The exaltation of immigrants
0 comment Tuesday, May 20, 2014 |
Reading the news media and listening to our pandering politicians on the subject of immigration, legal or illegal, it's becoming apparent that the history of America is being rewritten at a furious pace lately. During the last two weeks with all the discussion of amnesty and all the agitation in the streets of our cities, the rhetoric has been hot and heavy.
The phrase du jour is 'a nation of immigrants'. And it's obvious that the term 'immigrant' is now expanded to include illegal invaders as well as those who enter this county lawfully. And it's clear that somehow, the emphasis has shifted so that the immigrant, illegal or legal, is now the apotheosis of the American ideal. The immigrant is that most American of all Americans, paradoxically. Those of us whose roots here go back far enough that we no longer identify with our ancestral countries are somehow less valued, suddenly, than those who stealthily entered across the Arizona desert or the Rio Grande last week or last night. They are the heroic new Americans who represent the true meaning of America. The glowing stereotype of the brave, noble, plucky immigrant builds on the old Ellis Island cliches of the huddled masses with tears in their eyes, enriching America by their presence.
Peggy Noonan, in her gushing column in the Wall Street Journal, positively swoons over the sainted immigrants she loves. Fine, Peggy; I am happy you are infatuated with the illegals marching in your city, but your rose-colored glasses are obscuring your view.
Peggy is happy that the illegals purportedly share her religion; they are Catholic, so we are told, and so is she. Because of her Irish immigrant origins, she somehow feels like one of the immigrants. Peggy refers to the Irish as 'her people'. Peggy, are not Americans your people?
I don't know how recent Peggy's immigrant origins are; did her people immigrate here two generations back? Three? How long does it take before one identifies as an American only, and not as an immigrant? I am sorry to say that many, many of the people who have a soft approach to the border problem are sympathetic because they identify with their immigrant roots more than with their country of birth. They are actually walking arguments in favor of restricting immigration, because recent immigrant origins seem to predispose one to a romanticized, sentimental rapport with the illegals.
I realize there are exceptions; there are immigrants and children of immigrants whose allegiances are 100% American;
Michelle Malkin and Yeh Ling-ling are two examples that immediately come to mind. But there are, apparently, many more whose recent immigrant origins color their views on the border problem.
Peggy Noonan, with her pink-and-fluffy view of immigrants, represents a sentimentalized worldview which detracts from our ability to defend ourselves as a nation. Our country and our culture have become excessively sentimentalized and feminized; this country needs to reassert its more masculine, confident, hard-headed side; we are in jeopardy, and softheartedness will only weaken us further.

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