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Flag of Their Fathers By: John Fonte
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 30, 2006


Relax, don’t worry, assimilation is working. The illegal immigrants just want to be patriotic citizens like everyone else.  Given our compassion and a certain amount of time, they will join us in the New America.  This is what our friends in the Open Border Right—Jack Kemp, Grover Norquist, the Chamber of Commerce, David Brooks, Fred Barnes, the Bush administration—have been telling us for years and are insisting is the right way now that the issue of immigration reaches critical mass.

But unfortunately for them, one picture betrays a thousand lies.  The picture on Michelle Malkin’s blog yesterday tells it all. American high school students, the children of immigrants and, therefore, those who are supposed to represent our Brave New Future, turned an American flag upside down, put a Mexican flag triumphantly on top of it, and then ran that up the flagpole. Now it is time to have a national “conversation” (isn’t that the preferred term) about this photograph.  The picture and what it represents are not simply about “ethnic pride,” “dual loyalty,” or even allegiance to a foreign state—all of these things reprehensible enough—but rather an image that reveals a visceral distaste for American liberal democracy and a desire to cash out rather than buy into the American Dream.

 

The Open Borders Right will, of course, assure us that we should not infer too much from a single eccentric photo-op—that it was, after all, just a handful of hyped-up kids at a single Southern California high school. But in fact what was run up the flagpole at Montebello High was not an isolated incident, but a symbol of all the demonstrations that began last weekend.  From hostile slogans to thousands of Mexican flags in the streets of our big cities, an open anti-patriotism has been launched. The demonstrators carry signs that tell us who they are: “This is stolen land” and “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” This movement—if that is the proper term to describe the incitement of the last few days—couldn’t be any further from the civil rights movement that began some fifty years ago. That was about inclusion; this is about separatism.  That movement affirmed America as a dream worth waiting for; this one sees America as a land grab.

 

Today, in its coverage of the reconquista, the Dallas Morning News pictured a young student named Michelle Marquez being screamed at by about 20 of her fellow students. Her offense was not being opposed to the protest under way, but joining it with an American flag in her hands. Her sentiments didn’t lack ambiguity: “My heart is with the Mexican flag and with Mexico, but I’m standing on American ground and I’m Mexican-American.” But she got her flags confused. 

 

Also today, as Michelle Malkin reported, “Tammy Bruce noted on FOX News this morning that American flags were burned at the LA rally and marchers also held signs of the North American continent with America x’ed out.” While some demonstrators chanted amnestia, others threw rocks and bottles at the police.

 

We have arrived at a tipping point in American history. Make no mistake about it, these demonstrations are a challenge to what Aristotle and Straussian political theorists call a “regime” or “way of life.” We are witnessing the assertion of raw power (from and on behalf of non-citizens) that challenges our own citizenship and our very constitutional order. Illegal aliens who are here without the “consent of the governed” (aided and abetted by amoral corporate and ideological elites) are demanding that the views of the overwhelming majority of the American people (for border control and immigration restrictions) be ignored. This is an attempted social coup; war by other means.

 

But its possible virtue may be to concentrate the national mind. We have come to the moment when illegal immigration has become a raging cataract. We have finally reached the now or never. It is time for the Senate of the United States to stop its political parlor tricks and stand up to this mob. If members of the Congress do not openly criticize these anti-American demonstrations in behalf of those who committed a crime to get here, it means that the democratic representatives of the people have acquiesced not just to the presence but also to the influence of non-citizens. Silence means submission to their anti-American slogans and actions and foreign flags.

 

What to do? We keep hearing about “comprehensive” immigration reform. Fine, let’s have it.  Let’s insist first on legislation with serious enforcements provisions of our immigration laws.  Then secondly, let’s have a series of “patriotic assimilation” amendments. And the first of these should say that the Oath of Allegiance means what it says and that a new citizen must “absolutely and entirely renounce all allegiance” to his birth nation. Let’s make it against the law for naturalized citizens to vote or run for office in foreign country. And, then, yes, let’s cut off all federal funds for bilingual education, multicultural education, bilingual ballots. Let’s insist on vigorous “Americanization” programs, not the bird-walking and back-filling of “civic instruction.” If immigration reform is truly “comprehensive,” it will not reward the intimidation we’ve witnessed over the past few days and its chief objective will be the making of Americans, not placating the foreigners among us.

 

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John Fonte is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.


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