Friday, February 09, 2007

The farce of multiculturalism

Noneedfortheneed over at The Century of the Common Iowan sees fit to work over Reps. Tom Tancredo and Steve King for their comments about illegal immigration. Noneed, while being worthy of having his blog link on my page, is unfortunately just plain wrong in his critique of the Representatives' words.

I didn't see any "hate-filled remarks" in the words of Tancredo and King, as Noneed observed. In fact, I believe they are right on the money.

"Illegal immigration has diluted the country's patriotism."

If you have no qualms with skipping across the border, receiving free government benefits without paying into them, and never bothering to learn the dominant language, much less obtain citizenship in a legal manner, then I'd say yes, illegal immigration is working against patriotism. Illegal aliens are working against the American system by attempting to take advantage of its generosity to its citizens.

"We have a cult of multiculturalism."

Again, this is a true statement. We have been indoctrinated for more than 40 years that the US should not have a common identity, but that it should be a salad bar of various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and cultures.

While I have no problem with people of various cultures coming to the United States, they should be willing to check some of their "culture" at the door when they arrive and be prepared to accept some shared American culture. My family is of German descent, and while my last name is very German, I don't speak it, nor do I have a longing for the Fatherland. I'm an American, with no prefix and hyphen; just a simple American.

Multiculturalism's idea is for people of various cultures to mix and mingle and get along like one big happy United Nations. The problem is, unless you are on neutral ground, someone is going to declare the place their home turf and ask the rest of to get with the program or leave. That's human nature, folks.

I'm not saying that everyone in America should be the same; heaven forbid we all start talking like Minnesotians (ya betcha!). However, when someone arrives in the United States, they should be willing to accept some American culture into their lives, and therefore work toward being American, not _____-American.

Now, if we want to discuss the reason why there is a high level of illegal immigration into this country, especially from those countries with whom we have signed free trade agreements with, I'd be more than glad to do that. I think there is a strong correlation between NAFTA's passage and the influx of aliens. As a farmer, I glad to have new markets for our crops. However, I'm concerned that it is making it difficult for subsistent farmers to make a living in their home countries and having to compete with relatively lower priced imports. More would likely stay in their home country if they could derive suitable income there.

But, we should not mix the consequences of free trade agreements with supposed "hate" by those who want to protect our nation. That's too easy of a cop out. Tancredo and King are doing what they can to defend our national identity. Maybe we need to renegotiate NAFTA, or hold the Mexican government more accountable for their citizens crossing the border. But there is nothing wrong with the words of these two statesmen in relation to illegal immigrants, IMHO.


Blogger Mango said...

!Hola! Amigo. Have you ever been to Mexico? You might not be so quick to describe the illegals as "skipping across the border" or taking advantage of the American system if you looked a starving kid in the eyes as he begs from you, or watched them live, literally, by picking over the city garbage dump. Perhaps the American system has taken advantage of them as disposable cheap labor.

11:01 AM, February 13, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Then what is the country of Mexico doing to help their own citizens? Writing pamphlets on how to get into the US illegally and send money back to Jose and Maria, I suppose. Why don't they work to alleviate the burdens of the poor instead of passing it off to another sovereign nation.

I've been told there is a great more social stratification in Mexico than here. There is a segment of the population that holds the power and doesn't want to help those in need, but rather let them trickle across the border (someone else can deal with them type of attitude).

Regardless of the "American system", Mexico is still an independent country, capable of taken care of its own - at least I'd like to believe.

5:29 PM, February 13, 2007  
Blogger Mango said...

Well, the roots of Mexico's problems are beyond me, although I suspect they come from a thin veneer ruling class of Spanish and Europeans managing a much larger native population of Indians. That allowed a kind of gangster capitalism applied for the benefit of the ruling European classes.

By contrast, in America we killed off our Indians and overwhelmed them with European immigration, so we didn't have that problem. We just can't figure out what to do with the darkies we used to buy and sell. Why won't they get with the program?

That money sent back to Jose and Maria is one of the biggest capital inflows in the Mexican economy. It isn't going to stop, and no country cuts its own throat, especially when the source is the rich Gringoland which once ripped them off for half their territory.

