to them, and by and large move toward turning those opportunities into realities.
To say that in 40 years voters of Hispanic descent will be the largest demographic in the United States is not only fortune telling, it is irrelevant. We have no idea what events will transpire between then and now to make or break that prediction, we only have the snapshot of time labelled 'now,' to judge by, and that snapshot can change in a heartbeat.
Voters who are two or three generations removed from the country of their parents' or grandparents' birth are going to be far more concerned with what is going on in their neighborhood and their lives, than in what is happening in the 'old country.'
But politicians on the local and national stages still fall into this trap, and they forget that the next election is still in the 'now' category, not two generations in the future. The 87.5 percent of Americans who are not of Hispanic descent are the biggest demographic by a mile, and all indications over the past several years are that as a voting block, they are fed up with pandering politicians and political 'leaders' who preach divisiveness and racism as a means to their own limited, personal goals.
Want a prediction that has a better than even shot at coming true? The presidential candidate who has the strength of character and fortitude to stand up and say he will enforce existing immigration laws, complete the fencing and take other 'real' border enforcement actions on the southern border, deport illegals, and clamp down on employers who provide jobs for them, is the candidate who will get elected by a landslide.
Meanwhile, we get 'leaders' who push pandering speeches and mindless videos that do nothing to improve the fortunes of their compatriots, nor to solve the overall issue of immigration control. Which leaves us asking, are they horribly uninformed, or stupid for making those statements and distributing those videos?
Or are they deliberately misrepresenting the facts to foster stereotypes and create divisiveness that does nothing for their ethnicity, and only gives them a lucrative moment in the spotlight, at the long-term expense of the Hispanic community they claim to represent?
Thursday, June 21, 2007