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August 23, 2006

Sorry, Pat Jr., America Isn’t Full


The release of Pat Buchanan’s State of Emergency: Third World Conquest and Invasion of America, at first glance, appears to provide great ammunition to the pro-illegal immigration crowd. His scare tactics include the comparison of the eventual fall of American and Western civilization with that of Rome at the hands of its invaders, adding that the Mexicans are seeking to recapture the Southwest they once lost to the United States. Though there are some truths to what he writes, Buchanan’s arguments are not exactly expressed in the most delicate of manners – which, incidentally, reminds me of my very first direct interaction with one of his followers.


When I walked into the cafeteria to get lunch, I thought it was just going to be just another weekday. Then I saw one of the leaders of my campus conservative movement in the corner, and he motioned for me to come sit with him. I was moderately intimidated – this was in my younger years as a college freshman, when I was just beginning to be driven into conservative activism by those enduring fragments of authentic hippie culture concentrated in Ithaca, New York.


I did not know Pat Jr., as I shall name him for now, very well at that point. But he turned out to be a very nice man, and he continues to be my friend to this day. He asked me for my story, so I told him about how I was born and lived in Lebanon, and how my family decided to emigrate and come to America. Pat Jr. listened attentively as I described the details of the convoluted immigration and citizenship process that I had to go through, the incompetence of everyone at the (then) Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as the cultural and language difficulties my family underwent as we finally settled into the United States.


Then, more than a few minutes into the conversation, while I was still talking about my background, I looked down and noticed Pat Jr.’s t-shirt. To my astonishment, I saw a big American flag, surrounded by the words “America is Full.” I hesitated, and paused. The irony was too good, the timing appropriate for a cheesy movie. He noticed, and it got awkward. It was at that very moment that I was introduced to the Buchananite branch of the American Right.


I wondered: Here I was a young, intelligent immigrant. I played by the rules and waited in line to get into the country, where I became a productive member of society and picked up the English language in little time. Hell, Pat Jr. agreed much more with me ideologically as well as religiously than he did with the majority of U.S. citizens on campus. So why was America full and why was it too full for me? After all, even as a mere “permanent resident,” I was advocating for and working toward a future very much to his liking, unlike our feminist classmates (U.S. citizens) celebrating abortion and our fellow students (also U.S. citizens) who missed class to chain themselves to trees about to be cut down.


Pat Jr., and countless others like him, are reasonable people who are being pushed from logic to paranoia by the failure of our laws and their enforcement. Though few of them truly believe in the effective termination of immigration in America, their despair has forced them to adopt a black or white stance, however unjustified. Most are neither xenophobic nor racist, but they are hopeless enough to settle for “America is Full” shirts and to adopt as their bible Buchanan’s work, which describes the manner in which swarthy young men such as myself are slowly but surely obliterating Western civilization.


In a way, you can’t really blame Pat Jr. and his fellow Buchananites. Many immigrants, particularly Hispanics, are very different from me. For starters, over 10 million of them are illegal. Of those who aren’t, many refuse to assimilate and learn the English language.


To make things worse, Hispanics flooded the streets in the hundreds of thousands a few months ago to – get this – complain about Americans’ complaints about illegal immigration and lack of assimilation. How do you think Pat Jr. feels when he sees thousands upon thousands of Hispanics on TV essentially saying “you have no right to prevent illegal immigration, and no, we won’t learn English, so shut up”? He is probably going to think that these legal immigrants are just as much of a threat as their illegal counterparts.


That said, those who oppose illegal immigration and who rally around English as the national language, a coalition that includes Pat Jr., myself, and the majority of Americans, should be able to capitalize on the ludicrous stance of many Hispanics and members of the American Left. What’s more preposterous than speaking in favor of illegal immigration, or more outrageous than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid labeling as “racist” a proposal to make English America’s official language?


Conservatives’ stance on illegal immigration and the English language is simply too reasonable, and the opposition too irrational, for us to lose the debate. The key, of course, is to communicate it effectively. Doing so requires the Buchananites to stop demanding a moratorium on legal immigration, and the rest of the conservatives to heavily emphasize the difference between legal immigration, which is favorable, and illegal immigration, which is not. It is our duty to make it clear that America is not full, but that America is full for illegals.


© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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