By James P. Pinkerton
Mondays immigration protests will be remembered as a turning point. The pro-amnesty, zero-enforcement coalition gambled that it could take to the streets and intimidate the majority of Americans into backtracking on their plans to toughen immigration law. It was a bold gamble for the open-borders bunch -- and they lost.
It will be tens of millions from coast to coast, from Los Angeles to New York. So predicted Javier Rodriguez, a spokesman for the protests, to CNN.
Well, the paralyzing marches and stoppages didnt happen, because the Hispanic community is split on the protest issue, just as it is split on the immigration question. Like most Americans, many Hispanics understand that while some population influx is healthy, a flood is unhealthy. Its the difference between drinking and drowning. And, of course, protests featuring Mexican flags guarantee a backlash from those who prefer the American flag raised high.
Without a doubt, immigration has been beneficial to the United States in recent decades. Perhaps the greatest benefit was that these new Americans, clamoring to get here, proved the resilience of the American Dream. Forty years ago, liberal and leftist critics blasted this country as horribly racist; in 1968 the Kerner Commission, a group of limousine liberals assembled by President Lyndon Great Society Johnson to guilt-trip white America, declared that the United States was moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal. The truth was just the opposite: America was integrating and opening up, even if African-Americans still lagged behind. But the strongest proof that the U.S. was a color-blind land of opportunity came from immigrants, almost all of whom were nonwhite.
In many big cities, Korean-Americans proved that it was possible to operate delis and convenience stores in the toughest urban environments, and to thrive. And the most casual walk through any high-tech company, of course, shows that many -- oftentimes most -- of the employees are nonwhite. And many of these immigrants are far more than wage slaves; Vinod Khosla, born in India, helped found Sun Microsystems in the 80s. Today, he is one of Silicon Valleys leading venture capitalists.
And Hispanics and West Indians, too, have proved that its possible to carve out a solid place in Americas middle class through sheer hard work. The manifest reality -- that nonwhites could prosper if they possessed the right traits of aptitude and character -- demolished the moral superiority and political dominance of the left. And that alone is worth giving thanks for.
But now, in 2006, enough is enough. The warning bells for most Americans started ringing when it became clear that our language, culture and politics were threatened by an unmanageable influx.
Theres nothing wrong with a Spanish-language national anthem -- if you live in a Spanish-language country. But if you live in an English-language country, the obvious seeds of ethnic and cultural conflict have been planted. Diversity might be nice in theory, but, in practice, differences are the gateway to conflict.
Moreover, as larger numbers of people come here from Latin America, the likelihood that Latin-style politics will be imported rises, too. The left-wing demagogue Hugo Chavez is popular in Venezuela, and others like him are winning elections across the Southern Hemisphere. Closer to our border, Mexico is legalizing the possession of substantial quantities of drugs -- not just marijuana, but cocaine, heroin and Ecstasy. Do most Americans want to import those sorts of values into their country?
The answer, we now can see, is no, even hell no. The forces of immigration control -- the folks who want to build a wall -- are winning the political debate. The challenge now is to convert political victory into policy action. That means repealing bilingualism, multiculturalism and ethnic preferences, so that every American, regardless of color, can get an equal shot at the American Dream, if he or she plays by a fair set of rules.
Special to Newsday