I think it’s time we clear the air.
We have a spat between the Pontifex Maximus and Trumpus Maximus about walls. We have Cruz and Rubio making accusation and counter-accusation about immigration policy. We have some guy with the curious name “Jeb!” (last name withheld) shouting into the wind about a policy on a website that nobody really seems to care about.
We have armchair sociopaths (sorry… that should read “psychologists”) describing their own private insights into the sooper-secret racist and Islamophobic feelings undergirding all of these policy debates — and we even real-live racists (feeling left out) crawling out of the woodwork and joining the bandwagon with their ridiculous “cuckservative” hashtag, as though anyone at all gives a damn what they think.
The situation is so completely ridiculous that the satire site the Onion, actually makes a better assessment of the real situation than many pundits. Maybe you saw it. Here’s an excerpt:
36-year-old liberal Diana Hardwick confided to reporters Tuesday that her conservative acquaintance Brady Daniels is, quite frustratingly, not racist. “We got to talking about immigration, and I really wanted him to undermine his argument for stricter border controls by saying something disparaging of Latinos, but apparently his opinions are based entirely on national security issues instead of race—which is super irritating,” Hardwick said of Daniels, who reportedly describes himself as a “strong conservative” on fiscal issues but, annoyingly, exhibits no racial biases. “It would be so much easier if I could just write him off as a bigot, but as far as I can tell he harbors no resentment or disdain toward people of color.
The humor has some truth to it. People look for ways to say that it’s because of latent hatred or fear of brown people. Or that it’s an expression religious xenophobia. For a very few, it may be, but for most of us, it’s not.
Anyone who has looked at history outside of North American borders can point to historical instances where large empires or nation-states living in relative peace within its borders remain stable until its constituent groups began to fragment and turn on each other.
Causes and results will vary, but when fragmented groups abandon any commitment to the nation, trading it for factional objectives, conflict is inevitable. This is what we mean by Balkanization. If you aren’t familiar with the outcome of Balkanization, look up “Yugoslavia”.
Balkanization — tragically — has actually become the political strategy popular with certain politicians and media. Their “divide and conquer” mentality could be summarized “Out of One, Many”. It’s as short-sighted as chucking a brick through a stained glass window just so you can gather the most pieces.
This gets to the root of the immigration issue for conservatives. It isn’t a question of race or creed. All that can be worked out. It is a question of divided loyalty. If you are coming to America because you love what it stands for: the rights and protections it gives those who live there, the various qualities that hold it together to make what Ronald Reagan liked to call a Shining City on a Hill; if you want to leave the problems, slights and social ills of the land of your birth behind you, with a chance to start over, embracing a proven social model offering the best chance of personal and economic fulfillment for those willing to take a risk? Do you want to become a part of the greater whole, for the benefit of all? If so, we welcome you.
The problem is not that people are coming in. It is how they are coming in. Legal immigrants who play by the rules and spend thousands on legal fees often languish for a decade or more with their status unresolved, while fence-jumpers have agencies providing them free legal counsel. These legal immigrants are the ones who actually want to embrace the American culture, take the oath of allegiance, and make America the stronger for it.
The other kind is like the “buddy” who wants to hang around because he thinks you have cool stuff. Or the jerk who feigns friendship with a girl knowing she’s emotionally vulnerable and will always agree to that late-night hook-up call (if he can’t find someone better). Or the girl who dates someone because she has grand plans to change him into the kind of person she thinks she deserves him to be.
Notice these relationships are selfish and generally parasitic. They also generally describe the person who comes here with no real intention of embracing America, but intends either to drain it dry of whichever freebies he can secure for himself, or demand that the American culture adapt to him, instead of the other way around.
Such people are the threat to national unity, and the road to both Balkanization, and an eventual loss of national identity. This has toppled great nations of history again and again.
The remedy for this is the same as it always was. Unity around a common cause. One language. One flag. One oath of allegiance. One national story. You know, E Pluribus Unum — out of many one.
In short, we do not care if you are “a brown person” or have another religion. But only if you have divided loyalty. Illegal immigration, and the border fence for instance is a problem of people who want the benefits of American living (economic, mainly) without a willingness to leave behind the factions and loyalties the had in the old country.
Sharia law, for another example, is a legal expectation of Islam. It is in direct conflict with the American way of life in a way that other religions are not. It is a Supremacist ideology in the same way that Axis Powers of the Second War were supremacist.
The so-called Islamophobia conservatives are accused of — if examined — can be traced back to this problem.
Let us conclude with a quote I have seen attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, that sums things up nicely:
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.