Backlash?

Victor Davis Hanson:

Hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens, along with Mexican-Americans and Hispanics in general, hit the streets throughout the United States this past week in one of the largest displays of public outrage since the Vietnam-War era.

The conventional wisdom was that the supposedly spontaneous outbursts of immigrant pride and anger took lawmakers by surprise. In response, politicians may backtrack on some of the tougher proposals concerning border enforcement, from constructing a wall to deportations. The media tended to emphasize the heartfelt anguish of the demonstrators, who often on selected televised clips carried American flags and were shown reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

But here in Central California that is not the public face of the demonstrations that we saw--which were mostly angry and, in the case of truant high-school students, so often unfortunately characterized by Mexican chauvinism, if not overt racism of the La Raza ("the race") type. And while these public outbursts were for the present just noisy, the private counter-reactions to them, I fear, are going to grow larger and angrier still.

If many thousands of illegal aliens marched in their zeal, many more millions of Americans of all different races and backgrounds watched--and seethed. They were struck by the Orwellian incongruities--Mexican flags, chants of "Mexico, Mexico," and the spectacle of illegal alien residents lecturing citizen hosts on what was permissible in their own country.

If the demonstrators thought that they were bringing attention to their legitimate grievances--the sheer impossibility of deporting 11 million residents across the border or the hypocrisy of Americans de facto profiting from "illegals" who cook their food, make their beds, and cut their lawns--they seemed oblivious to the embarrassing contradictions of their own symbolism and rhetoric. Most Americans I talked to in California summed up their reactions to the marches as something like, 'Why would anyone wave the flag of the country that they would never return to--and yet scream in anger at those with whom they wish to stay?' Depending on the particular questions asked, polls reveal that somewhere around 60-80% of the public is vehemently opposed to illegal immigration.

...

As for as the immigration debate itself, we all know the truth that we suppress and the lies that we voice. Language has been the first casualty of our disingenuousness. "Illegal alien" is a descriptive, not a racist, term. In contrast, "undocumented worker" is deliberately misleading, since in most cases documents were never at issue, and not all aliens are workers. "Racism" has nothing to do with a failed system that appalls Asian- and African-Americans alike, as well as bewilders frustrated and patient Koreans, Punjabis, Africans, and Filipinos who did not cut ahead in the long legal immigration line. "Nativist" means nothing when Americans presently welcome in more legal immigrants that any other nation on earth.

...

There is much more.

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