Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mexican flags are not evidence of willingness to assimilate, no matter how you spin it


It isn't Amanda's fault, she's just reporting.

Protesters Defend Carrying Mexican Flags
Apr 06 10:17 AM US/Eastern
By AMANDA LEE MYERS
Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX
Hundreds of protesters gripped Mexican flags as they marched for immigration reform in the past few weeks, but they say a display of cultural unity is being mistaken as a lack of loyalty to the United States.
“Cultural unity” is identified with Mexican Nationalism? Maybe that is the problem. I guess those - protestors against the country they risked their lives to get to – are disavowing Aztlan? Not.
The displays turned off many Americans. Conservative talk show hosts admonished the protesters, while everyday people wrote angry letters to the editors of their local newspapers.
La Raza, MEChA and reconquista thugs everywhere were surprised. They didn't think anyone was paying attention to their intentions or even to Mexico's immigration law:
The granting of nationality status to foreigners is exercised in a very selective manner. The requirements include five years residency with immigrant status, which could be reduced to two years under certain circumstances. The granting of nationality is exercised in a discretional manner and often depends on economic, business and social considerations and the foreign effect thereon.
The Mexican laws in toto are far more draconian than this, including bans on ownership of real property. Mexico's economy bleeds Mexican people because it is so corrupt. But more from the AP story - about American ingrates:
Some called for those carrying the Mexican flag to return to Mexico. Others questioned why immigrants demanding rights in the United States would wave symbols of Mexico.
Good question, I’d say.
But those who carried them, and scholars of the immigrant community, say that pride in their culture should not be misconstrued as a lack of patriotism in their adopted nation.
If their patriotism is real why weren’t they carrying American flags in thanks? They did not think of it that way, that's why.
"Nobody gets upset with the Irish on St. Patrick's Day," said Gabriela Lemus, director of policy and legislation at the Washington, D.C.- based League of United Latin American Citizens, the group that organized most of the recent protests and is heading the dozens of marches and rallies scheduled across the nation Monday.
With all due respect Ms Lemus, the Irish aren’t saying most of the Southwestern United States belongs to them. The Irish are not protesting. The Irish assimilated, 99% of them did so as legal immigrants. We don’t share a thousand mile long border with Ireland. Give me an analogy break. Besides - Guinness or Cerveza? ...Right.
Critics of waving the red, white and green have questioned marchers' loyalty to the United States, but Latino activists deny the implications.
“Latino activists”, that would be the cultural activists, wouldn’t it? They’re La Raza and Aztlan and
MEChA aren’t they? Then they’re lying.
"The Mexican flag is like a symbol of dignity and identity and pride for the people who carry it," said Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez. "If people try to read more into that flag than what it is, they're wrong."
It’s what the people carrying the flags read into it that worries me. For example, high school students walking out in Texas because the Mexican flag is removed from their high school flagpole. If you want to attend a high school with a Mexican flag flying, then you are in the wrong country if you are attending high school in Texas. QED.
Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and other U.S. cities since late March to protest a proposed federal crackdown on illegal immigration, and often the crowds have waved flags of Mexico, Guatemala and other countries.

"Pride and roots is what it is," said Huerta, who carried the Mexican flag during the farm workers' movement in the 1960s and, more recently, during rallies in Los Angeles and Tucson. "It definitely does not mean separation or nationalism in the sense that we want to go back to Mexico."
Pride in your adopted country would be more appropriate, since you’re asking for forgiveness of illegal activities, but I would agree it doesn’t mean they want to back to Mexico. A) Nobody’s stopping them. B) They want to make California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas part of greater Mexico - Aztlan. They want Mexico to come here.
Isidro D. Ortiz, a political scientist and professor of Chicano and Chicana studies at San Diego State University, said the flag is primarily a symbol of Mexican pride. But, in the current climate of the United States, Latinos also wave it to express dissatisfaction with how they are treated, Ortiz said.

"(Immigrants) have been trying for some time to imagine themselves as a part of the United States," he added. "What they've experienced is refusal."
The word that’s missing in front of (Immigrants) is illegal. And yes, the laws here, while far more generous than their Mexican equivalents, say “refusal” is the deal.
Intentional or not, protest organizers acknowledge that the controversy over the Mexican flag is detracting from the message demonstrators want to send.
"Intentional or not", now there's an interesting dichotomy. If it is intentional then it's subversive, so "or not" is exactly what needs to be resolved, not shrugged off.

In this clearly organized and highly coordinated confluence of protests, it strains anyone’s intelligence to believe that the puppet masters did not give Mexican flag waving even the 10 seconds of thought required to predict the reaction. They meant what it seems they meant. That, or they’re too stupid to have organized the protests - "We're Illegals and We Vote!"?
"(The flag) is a distraction," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. "What the marchers were marching for was to say, 'Hey, we are here, we work, we're tired of being made to blame for every ill that people experience.'"
Governor, that’s bullshit. I, for one, have never blamed an illegal immigrant for all my ills. For example, I’ve never even blamed anyone who wants to celebrate breaking immigration law by waving a Mexican flag in my country for 9/11. Illegal immigrants from Saudi Arabia, on the other hand…
Lemus said her organization is encouraging protesters to carry both the U.S. and Mexican flags to show their pride in both countries.
Sorry, Americans carry one flag. It is flaunting their pride in a second country when they claim to desire to become Americans by being forgiven for breaking American law that is the problem.
"The American flag is a symbol of what they are trying to become _ a U.S. citizen," she said.
Then the American flag is the flag they should carry, both to demonstrate their seriousness and so as not to upset the tolerance of their hosts.
Jennifer Allen, executive director of the immigrant rights group Border Action Network, said she is not discouraging anyone from bringing the Mexican flag to Monday's march in Tucson. Rather, the protesters themselves are spreading the word.
They are less stupid than Ms Allen, then.
"A lot of immigrant families in southern Arizona are telling one another to carry the American flag in their hands, but hold the Mexican flag in their hearts," she said.
A thing a wise person would leave unsaid. This is exactly the problem, as Peggy Noonan has so effectively pointed out:
…it's not fear about "them." It's anxiety about us.

It's the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all.

We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways--in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That's how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans.

We are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically now. We are assimilating them culturally. Within a generation their children speak Valley Girl on cell phones. "So I'm like 'no," and he's all 'yeah,' and I'm like, 'In your dreams.' " Whether their parents are from Trinidad, Bosnia, Lebanon or Chile, their children, once Americans, know the same music, the same references, watch the same shows. And to a degree and in a way it will hold them together. But not forever and not in a crunch.

So far we are assimilating our immigrants economically, too. They come here and work. Good.

But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.
Except we aren't quite even assimilating them culturally, it seems.

But, back to the AP report we've been fisking:
Democrats and Republicans have each put forward immigration plans that would increase border security, regulate the flow of future immigrants and offer legal status to many of the men, women and children who came to the United States unlawfully or overstayed their visas.
The wimpiness of these proposals even overshadows “earmark protection.”
In general, the measure backed by Democrats would grant most of the 11 million immigrants legal status and let them apply for citizenship after they meet conditions that would include paying a fine and any back taxes, passing a background check and learning English.
I say let them wait in line for citizenship for at least the median time legal immigrants have waited - after the illegals have paid their taxes and fines, passed their background checks and can speak English at least as well as the average Dell help desk person.

One thing we can be sure of, if the Mexican flag apologists are correct: We won’t see any more Mexican flags. The disappearance of Mexican flags won’t prove anything beyond an ability for those apologists to recognize a problem, but seeing any more Mexican flags will prove something else entirely.

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