No country is independent. We're all trading with one another, and the USA is now completely dependent on the good graces of Communist Chinese bankers, just as American farmers are dependent on loans from Wells Fargo to get their crops in.

These foreign workers showing up in Iowa, of all places, are like the water from some economic global warming. We all better figure out how to fix the climate, and work on it together or there's going to be a lot more of it.

I think you're on the right track to question NAFTA, but how it all relates, I don't know. However, I do like the insights of economist Dean Baker about these things. Here's a taste:

"Native-born workers will wash dishes, clean toilets, and pick tomatoes for $20 an hour. When the nanny state conservatives say that they can't find native-born workers for these jobs, they mean that they can't find native-born workers at the wages that they want to pay, just as most of us can't find native-born doctors or lawyers who are willing to work for $15 an hour. The difference is that the nanny state conservatives get to bring in immigrants at low wages to meet their needs, whereas the doctors and lawyers can count on the nanny state to protect them from competition with immigrant workers."

11:42 PM, February 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mango...Have YOU been to Mexico lately? I have been to, and traveled within, a couple of U.S./Mexico borders recently, most notably the one at Tijuana, and (with exceptions) the "starving kids" to whom you refer are far fewer, and I dare say healthier in appearance, than some ten years ago. Borders come in many shapes and sizes and I would suggest that the same "starving kid" to whom you refer is looking back at you with (at least) equally hungry eyes from the "garbage dumps" within our own urban areas than from the borders of Mexico. Like you, Mango, I empathize greatly with the plight of Mexicans--we DO need them--but I also believe that we must consider and maintain stiffer qualifications for these (also) Immigrant-Americans, if for no other reason than out of respect to those previous Immigrant-Americans who, indeed, set the table so to speak, for this to be the place to be maintained for the next generation of Immigrant-Americans. Her Highness Oprah, notwithstanding, (doing the Lord's Work in Africa because she fears her money spent here in urban areas would foolishly be spent on sneakers is another example of greater empathy for those outside our borders), as well as in all due respect to your intelligence and greater empathy for Mexico, Mango, I must side with Mr. Bgunzy here. The Americans, er, the previous Immigrant-Americans, haven't taken advantage of anybody; shit, both good and bad, runs down hill.

12:13 AM, February 14, 2007  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

There is one huge difference between your German ancestors and the Hispanics immigrants today and that is your ancestors have been in the nation longer. The Hispanics here are first or second generation immigrants. Go back in your family to the first generation that came to this country and I bet they were still speaking German, eating German food, and living in the German culture. Assimilation takes time.

Renegotiating NAFTA would be a huge step in fixing the problem.

12:41 AM, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Mango said...

I haven't been in Mexico since the early 1990s. Tijuana is a very skewed sample of Mexico, due to its twin city proximity to a major U.S. population center. Your comparison of poor kids in Mexico to poor kids in the US is WAY off base, although you seem to be right about a general improvement in their economy over the last ten years:

"After the 1994-1995 economic crisis, probably the most severe in the country's history, 50% of the population fell into poverty. A rapid growth in exports propitiated by NAFTA and other trade agreements, and the restructuring of the macroeconomic finances initiated during Zedillo's and continued during Fox's administration had impressive results in the reduction of the poverty rate. According to the World Bank, extreme poverty was reduced to 17.6% in 2004. Most of this reduction was done in rural communities whose rate of poverty declined from 42% to 27.9% in the 2000-2004 period, although urban poverty stagnated at 11%. ... However the main contributor to this reduction were the remittances of Mexican workers in the United States.[citation needed] In fact, remittances have become the second largest source of capital in the country."

But that improvement is compared to what--a 50% poverty level!!

When I was deep in Mexico, in Oaxaca I photographed peasants marching in social protests. Now they are rioting down there.

Hardworking people like every Mexican laborer I have met don't risk death in an illegal border crossing, then stand for days on American street corners hoping someone will hire them just because they want a chance to game the American social system. Their dedication to a work ethic and family values is admirable, and it's pulling their country out of depression.

8:30 PM, February 14, 2007  

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