Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Reconquista Pt. II: Dupes, Ingrates, and the Politically Naive

A few quick thoughts here:

1. I agree with Michelle Malkin about the affect of the protests. Unwittingly these walk outs will only help push the reforms that they are protesting (to the extent that they even know what they are protesting). This same thing happened in the mid '90s with prop 187 in California (that sought to deny social services to illegals). As memory serves, the measure was pretty close in the polls; that is until there were similar walk outs with thousands of students waiving flags and stopping traffic. The front page of the LA times had a 16 yr old hoodlum on the front page with a huge Mexican flag running down the middle of the street. I and many others knew that day, that 187 would pass. It would pass because those images symbolize everything that actual voters in this state actually fear. These walk outs are counter productive to their own interests and do not trigger sympathy but rather fear and outrage from those who actually have political power in this country. These protests will more likely lead to the opposite of what these students want (assuming most of them really want anything but an excuse to skip class thinly veiled as a principled stand).

2. Second, I fully agree with Dennis Prager's comment that the flaunting of the Mexican flag is simply ingratitude and there is nothing worse than an ingrate. The parents of these students fled the corruption, poverty, disease, and chaos of Mexico for the opportunities, stability, wealth, and order of the United States. Yet they celebrate the country whose ruling elite would rather engage in graft than provide a stable and prosperous society for their own citizens? Ingratitude is a very ugly thing and most Americans will not stand for it.

3. I have seen some talking heads on TV say silly things like this is the maturation of the Mexican political movement in the US. There is nothing mature or sophisticated about mobilizing teenagers to skip class. They are not voters, they will not impact voters (except to vote against them) and they will not be taken seriously. To impact this system one needs to build sustained grass roots organizations that can put pressure on government at all levels for years, even decades. These walk outs are not evidence of this. That being said, some day these students will be voters, and the hispanic vote is growing and that is something that in time cannot be ignored. But these students are not hispanic voters nor do they represent them.

4. On the Hispanic vote. The good news is that these protestors are still a minority of the hispanic community. Hispanic voters are often conservative on social issues but trend liberal on economic issues. Even on immigration, while most of them would be for more liberal policies, more than one would think favor tightening border security. For instance one recent survey found that 56% of hispanics favor maintaining or reducing immigration levels, but not increasing. Also 53% of latino voters favor laws denying drivers licenses to illegals. Also 55% believe they have to speak English and 79% believe they have to believe in the US Constitution to be considered American. High numbers also believed that moral values and the war on terror were important policy issues. My point is that these punk students do not represent most of the more responsible hispanics (legal or illegal) in this country. I also believe in the historical ability of American culture to assimilate those who come to our country (that is provided that we can actually control the amount of people that come at any one time).

5. In my view there is only one responsible party on the issue of the war on terror and only one party that recognizes the serious threat that radical Islam truly is. If that party is to maintain power, they must find a way to address security issues at the border. Meaning they must close it and control it. And they must do so without alienating hispanic voters with nativistic rhetoric or unreasonable policies, because a significant proportion of those hispanic voters could be allies (and increasingly so) in sustaining a political coalition. Republicans must maintain a winning political coalition well into the future; a coalition that will in turn allow Republicans to continue to fight the war on terror, rather than denying it exists as their opponents do. Hispanics must increasingly be considered part of this coalition an can be if the issue is handled correctly.

I believe Republicans must focus first and foremost on closing and controlling the borders and do so primarily for security purposes. That is the single most threating problem in terms of security and immigration. If this is not done then there is no reason to discuss any other programs guest worker or otherwise. However, I would not rule out such programs if the border were truly controlled.