“It is our boast that we admit the immigrant to full fellowship and equality with the native-born. In return we demand that he shall share our undivided allegiance to the one flag which floats over all of us.”
One can only wonder how Teddy would respond to lawbreakers assembling in large cities across the nation waving Mexican flags demanding immigration reform. One need not wonder however, such a spectacle would have never occurred.
The administration that gave us the Square Deal and did more than any previous administration to bust trusts and corporate monopolies maintained an unconventional dichotomy, benefactor for the worker and champion of capitalism. Theodore Roosevelt was a firebrand, an agitator and a maverick. Reviled by robber barons, he was a champion for righteousness, and blind to favoritism.
Waving Mexican flags and demanding American citizenship would never pass for righteousness, then or now. How impotent have we become as a culture where an illegal immigrant in our country thinks such behavior would be tolerated?
American hypocrisy, immorality, and passivity, invites the insult.
Unlike some of our sanctimonious conservative pundits, I can’t blame Mexican citizens for fleeing their corrupt nation, seeking opportunity as did many of our own ancestors. The betterment of oneself is natural to man’s human nature, and you can’t really consider yourself a lawbreaker or a criminal when the nation whose laws you purport to break refuses to enforce said laws.
The debate rages whether or not illegal immigrants are doing the jobs Americans won’t do. Assertions that cheap labor is driving down wages in the United States ignores the fact that Asian competition has decimated many of our industries, and increases in minimum wage have eliminated many entry level jobs altogether.
Some jobs are simply not worth the amount demanded by minimum wage or the amount demanded by organized labor. The contention that it is specifically illegal immigration responsible for the suppression of wages disregards our world economy where electronic communication makes it easy and beneficial to do business out of the country free from many regulatory nuisances.
Additionally, the American culture that embraced rugged individualism has given way to a society which feels entitled to receive just for being. Many politicians, through demagoguery, have promulgated this destructive phenomenon.
The movie Fast Food Nation showcased the stark contrast between hard working Mexican immigrants, and the mediocre work ethic displayed by a white American teenager who fantasized about robbing fellow hamburger stands via shot gun all the while serving up magnificent cuisine with special sauce comprised of big gooey spitballs.
There are economic realities which guide all business; all the whining and all the political maneuvering can have little effect once business has used up all its wiggle room in eeking out reasonable profit faced with relentless competition.
The real irony in viewing recent May Day festivities where illegal immigrants chide American policy, and add insult to injury by flying Mexican flags in their rebuke of our law, is that they are going to kill the Golden Goose before it ever lays the golden egg.
The prosperity and opportunity which they desire, purely a capitalist American creation, is being admonished by assembling and protesting on a day that historically is celebrated by the proletariat in communist nations throughout the world, the antithesis of everything American.
Unscrupulous power hungry politicians welcome the disturbances for their own opportunistic aspirations.
Inevitably, this drags us further down the path where workers envy the businesses and entrepreneurs who created the atmosphere from which the opportunity they desire has sprung.
It is bad enough we have created a whole society of entitled brats who feel they are owed, the last thing we need to do is import new ones who have little desire or understanding of what it means to be an American.
Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo